One of the most popular nail art trends is the accent nail. Accent nails are a simple way to customize your manicure and add personality by adding a contrasting color to one nail on each hand. A shimmering ring finger is a gorgeous way for brides-to-be to subtly show off while a bright accent added to an all-black manicure makes for an unexpected pop of color. By choosing two different nail polish shades and following our easy four-step tutorial, you can create the perfect manicure in no time at all! Plus, stay till the end for five accent nail ideas anyone can do!
STEP #1: PREP YOUR NAILS
A manicure is only as good as its prep work. First, remove all traces of old polish from your nails with an acetone-based nail polish remover. You want to have a clean slate for your new mani! Then use a nail file to buff and smooth the tops of your nails as well as fine-tune your desired nail shape. (Not sure what shape is for you? Check how our guide on How to Choose the Right Nail Shape.)
Finish your prep work by swiping on a base coat. This will protect your nails and prevent them from staining if you choose to wear bold colors!
STEP #2: PAINT YOUR NAILS
Reach for your first nail polish shade. This will be the polish you use to paint the majority of your nails—minus whichever nail you choose for your accent, of course. Apply one coat, allow it to dry, then follow with a second.
STEP #3: CHOOSE YOUR ACCENT
It’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for—drum roll, please! Grab your second nail polish shade and pop it onto your accent nails to make a statement. Your accent nail can be your ring finger (a popular choice), your thumbnail, or any nail you want to call attention to.
STEP #4: SMOOTH ON A TOP COAT
Now that your nails are prepped and colored, it’s time to seal in your look. Apply a top coat to help increase the lifespan of your manicure and protect it from chipping. That’s it—now show off your nails!
5 ACCENT NAIL IDEAS TO TRY
So, you know how to do an accent nail, but what are some good accent nail ideas? Well, we’ve compiled a list of five color combos worth trying.
Accent Nail Idea #1: Black and white. Keep it classy and rock a black and white color scheme. You can choose to have either shade as your accent color, then use the remaining polish on the rest of your nails. The result? A mani that’s totally mod!
Accent Nail Idea #2: Nude and neutral. Love the look of simple, neutral nails? This one’s for you! First, paint most of your nails with a nude nail polish. Then, color your accent nail in your favorite neutral. We love the look of a terracotta accent nail for this look, and terracotta also happens to be a seriously trendy color in the beauty scene at the moment.
Accent Nail Idea #3: High contrast. For those who prefer nails that are anything but neutral, a bold, high contrast accent nail is probably more your speed. Choose two colors that coordinate yet still create some drama. Some pairings we’re fond of? Navy with a bright yellow accent, peach with an aqua accent, and mint with a cobalt accent.
Accent Nail Idea #4: Bring on the sparkle. We couldn’t leave out the traditional, sparkly accent nail, now could we? Pick your poison—or in this case, a nail color with a natural finish to use on the majority of your nails. Then paint your accent nail with a sparkly polish for a bit of glitz and glam. One of our favorite ways to rock this look? Nude nails with a glimmering gold accent.
Accent Nail Idea #5: Patterned pop. If you’re fond of intricate nail art, know that accent nails don’t have to be a solid color. You can put your skills to use and create a design on your accent nails. If you’re just getting into nail designs, this is perfect, as painting something more complicated on just a nail or two is much easier than doing all of your nails. Try polka dots or stripes on your ring finger!
Next up: It’s safe to say you can now consider yourself a pro when it comes to the accent nail, but what about some other popular nail looks and trends? Check out our articles, How to Do Sea Glass Nails and How to Do Hole Punch Nail Art at Home, for more nail inspo.