During times of uncertainty, or any time really, I’ve always found comfort in a manicure—as vapid as that sounds. While it will be a minute before we hear the soothing words “pick a color,” there’s no reason to let go of the small habits that cultivate joy or the self-care routines that keep us sane in an unprecedented time. So ahead, courtesy of our readers, I’ve rounded up the easiest manicure variations you can re-create at home: mismatched nail colors. Sure, it’s not groundbreaking or as important as what’s happening in the world, but for those of us craving the rush of choosing a color, or those of us struggling with social distancing, this small beauty routine can be a little pick-me-up. Keep reading for 11 different ways you can get creative with your nails and why our readers swear by this manicure trend.
Decorate just the tip.
Another way to embrace the mismatched nail trend is by painting only the tips, like Lauren’s pastel mismatch French manicure. She explained, “Mismatched manicures are a way to stand out and express yourself! Show your creativity and originality! They also inspire me to build outfits around them.”
Invest in your polish collection.
Great for creating French tips.
Play with your primary colors.
When it comes to adopting mismatched nail colors, let Nnena’s approach inspire you. “I often experiment with colors and patterns based on the clothes I wear or from paintings. The more you wear mismatched nail colors, you learn over time what goes together, like primary colors, for example,” she says.
Reader Christina puts it best, noting, “As someone with a colorful style, a standard mani doesn’t always do it for me.” Sound like you too? Copy Christina and elevate your at-home mani by playing with shades of green and add a pop of glitter polish to create a mani anyone would be envious of.
Green glitter for spring? Groundbreaking.
The freshest mint polish there ever was.
It doesn't get more spring-appropriate than this polish.
Embrace the blues.
Another reason mismatched nails are where it’s at? As Sarah told us, “I love mismatched nails because I can never decide on just one color—too much of a commitment. It allows me to wear all my favorite colors at once.” So if you're feeling blue, own it, and paint those nails every single shade.
Blue velvet but for nails...
Baby blue? Layer it on.
Finish off your DIY mani with this perfect blue hue.
Celebrate the earth (tones).
Let me clear the air: Mismatched nail colors don’t have to be overly bold. As reader Sharin told us, “I used these colors together because I believe earth tones are rich and warm.” And if you’re not one to opt for bright colors, any array of mismatched-but-complementary earth tones is the perfect way to celebrate this beauty trend on your terms.
Orange you glad you picked this polish? You will be.
Need to strengthen your nails? Apply this before painting on your mismatched mani.
Paint on those pretty pastels.
Reader Elif proclaims, “Sometimes I feel like I can't commit to one single color and just want to have a mani as colorful as possible—and for that, I love going for a rainbow mani!” But it doesn’t have to be the cliché rainbow colors. Llike Elif, you can layer on the pastel polishes to create the perfect bright mismatched manicure.
This pastel set will do you wonders.
This tool will make your at-home manicure more polished.
Rely on those neutrals.
When in doubt, the best way to embrace the mismatched nail trend is by going nude, and reader Samira agrees. She explains, “I love a good neutral, mismatched mani because it’s fun and different yet still minimal and chic.” Just choose your go-to shades of beige and beyond, and your nails will be looking equally as chic.
Nude polishes are an essential for any collection.
Get the salon look with these tools.
Get into the details.
Your shades of nude don’t have to be fully beige. Reader Britt demonstrates that you can not only mismatch your nail colors, but you can also play with adding mismatched designs and details to take your mani to the next level.
Every polish arsenal needs a good white shade.
Don't be afraid of a bold black polish.
Take your DIY manicure to the next level with this kit that includes detailing pen brushes and rhinestones.
Pick one nail to make a statement with.
For those of you who are new to mismatched nails, may we suggest taking a cue from reader Lyndee and trying one nail first? As she told us, “I love the mismatched nail trend because it takes the fun of expressing your personal style to another level. You can add all the colors and sparkle you want to your manicure, just like you layer on your favorite pieces of jewelry or clothing.” So whether you opt for one nail or all the nails, this trend is easy to adopt.
The perfect purple.
When in doubt, stick it on.
Not sold on mismatched nails yet? Can we introduce you to mismatched stickers? Whether you opt for one single nail color (like above) or multiple, adding mismatched stickers is a fun way to approach this trend. And as reader Monica says, “Something about wearing multiple shades or stickers gives your nails an imperfect yet cool and effortless look.”
Stick on a little joy.
Who wouldn't smile wearing this color?
Embrace the rainbow.
You’ve made it this far, so chances are you are into the idea of mismatched nails. Just remember that it’s all about embracing the rainbow on your own terms. As reader Hannah explained to us, “Isolation has given me a lot of extra time to play around with my nails. I love playing with shades. Plus, they make my loungewear look a little fancier!” So take Hannah’s word for it. This is a time to explore, have fun, and find the shades that bring you joy.
Paint on the rainbow with this set.