Halloween is just around the corner, and while you can’t exactly wear a costume to the office, your fingertips can provide the perfect outlet for some spooky spirit. Sure, you could pick up one of the many holiday polishes out there, but what’s coolor: a trendy shade of orange, or a Goosebumps-esque slime design?
Though some forms of nail art might seem a little out of reach for those with not-so-steady hands, it’s a lot easier than you think and there are some simple Halloween designs you can do with shades you probably already have at home.
To try out nail art of your own, you’ll just need a few supplies.
Base Coat–My go-to is Sally Hansen’s Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener. A strengthening base coat is key.
Top Coat–Seche Vite is the best. Period. It’s super shiny, dries really fast, and never splinters.
Q-tips and Polish Remover–Everyone makes mistakes.
**Optional: Thin-Brush Polish–They’re great for French manicures or contrasting tips, making polka dots, stripes… everything. They’re just easier to use than regular size brushes. I recommend Hurricane, which you can find at most beauty supply stores, butMilani’s Precision Brush is good too and is available at CVS. I advise getting white and black. If you don’t have a thin brush or don’t want to buy one, don’t worry. It’s not necessary, just simpler. And if you want to do some detailing, you can always dip a pin or toothpick in your polish
Properly armed? Scroll below to get a step-by-step guide for five different Halloween nail art designs!
**Each of these manicures should begin with base coat and end with top coat. Always.
1. Start with an all-over base color; to create a Goosebumps-worthy slime color, I did a thin coat of an opaque lime green and then covered it with two coats of the thinner, neon shade.
2. For the ooze: Drip a sizeable dot of black in the center. Wiping the brush almost clean, drag lightly upwards. Repeat to varying sizes and lengths according to how you think your nail was “slimed." For raised drips, allow the original to dry and then drop an additional dot or two in the center of each drip.
3. Give the ooze ample time to dry before applying top coat to avoid smears.
Colors Thin Neon Green: Milani Neon in Totally 80s Opaque Lime Green: Sally Hansen Hard as Nails in Green With Envy Black: Milani Nail Art Precision Brush Black Sketch
1. Start with a nude base; I used a slightly shimmery version because plain old beige blended into my skin too much (boring!).
2. Using a thin white brush, draw two triangles facing downward from the tip of your nail. Don’t make them too long—you’ll need room for the blood!
3. Using a thin red brush, drop a red dot below the fang and drag upwards. Feather a bit of red onto the nail tip.
4. Give the drips ample time to dry before applying top coat to avoid smears.
Colors Nude: OPI Holiday 2010 Nude (not available anymore, but a similar shade can be easily found.) White/Red: Hurricane Thin Brush
**The key here is to do an ombre effect without letting the polish dry. Don't use your best red for this, since you'll be blending wet colors and don't want to contaminate an expensive bottle.
1. Do a quick swipe of your choice red across the top of your nails.
2. Using a thin brush, swipe a thin line of black across the very tip.
3. With the same red, use a small amount of color and drag downwards so there is a thin coat of red that finishes in wisps just shy of the base of your nail.
4. Going back to the top, wiggle the brush to blend the black and red, adding more polish if necessary (be careful not to use too much, otherwise you'll cover the back completely). The less color on the brush, the better—drier brushes make it easier to create the feathered, blended look. If you’re having trouble, it can help to drop a bit of clear coat on the nail base to add a little moisture.
Colors Red: Sally Hansen Maximun Growth Sensual Red Black: any black polish
Skulls and Spiderwebs
1. Do two solid base coats of your choice color—I chose a shimmery purple since black and white looked a little stark.
2. For the webs: draw two or three diagonal lines from a corner of the nail, spacing them as evenly as possible.
3. Make tiny swoops in between, creating half circles as if the web was draped.
4. For the skull: Make a half circle outline for the top of the skull and a slightly smaller one for the jaw (not intersecting).
5. In between the two, draw two squares for eyes and a triangle for nose (keep in mind that when you fill in the color around this space, it will look smaller than it did when you drew it. Better to overcompensate than end up with a too-small shape).
6. Fill in the top, leaving sporadic spaces.
7. To do the mouth, draw a “mouth” shape below the nose and fill in the surrounding area. Make small notches from the top and bottom for teeth (this is better than simply drawing lines straight across, which look unrealistic).
Colors Purple: Zoya Jem White: Hurricane Thin Brush White
1. Draw a half moon at the base of your nail with the orange; for guidance, follow the shape of that little pale half circle.
2. Swipe a half circle of yellow on top, following the shape of the orange.
3. Repeat on the top with white polish a la a French manicure. Don’t worry about making the lines totally straight since each new layer can clean up a previous mistake.
4. Top with a layer of glitter (a silver/gold mixture looks bangin’).
Colors Orange: Deborah Lippmann Lara's Theme Yellow: Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Lightening White: Hurricane Thin Brush White Glitter: China Glaze Jordan D’Or