How to Do a Moon Manicure
By Jill Gardiner
, last updated January 20, 2012
When it comes to fashion, everything comes and goes in cycles and often the hot new thing has its roots in something older. Take the latest trend in nail art, the half-moon manicure, seen recently gracing the runways of high-end designers such as Philip Lim and Chanel. Related to, although almost the opposite of, the French manicure, in a half-moon manicure the half moon at the base of the nail is done in a contrasting color instead of the nail tip.
While this may seem like a revolutionary concept, it’s actually a version of the full-moon manicure, a style that was all the rage in the Roaring Twenties. In a full-moon manicure, both the half moon and the tip were left natural because completely covering one’s nail with “varnish” was, ahem, less than ladylike. What gives the half-moon manicure an update is the vivid colors and combinations that are available to modern women and would likely make most flappers’ heads spin. While it may look complicated, a half-moon manicure is no more difficult to do than a French manicure, possibly even easier. Here’s how to do it.
Prepare Your Base
Start by preparing your nails as you normally would: filing, conditioning, etc. Because the focus is on the nail bed rather than on the tip, you’ll want to take extra care in this area, cleaning up any hangnails or ragged cuticles. Make sure the nail is free of any and all residue, such as lotion, which will interfere with polish’s ability to adhere to the nail surface. Apply a coat of a good quality base coat and allow it to dry thoroughly, then apply two coats of your base color; that is, whatever color you want to be on your nail’s half moon. Try something fun like a metallic shade or a bright, vivid color. Because this manicure takes several coats, you’ll want to make each layer fairly thin so you don’t end up with one-inch thick nails. If you’re a vintage purist, feel free to skip the base color, although the color combinations make this manicure a lot of fun.
If you have a steady hand, you’re welcome to paint around your half moon freehand, but for those of us that are less artistically inclined there’s a quick and easy alternative: hole punch reinforcement stickers. Available at office supply stores, these handy dandy items make the perfect stencil for the half-moon manicure. Snip the stickers in half, and then apply to the nail bed of each nail. Be sure that your nail polish is fully dry before applying stickers so you don’t smudge all your hard work! Use a cuticle stick to really press down all the edges, especially the rounded portion along the top.
Once your stickers are firmly adhered, you can then apply two thin coats of the top color. Avoid glopping the polish on, which increases the likelihood of seepage or smudging when you remove the stickers. Let your nails dry for five or ten minutes, then slowly and carefully peel the stickers off. If you have a few “Oops” spots, use a q-tip dipped in nail polish remover to clean them up. Seal your hard work with a good quality top coat, and then allow your nails plenty of time to dry.