The long-awaited reopening of non-essential shops, bars and restaurants across the UK is set to coincide with sandal season and while we're booking in for haircuts and manicures in our droves, my number one piece of beauty advice for a summer of park picnics and beer gardens would be not to sleep on toenail art.
Nail art has enjoyed a long reign in the spotlight and lately there has been a rise in increasingly extravagant styles, from pressed flowers to checkerboard print. But it isn't all about fingers. From TikTok to Instagram, toenail art is flooding our feeds as the latest cute beauty trend and it's actually pretty easy to DIY at home. Ahead, I try five trending pedicure looks and talk you through how to achieve them in the comfort of your own bedroom.
1. Dress all nails in Nails Inc. NailKale Superfood Base Coat, £15. I used this throughout and it's one of my top polish picks.
2. Paint all except the big toes white, using two coats of Essie Nail Polish in Blanc, £7.99. Clean any polish from the skin using a cotton bud or small angled makeup brush soaked in nail polish remover.
3. Using the largest dotting tool in this set from eBay, £4.98, make five small dots of white polish on each big toe following a flower shape. Carefully draw circular motions with the dotting tool to enlarge the dots until your 'petals' adjoin.
4. Once the white polish is completely dry, add one small dot of Dior Vernis Orange Sienna 536, £22, in the centre of each flower.
5. To lock in your design, finish with Max Factor Nailfinity Gel Nail Polish The Finale Top Coat, £7.99, which makes nails shiny and prevents chips.
The verdict: I love how simple yet striking this design is, which was inspired by easynail on Instagram. You can’t beat Essie’s Blanc polish for a super strong white and the look is easy to achieve. I'd give it 4/10 for difficulty, as there’s just a little bit of stretching required in order to make even-looking dots on your own toes. I’m going to be creating flowers galore now I know it’s this easy.
Muted Polka Dots
1. After applying your base coat, follow with two coats of Ciaté London Plant Pot Sweet Blush, £10, on all toes. Two coats makes the colour pop better.
2. Using the medium dotting tool, dip into Nailberry Nail Polish in Love You Very Matcha, £15, and add four vertical rows of dots to your left big toe. Clean the dotting tool with nail varnish remover, then add dots of Nails Inc. Chamomile Street, £7.50, to your left second toe.
3. On your left third toe, add dots of Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Chai, £3.99, and on your fourth left toe, add dots of Nails Inc. Keep It Tonal in French Ordinary Court, £7.50.
5. Use the dotting tool dipped in Sally Hansen Good Kind Pure Nail Polish Eco-Rose, £8.99, to create four vertical lines of dots on your right big toe. Repeat steps 2-4 on your right toes and, once dry, apply Nails Inc. Plant Power Top Coat, £15.
The verdict: Influenced by evemeetsnails on Instagram, I received so many compliments on this look and it was super easy to achieve as the dotting tool does all the hard work for you. I'd rate it 3/10 for difficulty. While you could use one nail polish throughout, I think the myriad colours takes this look to the next level.
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Colourful Ric Rac
3. Clean the dotting tool, and create a squiggly line on the left second toe using Nails Inc. Plant Power in Time For A Reset, £9. Make the line on the left third toe using Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Sour Candy, £3.99. On the left fourth toe, use the tool dipped in Essie 765 You Know The Espadrille, £7.99. On the left little toe, make a squiggly line with Barry M Air Breathable Polish in Scarlet, £3.99.
4. For the right big toe, create one squiggly line using Barry M Scarlet, and one with Barry M Sour Candy directly underneath. Make your line on the right second toe with ORLY Snuggle Up, £11.75, and the line on the right third toe with Max Factor Masterpiece Xpress Quick Dry in 855 Blue Me Away, £5.99.
5. For the rest of the toes, repeat using U OK Hun? and Salt Lake. Then allow to dry and follow with top coat.
The verdict: Stylish and summery, these squiggles were easy to create and made my sandal look really pop. I'd give it 4/10 for difficulty as again, the dotting tool makes for easy work. I looked to Hang Nguyen for creativity.
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1. After base coat, apply two coats of Rimmel polish in 452 Chin Up Buttercup, £3.49, to the left big toe. After this dries, use the small dotting tool to create your 'cherries' aka five pairs of dots placed across the nail using Ciaté Plant Pot in Snatch, £10. Once the dots have dried, use the smallest brush to create two joining stalks with Nails Inc. Mother Earth’s Calling, £9.
2. Paint the second left toe blue with ORLY Morning Mantra, £9.59. To create your peach, add a large dot of Max Factor 416 Feelin’ Peachy, £5.99, to the centre of the nail, then use the small nail brush dipped in the green to create a small leaf at the top of the peach. Paint the third left toe with Ciaté London Plant Pot in Sweet Blush, £10, and once dry, use the small nail brush (cleaned in between use with nail polish remover on a cotton pad) dipped in Barry M Lemon Sorbet, £3.99, to create a curved C shape that will be your banana. Paint the fourth left toe in & Other Stories Pastel Anisé, £8, and a dot of Dior Vernis in Orange Sienna, £22, to make your orange. Use the small nail brush dipped in Nails Inc. Mother Earth’s Calling to make a leaf at the top.
3. To create your watermelon, dip the smallest nail brush into Nails Inc. Mother Earth’s Calling and make a slight U shape. When dry, fill in the centre with Ciaté London Plant Pot in Snatch. On the right big toe, use the medium dotting tool to create five dots across the nail using Barry M Lemon Sorbet, extending the dots at each end to create the lemon shape. Create leaves at the top of each lemon with the small nail brush, making L shapes with Nails Inc. Mother Earth’s Calling.
4. On the third right toe, use the dotting tool dipped in Nails Inc. Mother Earth’s Calling to make a circle that will be your apple. Use the small brush tool to create a leaf at the top of the apple in the same shade. To create your cherries, take the dotting tool and make two dots with Ciaté London Plant Pot in Sweet Blush. Add adjoining stalks using the small brush dipped in Nails Inc. Mother Earth's Calling. On the little right toe, create a bunch of grapes by adding six dots in a descending V shape, using Nails Inc. Mother Earth's Calling again.
5. Wait for all shades to dry completely before finishing with top coat, so as not to cause the colours to run.
The verdict: Inspired by Hang Nguyen on Instagram, this fruity look is pastel perfection and ended up being my favourite. It's the most fiddly and artistic (I'd give this 7/10 for difficulty) but it's worth it in my opinion. The top coat really blurs any imperfections but if you think this is too hard to achieve at home, Ciaté London has some handy cheat sheets available.
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1. After base coat, use the longest nail art brush dipped into Peacci Barbie, £10, to paint the right half of the left big toenail. Once dry, clean the brush and add a small stripe to the left of this in Peacci Lime Punch, £10. When dry, paint the remaining section in Peacci Tiffany, £10. On the left second toe, use the nail brush to paint half of the toe in Peacci Lemonade, £10, and half in Peacci Miami, £10.
2. On the left third toe, use the nail brush to paint half of the toenail in Peacci Tiffany. Add a strip of Peacci Lime Punch in the centre, then fill in the rest with Peacci Lemonade. On the left fourth toe, paint the toe in Peacci Lemonade. When dry, use the nail brush to add a strip of Peacci Barbie down the centre. On the left little toe, use the nail brush to paint half of the toenail in Peacci Lemonade and half in Peacci Serena, £10.
3. On the right big toe, use the nail brush to paint the left third of your toenail in Peacci Lemonade, the centre third in Peacci Miami and the remaining section in Peacci Lime Punch. On the right second toe, use the nail brush to paint half of the toe in Peacci Tiffany and half in Peacci Miami.
4. On the right third toe, use the nail brush to paint one third of the toenail with Peacci Lemonade, one third with Peacci Barbie and the final third in Lemonade again. On the right fourth toe, use the nail brush to paint half of the toe in Tiffany and half in Lemonade.
5. On the right little toe, use the nail brush to paint half the toe in Lemonade and half in Barbie. Finish with top coat once everything is touch-dry to ensure colours don't smudge.
The verdict: I was inspired by yeswhatnails on Instagram. When it comes to neon colours, Peacci is the best. I was primed not to like this look as my usual mani style is more muted but, surprisingly, I loved it. I'd give it 5/10 for difficulty as the sharp lines require a steady hand.
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