The Top Coat: Combine Neons and Nudes for the Perfect Summer Manicure

Welcome to our nail art column–the Top Coat! Every week we’ll be doing a step-by-step nail art tutorial. We’ve already told you the essentials you ne
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Welcome to our nail art column–the Top Coat! Every week we’ll be doing a step-by-step nail art tutorial. We’ve already told you the essentials you ne
L: A look from Valentino Resort 2013

L: A look from Valentino Resort 2013

Welcome to our nail art column–the Top Coat! Every week we’ll be doing a step-by-step nail art tutorial. We’ve already told you the essentials you need for a good nail art kit, so gather your tools and try our next project.

The two hottest trends in nail polish this season? Neons and nudes. We decided we didn't want to have to choose, so for this week's nail art project we are combining bright and tame. (Doesn't the combo look lovely in Valentino's resort collection above?) We even tossed in a bit of metallic for an on-trend summery manicure that’s one-part subdued and two-parts standout. Here’s how to get the look:

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Tools Of The Trade:

Sephora by OPI Base Coat, $9.50 at Sephora.com

Paul & Joe Nail Enamel in Provence 04, $14 at DermStore.com

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Step 1: First Base After applying your base coat, paint all five nails a pretty pearly nude hue. Two coats should do it, but if it’s still a little too sheer, feel free to add a third. Allow two minutes of drying time between each coat.

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Tools Of The Trade:

Love 21 Neon Yellow Glow In The Dark Nail Polish, $2.80 at Forever21.com

Sephora Collection Nail Art Set, $10 at Sephora.com

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Step 2: Make It Bright Using your neon polish, paint a double-ended half-moon design on your thumb and pinky. (To easily create a perfect crescent shape, here’s a tip: Lightly tapping the tip of the brush as you go along helps control the amount of polish the brush deposits.) On your ring and forefinger, grab your dotting tool and paint neon three vertical columns of neon dots down either side of the nail. On your middle finger, paint a halo outline. (Don't worry—you’ll fill it in later.)

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Tools Of The Trade:

Essie Nail Polish in Golden Nuggets, $8 at Nordstorm.com

Kiss Nail Artist Metallic Stickers Studs, $2.99 at BeautyOnlineSupply.com

Julep Fast Dry Top Coat, $14 at Sephora.com

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Step 3: Go For The Gold Grab your striping brush and paint a thin glittering gold stripe in-between the neon dots on the ring and forefingers, and outline the crescent shapes on your thumb and pinky. On your middle finger, create a geometric shape (like a triangle) using gold stud stickers. After it’s in-place, paint around it with your neon polish. Set the look with a top coat and you’re good to go!

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