Easy steps to do your own rainbow nails

rainbow nails

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It feels nice to see beautiful manicure on our fingernails. We feel elegant, chic, and confident. But the cost of getting them done in salon manicures can really add up over the course of a year. Add to that is the fact that our regular salon manicure is on hiatus because of the “Safer at Home” order. 

In the coronavirus era, your nail maintenance is now in your own hands. A few minutes of self-care might do us good in these trying times. Plus, think about how much you can cut back by trying to do your nails by yourself. 

Mastering the at-home manicure is a skill that will serve you well. Fortunately, it’s one that’s not too terribly difficult to pick up. You just have to have the right tools and polishes on hand and learn a few tips and tricks to ensure a salon-quality manicure. It’s not half as easy as the pros make it look, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the hang of it.

What is basic manicure?

By now you would have observed that a regular manicure at a salon usually includes, apart from a before and after massage, trimming, shaping, filing and buffing your nails, addressing your cuticles, which could include trimming and a cuticle oil treatment. You can opt to have nail polish applied, or you can just have them cleaned. Its cost falls somewhere between $10 and $40. The pros at the salon take, on average, 30 to 60 minutes to do our nails, plus drying time.


Painting your nails yourself

Remember that this is a self-care time, so it’s important that you be in an environment where you can do it properly and in a relaxed manner. Find an area in your house where you feel most comfortable, then have a flat surface where you could work on your nails. It might help to get something to elevate and cushion your hands with like a pillow. You will need some time to dry your nails, so might as well look for something to entertain you with that won’t require you to use your hand a lot. 

When doing at-home manicure, you will need the basic tools: base and top coat, nail file or nail buffer, polish with colors of your own choice, polish remover, a makeup wedge, and a small brush or cotton swab.

How to do your nails


  1. If you have polish left on your nails from your previous nail session, remove it by covering your nail with a cotton swab saturated with a polish remover. Let it pull the polish naturally off your nail. 
  2. Use one long swipe along the edge of your nail and continue filing in one direction. This is to avoid splitting, peeling, and breaking of the nail.
  3. Dry your nails before applying polish so they can return to their natural shape and the polish can stay longer on them.
  4. Buff away to exfoliate and smooth the tops of your nails. Use a nail buffer or a nail file.
  5. Push your cuticles back with a pusher and/or cuticle gel; don’t cut them. 
  6. Use a base coat to prevent your nail bed from being dyed the color of the polish. 
  7. Apply a layer of top coat for a nice finish.
  8. Let your layers dry. 
  9. Clean up your edges by dipping a cotton swab with a polish remover and swiping it around your nail bed.

Additional tips to remember when painting your nails

  • Use cuticle oil to moisturize dry skin and liven up unpainted nails. 
  • Hold your polish bottle vertically and role it back and forth between your hands as opposed to shaking it so there will be no air bubbles in the lacquer or on your nails.
  • You only need three strokes of polish. Let it spread out on the nail.
  • You can be creative in using the negative space on your nails by using a painter’s tape. 
  • Always use white polish as a primer to make the bright colors pop. Use the one that isn’t too sheer or streaky.
  • Always use a base coat to give the polish something to adhere to and make it last longer.
  • Use a top coat to prevent chips. Let it dry for four minutes, and then add special effects like chrome or holographic nail powder with a foam applicator. 
  • Consider skipping the quick-dry polish as they are usually loaded with harsh ingredients that weaken your nails. 
  • Don’t be afraid to try some tiny embellishments on your nails like gems or crystals.
  • Use eyeliner brushes to do erasures for a flawless finish.
  • Store your nail polish in the refrigerator to help the formula last longer.
  • Stay away from hot water because it expands the nail bed and cracks the nail polish.

Rainbow nails for the summer

You can always use simple motifs for your nails like creamy pastels, earthy tones, pale shades, and androgynous colors. But if you’re indecisive as to what color to choose, then just choose them all! Rainbow nails are officially a thing, especially this summer.  They fit perfectly with hair accessories, bright flip flops, tiny bags, pretty summer dresses, and your cute bikinis. 

This season is all about having fun with color. You can have a different one on each nail or you can take the rainbow nail art to another level.


DIY rainbow nails

You rock rainbow nails and easily make it your own with different methods and styles. To pull off rainbow nails on gradient shades, you will need all the basic makeup tools plus a tin foil.

How to do rainbow nails – gradient colors

  1. Apply base coat.
  2. Paint one or two coats of white polish to make your colors brighter and give an even base for the gradient.
  3. Put the nail polish on the tin foil. No need to mix them.
  4. Pick up the polish on the foil with the sponge and stamp it on the nail. 
  5. Wait for it to dry before doing it again. If you stamp it too soon you will pull up what’s already there.You can do all your nails at once or one at a time.
  6. Keep stamping until you like the color.
  7. Remove the polish around the edges of your nails with a cotton swab dipped in polish remover.
  8. Put on topcoat to blend the colors and smooth out any roughness left from stamping.

There are a lot of other rainbow-inspired nail designs to choose from. It is just a variation of techniques used and personal styles that sets one from the other. Some of the designs you can choose from are:

  • Classic rainbow nails: do every nail a different color. 
  • Bright polka dots: start with a white base and then use a dotting tool to create alternate circles and sizes. 
  • Electric nail art: pick your favorite colors and paint your nails following the rainbow’s color pattern. Next, using a detail brush, draw a black heart in the center of your nail and layer it with a daisy-like design in white. 
  • Pastels:  lighter shades of purple, yellow and blue appeal to many. This can be done with every nail a different color or multiple colors on each nail.
  • Sugar spun nail art: add a drop of polish to a flat surface and mix until it gets stringy. Using a toothpick, carefully drag the polish strings to your nails, alternating colors until you get the desired look. 
  • Heart to heart: paint the gradient, then place heart vinyls over the gradient and paint the nail white. Then remove the vinyl to get the stacking effect.
  • Negative space: use striping tape for even lines and use the negative space on your nails however you want. You can paint hearts, geometric shapes, etc.
  • Rainbow art: start with a clear or nude base, and apply multicolored tips or designs to each nail.
  • Side by side stripes: painting a white base coat and place striping tape vertically down the center of each nail to create sections. Then paint each section a different color. 
  • Streaky pastel: use a flat nail brush, a surface that can get dirty, and acetone. Drip some polish onto the plate and mix it with a few drops of acetone until it thins. Next, lightly paint across the nail. Repeat for each color.
  • Ombre: multiple polishes in the same color family.     
  • Multi-color leopard print: use a small dotting tool to create the white center. Then, add small black dots around. 
  • Neon tips: use any neutral polish and swipe across your favorite colors of the rainbow. 

Bottom Line

Rainbow nails are an all-out nail art. They are colourful, cool, and can go with anything we wear. A lot of celebrities have showed pictures of themselves donning multi-coloured nails and you’d be safe to assume that this celeb-approved look is about to be everywhere.

It is becoming even more of a popular hobby in this quarantine season. Being bored is a common pitfall for those of us stationed at our homes, and it isn’t so bad an idea to brighten up the rather drab mood of long days and nights with some nice colors on our hands. 

Once you know the basics of manicure, it is fairly easy to turn your fingernails to a rainbow. Just have 10 bottles of solid-colored nail polish — any colors at all — and you, too, can have a rainbow manicure.

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