If our teenage obsession with Sun-In hair highlighter has taught us anything, it’s that summer beauty is at its best when it takes zero effort. But just because something’s easy doesn’t mean it has to look it. Take this summer’s hottest manicure, which is as brilliantly striking as it is wonderfully simple
The trend for tonal talons basically involves painting each nail a different colour. Easy, right? Now comes the (not so) tricky part: not just any hue will do. Instead, each shade should belong to the same colour family. Think more chic complementary combo than playschool pick’n’ mix.
“Tonal nails are such a simple yet stylish new nail trend,” say Tina Michael, founder of Shoreditch Nails, where the requests for tonal nails have spiked over summer. “We love how this trend can be created in a number of different colours depending on your style, whether it’s with muted tones or vibrant hues.”
She also credits the trend’s popularity to its accessibility to even the least dexterous types. “You don’t need to be a professional nail artist to recreate this look. Either do it yourself with a number of polishes or ask your nail technician to create, no matter their skill level.”
For inspiration, look to Instagram (where else?). LA-based nail pro Betina Goldstein, whose work is a regular in fashion magazines and ad campaigns, is a particular fan of this look, with recent posts spanning a Summer Sunshine Manicure of matte, sorbet shades spanning cherry red to lemon yellow, and a forest-green to olive variety she dubbed Green Thumb. Helpfully, Goldstein captions each post with the exact lacquers used. A collection of serene slates, for example, featured Essie’s Generation Zen, On Mute, Press Pause, Mindful Meditation and Toned Down, from pinky to thumb. She’s also experimented with a nail art take on the trend: two shades from the same colour group on one half of each nail, split by a diagonal of clear polish, to create a rainbow design.
“Rainbow tonal nails are huge at the moment,” agrees Michael. “You can pick five colours and have them on each hand or 10 across both.”
She suggests neutrals such as greys or pinks for those with muted tastes. “These are great for those who aren’t so daring but want something different to their usual one colour paint.”
For best results, opt for the darkest colour on the thumb but Michael believes experimentation is key. “You could even paint a different gradient colour for each hand. We’ve painted pink to red on one hand and yellow to orange on another.”
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