You know the struggle of picking the perfect polish at the nail salon? Well, this summer's most popular nail trends require choosing five. The rainbow manicure (beloved by stars like Kendall Jenner) peaked this spring. Then the pastel version started filling our Instagram feeds last month, and now, the mix-and-match manicure we're loving is monochromatic.
Since all the nail polish shades are in the same color family, this mani has a uniform look that's a lot more minimalist than choosing five completely different colors. "It's a fun way to get playful with your nails without being too over the top," says celebrity nail artist Steph Stone. "It’s eye-catching but not too distracting, and it's easy to achieve yourself."
Even though this design isn't as elaborate as nail art, the process of picking five polishes can be overwhelming. So, we asked three pros to share the exact polishes they used to create beautiful monochromatic manicures, along with their tips for getting the look just right. Click through all the gradient goodness, ahead.
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Picking out five polishes in the same color family might seem like a simple task, but there is such a thing as too subtle. "Don’t go for shades that are too close in color or else you won’t be as impactful," says nail artist Betina Goldstein.
For an added touch, Goldstein looks for a deeper or brighter color in the shade family to place on one finger (usually the pinky or thumb). "I love to add a color that makes the whole look pop," she says. "In this look it was the muted mauve on the thumb."
Dior Vernis Nail Polish, Muguet
Dior Dior Vernis, Muguet, $28, available at Neiman Marcus
Dior Vernis Nail Polish, Tra-La-La
Dior Dior Vernis, Tra-La-La, $28, available at Neiman Marcus
Dior Vernis Nail Polish, Enchanted
Dior Dior Vernis – Limited Edition, Enchanted , $28, available at Dior
Dior Vernis Nail Polish, Incognito
Dior Dior Vernis, Incognito, $28, available at Neiman Marcus
Dior Vernis Nail Polish, Palais Royal
Dior Dior Vernis, Palais Royal, $28, available at Neiman Marcus
Stone emphasizes that there are no rules when it comes to this fun, multicolored trend — you can mix it up as you please. But to ensure you get the full gradient effect, it should have an order. "I normally like to order the polish from lightest to darkest, so the range feels seamless," she says. If you're looking to create this manicure at home, Stone suggests buying mini bottles of nail polish. That way you aren't shelling out all the coins for a multi-mani.
Essie Nail Polish, In The Cab-Ana
Essie Nail Polish, In The Cab-Ana, $9, available at Rite Aid
Nails Inc. Nail Polish, Portobello Terrace
Nails Inc. Portobello Terrace, $15, available at Nails Inc.
Essie Nail Polish, Strut Your Stuff
Essie Strut Your Stuff, $6.5, available at Beyond Polish
Essie Nail Polish, Butler Please
Essie Nail Polish, Butler Please, $9, available at Ulta Beauty
Nails Inc. Nail Polish, Baker Street
Nails Inc. Baker Street, $15, available at Nails Inc.
Ultimately, nail artist Charlotte Wales says you don't have to overthink it. You want to make sure that the color is gradually getting more vibrant or deeper. You can also step into similar shade families and still get a monochromatic vibe. "I went from peach to orange to pink, and it just works," she says.
As the owner of the Be Beautyful nail salon, Wales doesn't believe you should be charged more for the look since it's not exactly nail art, and you're still using the same amount of polish. "There's no added extra cost, you're just swapping bottles for each nail," she says. But you can expect the price to vary salon to salon.
The Gel Bottle Nail Polish, V08
The Gel Bottle V08, $19, available at The Gel Bottle
The Gel Bottle Nail Polish, Frida
The Gel Bottle Frida, $19, available at The Gel Bottle
The Gel Bottle Nail Polish, Sunshine
The Gel Bottle Sunshine, $19, available at The Gel Bottle
The Gel Bottle Nail Polish, Madonna
The Gel Bottle Madonna, $19, available at The Gel Bottle
The Gel Bottle Nail Polish, Twiggy
The Gel Bottle Twiggy, $19, available at The Gel Bottle
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