How-to: Half Moon Manicure

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
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Super cute and retro, the half moon manicure is a hot trend in nails. Most tutorials I've seen use round stickers like the ones used to reinforce 3-ring binder sheets. I've tried this and it's harder than it looks. It's hard to wait until the base color has totally cured to apply the sticker and then the sticker pulls off the polish or otherwise messes it up. I also found that sometimes I couldn't get them to really stick all that well to my nails, especially toward the edges and then I would have bleeding.

I was trying to think of another way to get a clean line when I had an "Eureka!" moment. I had some leftover neon yellow nail polish strips and realized I could cut those in a half-moon shape and just stick them on. It takes a little more time than the polish route but it's really easy and the outcome is a nice, sharp half moon. I love the way the teal and neon yellow put a modern spin on a vintage classic.

For more fun half moon manicure ideas, check out my roundup on Babble. There are lots of pretty color combinations and creative twists to inspire you.

Get the tutorial after the jump. 

Half Moon Manicure


  • Base coat
  • Nail polish in your primary color
  • Nail polish strips in accent color
  • Top coat
  • Round stickers
  • X-acto knife & self-healing mat OR manicure scissors

I used Essie Ridge Filling Base Coat, Essie Top Coat, Confetti Long Wearing Nail Color in To Teal to Handle, and Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Electric Shock.

1. Start with nicely manicured nails. File the ends round and gently push back your cuticles after soaking or apply cutcile softener. Remove any debris from your nails with polish remover or rubbing alcohol.

2. Apply your base coat and 2 coats of your primary color. Let them dry.

3. Open your package of nail polish strips and find the ones that will best fit each of your nails.

4. Apply your round sticker to end of the nail strip, making your half moon as thin or thick as you like.

5. Use your X-acto knife and self-healing mat or manicure scissors to cut along the sticker edge.

6. Peel off the nail polish strip and apply it to the base of your nail. Be sure to rub on it with firm pressure to ensure that it has fully adhered to the nail.

7. Apply 2 coats of top coat and enjoy!


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