Pastel Tip Nails Are All Over Instagram – & They’re So Easy To Do At Home

From polka dot to gold leaf, we're spoilt for choice when it comes to Pinterest-worthy nail trends. Across Instagram, nail technicians and novices are getting creative, and one DIY style in particular is flooding everyone's feed: pastel tips.
The rainbow trend is a springtime twist on traditional French tips, which reigned supreme in the late '90s and early '00s. Instead of stark white polish, nail obsessives are opting for pastel shades in pink, blue, lilac and green, dressing each tip in a different shade but keeping the rest of the nail bare. The result? An understated, ultra wearable, multicoloured manicure – and it's not that difficult to do at home if you're unable to secure a salon appointment.
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NYC-based editorial nail artist Alicia Torello is a big fan of the pastel tip trend and took to Instagram at the weekend to show her followers exactly how it's done. First, she painted each nail with a clear base coat. Try something glossy and nourishing, such as Nails Inc. Nailkale Superfood Base Coat, £15, or Sally Hansen Double Duty Base and Topcoat, £5.99, to make nails gleam.
Next, take a long-wear pastel polish, such as Essie Nail Polish, £7.99. Shades Muchi Muchi, Salt Water Happy and Mint Candy Apple complement each other well. In her tutorial, nail artist Alicia uses a wafer-thin nail striping brush dipped into polish to paint the tip. If your nails have length, use your natural white tip as a guide and fill it in with polish.
If your nails are on the shorter side, using a thin brush like this makes it easy to fashion a tip, and you can decide on the thickness. Of course, you'll need a steady hand. It might help to rest your elbow on a hard, flat surface to keep your painting hand stable. If you make any mistakes, soak another very thin cuticle striping brush in acetone to clean up any smudges gently and precisely. Don't make the mistake of using a cotton bud or cuticle pusher, as they may be too bulky and erase more polish than you'd like.
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To keep the look in place for longer, apply a slick of top coat, like Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, £10.95, but only once your tips are touch dry.
If you want to make your nails stand out, try ombre tips, like influencer Camila Coelho. Once your clear base coat is dry, dip a small ombre nail sponge in a pastel nail polish of your choice and gently press this over the tip. It's up to you how far down the nail you decide to take your colour. Alternatively, you can keep the tips all one shade, like Evelynn Escobar-Thomas, who has chosen lilac – arguably this season's most popular nail shade.
Like most things, practice makes perfect. The key is investing in an expert-approved striping brush set like Alicia, as it means your pastel tip will look a little more professional until you can finally book a salon appointment.

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