You’ve probably lusted over more than a few skilful nail art examples while scrolling on Instagram (the explore page is notorious for tempting us down endless rabbit holes of the stuff, isn’t it?), but dismissed the idea of copying the styles yourself as definitely ‘much too hard’. Happily, there are quite a few DIY nail art looks that are perfectly achievable for even the clumsiest, least artistic nail polish lover (i.e. me). And happily, they tend to be the sort of lowkey, subtle nail art style we love - the minimal detail that only the most observant beauty obsessive will clock. Read on for our edit of chic DIY nail art ideas that are easy to emulate and oh-so-pretty.

Walk The Line


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To copy this elegantly simple design, start with a sheer pink polish like Sephora’s Color Hit polish in Miss or Madam for your all-over colour (and here’s a thorough guide to perfecting this step). Once dry, take your white polish – OPI’s Soft Shades is a classic choice, but any contrasting hue would work – and trace on a reverse half moon with a tooth pick or dedicated nail art tool.

Red Zone


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Can’t settle on one shade of red? No problem. This super chic mani from our nail art crush @betina_goldstein proves that a kaleidoscope of hues is better than one. I’ve constantly got a suite of red polishes at hand for different moods and seasons – Chanel’s Rouge Noir is the obvious choice for that deep, inky claret; Sally Hansen’s All Fired Up qualifies perfectly as that perpetually sunny, red-orange hue; while Essie’s Bordeaux is an elegant deep shade that sits somewhere in between.

Dot To Dot


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This style could not be easier to mirror, and is perfect to dip your toes (or fingers) into the world of nail art for the first time if you’re a little shy. Opt for a translucent pale pink (Essie’s Ballet Slippers is ideal for this – and is reportedly the only polish that Queen Elizabeth II sports), then take a toothpick to artfully dot on some spots. While contrasting black polish is certainly eyecatching, it might not be a hue you reach for often in your collection and could go to waste if you were to go out and buy it just for this – so unless you already have some, might I suggest you go for another colour? A deeper Barbie pink like Revlon’s Extravagance, or a pop of eau de nil like Essie’s Mint Candy Apple, would both look delightful.

A Touch of Glitter


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Strictly speaking, I tend to believe glitter nail polish is only appropriate between mid-December and New Year’s, but I might be willing to bend the rules with this subtle but fun mani. Simply select your base colour of choice, then adorn with a slim slick of glitter. Paintbox actually sell this muted nude and rosy gold as a duo, but other pairings certainly work – I like the idea of Dior’s Devilish Cute matched with Barry M’s Majestic Sparkle.

Half Moon


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This sleek and subtle mani is sometimes dubbed a reverse French manicure and while it requires somewhat of a steady hand, there are a few cheats to get it looking perfectly polished. Start with a base coat to help prolong your manicure’s longevity, then carefully slick on your colour of choice, taking care to create a tidy half moon shape of bare nail. To neaten up, you can scrape off excess polish with an unpolished nail or a fine-tipped cotton bud dipped in nail polish remover.

Starry Eyed


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A stellar manicure – in more ways than one. Start with your base colour of choice – as per the photo, a subtly beautifying shade, like Dior’s iconic Nail Glow, would look pretty. Next, you could go for a star-studded nail polish, but even loose star glitter from a craft store, applied delicately with tweezers on polish that’s not quite dried, would work perfectly. Seal with a shiny top coat, and your celestial manicure is ready.

Story by Tess de Vivie de Régie. Holding shot from

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