Neon Helps Nails Do the Bright Thing: Dazzle Your Digits With This Easy Neon Nail Art Look…and Then Enter to Win $600 in Prizes!

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To, Nails

neon nails 1


This series is brought to you by Buxom Color Choreography Eyeshadow. Buxom wants to inspire you to live life vividly.

You know why summer is one of my favorite seasons?

Okay, I mean besides the sun, the warm weather, the blockbuster movies, the lighter traffic on the highways (because school is out), the beach days, swimming pools, and aaaaaaall of that stuff. Besides all of that, do you know why summer is one of my favorite seasons? 🙂

One word: color! Summer is a fantastic excuse to go buck wild with color.

For those three months, it’s everywhere you turn — on lips, cheeks, eyes, and yes, also nails.

And what better way to celebrate the coming color storm than with some of the neat neon nail colors popping up in summer collections.

Here’s an easy neon nail art tutorial that you can do even if you’re pressed for time. And you can also try some different color combinations to suit your mood.

Step 1: Start with a bright base

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First things first, apply a base coat, followed by a layer (or two) of your favorite neon nail polish. Here, I’m using a creamy bright orange (just because I think it’s summery and fun).

Wait until that’s completely dry before moving on to the next step…

Step 2: Add your stripes

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Tabs, a self-proclaimed feline expert in stripes, insisted that I do mine freehand, painting them directly on my nails. For this look, I used a bright creamy neon pink.

Before I let the brush touch a nail, I try to remove as much excess polish from the brush as I can by running it against the mouth of the bottle. Then, with the lightest touch I can manage, I draw each stripe, beginning at the base of the nail and brushing up toward the tip.

When I’m done with the first layer, I wait for it to dry, and then repeat the process (if necessary, depending on the opacity of the color you’ve chosen) for extra intensity.

Now, you can draw your stripes anywhere you want. Remember, this is all about you going buck wild. 🙂 But I prefer to draw them slightly off the center of each nail.

Why? Because I like my stripes like I like my cat — bold and kinda chunky!

But thin stripes are cool, too. I’ve done it both ways.

If you have trouble painting your stripes freehand, clear scotch tape can help. Just lay two strips of tape down along the sides of each nail to create a homemade stencil, and then paint in the middle.

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When the stripe is completely dry (removing it too soon can pull up some of the polish or cause it to migrate beyond the edges), gently remove each piece of tape.

Oh, it can also help to weaken the tape’s adhesive first by sticking each piece to a slick surface, like a plate, before removing it and using it for your nails. That seems to weaken the adhesive a little and makes it less likely to pull off your nail polish when it’s removed.

Step 3: Add a top coat

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That’s it! Step three was a short one. You’re done. 🙂

A couple of color combinations…

So maybe orange isn’t your thing, but how about bright pink and yellow?

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Or neons and nudes?

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Instead of starting with a bright base, you could try a neutral instead, like a creamy peach. Then, add your bright neon stripes as accent colors.

Before you go, it’s contest time! 🙂

Enter the Buxom Photo Contest on Makeup and Beauty Blog Today

How do I enter?

  1. Visit and upload a photo that displays you “living life vividly,” as well as a short caption (200 characters or less) that explains the photo.
  2. Mark the photo as “public” (so I’m able to view it).
  3. Tag it with the following tag:
    • BuxomPhotoContestMakeupandBeautyBlog
  4. Post a link to your Flickr photo in a comment at the bottom of this post (or on one of the next two upcoming posts in this series).

How will my entry be judged?

Tabs and I will pick the winner based on the following criteria…

  • Creativity/originality (33%)
  • The overall quality of your submission (33%)
  • How well it displays you “living life vividly” (34%)

What’s the prize?

A $500 Visa® gift card and an assortment of Buxom® cosmetics, including two (2) Buxom Color Choreography eye shadow palettes, one (1) Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish, and one (1) Buxom Lash (volumizing mascara).

Approximate retail value: $609!

What about the small print?

  • The contest is open to adults 18+ in the US only (sorry, international babes!)
  • The last date to enter is June 12, 2012 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time
  • Up to 3 entries per person (yup, you read that correctly: 3)

Click here for the official rules, terms and conditions.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Good luck!


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 46 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Ooo I adore this nail art! It looks like something I can achieve… with some help from the scotch tape! I’ve collected a whole bunch of bright neon polishes from the spring collections by now, but I’ve never thought about mixing it up this way! Thanks so much Karen!

    The contest looks super interesting too! Too bad I don’t live in the US! Good luck to all those who are eligible!
    Sunny @ Mostly Sunny recently posted … Comma Store Opening, OOTD, + Dior Summer Mix Sneak Peek!

  2. Twyla says:

    Thanks to your guest bloggers, I started following ‘Nailasaurus’ and attempted the ‘Gradient’ with Plum & Lavendar on my nails … and I love it so much I’m redoing it just for my vacation.. But I’m also tempted to try bright neons like you did above… but I don’t wanna spend too much $$ on colors I may only ever wear once or twice… So that is where Essence comes in.. at just over a $1 for the mini bottle, I can have fun with neon Yellow & Green, Blues, Hot Pink etc…

  3. Nina says:

    I LOVE this mani! So pretty and fun!

  4. Naomi says:

    I’m crazy about neons lately. I tried out two shades already from the CG summer neon collection. They’re bright, not exactly neon in my opinion but still bright and summery! I should try out this one Karen! Looks super fun for the beach
    Naomi recently posted … Colouring my World with Maybelline Colour Tattoos

  5. Valeria says:

    Thats soooo pretty!! i love it

  6. blondycandy says:

    Karen, thank you! It’s so lovely!

  7. Lily says:

    Hi Karen!
    Those are some awesome nails! simple but very fun 🙂 I especially like the orange/fuchsia combo!

    A silly question about the contest, if the photo taken (supposedly) is not in the US but the person is in the US, is it still valid?


    Lily Y.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Lily. OOH! You just gave me an idea. How about orange/fuchsia on one hand, and yellow/fuchsia on the other? Hmm… That might just be a little too wacky.

      That’s a good question about the contest. To be eligible, the entrant’s photo must depict the person entering the contest, and that person must reside in the US. They could be visiting another country and taking a picture of themselves there, so long as they reside in the US.

  8. yvonne says:

    Me so loving da nails

  9. hazel says:

    love the stripes! simple but bold. aand LOOVE THE ORANGE AND NUDE!! which nail polishes did you use?

  10. OOh i love that ! i wanna do that in turquoise and gold!!!
    Peachesandblush recently posted … ELF Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder Review

  11. Kim says:

    Just looking at your nails makes me feel more perky and summery! 🙂

  12. Barb says:

    Love it! I’m gonna do some summery nail art and submit my photos!

    Thanks for the chance to win 🙂


  13. Amanda says:

    LOVEEEEEEE these looks karen!!! and all the colors go so great with your skin tone!

  14. Phyrra says:

    I love the neon stripes! So pretty!
    Phyrra recently posted … Tick:Tock Cosmetics

  15. Libby says:

    This is so fun! I love neon this season, and the easiest way to wear the trend is on the nails! I love a big chunky stripe, and I also love accenting it with a skinny stripe with my striper polishes!

  16. Patricia says:

    Hi, quick question are the entries just about makeup/nails or a pic of anything we want? Thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Patricia. The picture should be of you, but it doesn’t have to be of your makeup or nails. It can be a picture of you jumping exuberantly in a bright dress! — something that shows you living life vividly. 🙂

  17. Cher says:

    Karen! Which nail polishes did you use for the orange, neon pink and neutral! Please tell us!

  18. Sue C. says:

    Love the nails, such a fun look for summertime. Your comment “Because I like my stripes like I like my cat — bold and kinda chunky!” cracked me up!

  19. Stèphanie says:

    Love the manicure! You can do this even with just a subtle hint of a neon color.. but I like to go all the way with neon! Haha.
    Stèphanie recently posted … Trend 2012/Tutorial: Border Nails

  20. Stephanie M. says:

    Here is my entry to the living vividly contest! I love your blog and can’t wait to see the results of the contest!

  21. Regina says:

    Here is my entry – crossing my fingers on this one. I heart Buxom!

  22. Molly says:

    Here are three pictures for the living vividly contest!! I am not as beautifully artistic as Stephanie, but my photos definitely express some of my fonder memories of living life to the fullest.

    Love, Molly

    ps: I know I make odd faces, but I find it especially interesting that almost all of my photos share similar odd faces… That’s how you know I’ve had fun being goofy!

  23. DalaLuz says:

    I am not sure if I qualify, I have a US address (and a US hubbie) but am in the NL now. But I wanted to share anyway. Never used Flickr before, but it looks like a fun thing to start doing!
    Here is my entry: (or actually, it is my sweeties :p)
    and for #2 this one:

  24. Rachel says:

    Thank you for having this contest. 🙂

  25. Jess says:

    What is the name of the Orange polish you used? 🙂

  26. Patricia says:

    I’m always a kid at heart! “Live Vividly” Thank you for the chance, huge fan! 🙂

  27. Jenna N. says:

    I REALLY enjoyed this contest. Going through all my photos and reminiscing about the past was the highlight of my day. Here are my three entries!

  28. Lisa says:

    Fun contest! Here’s two entries (maybe I’ll get inspired for a third one this weekend….)

  29. Soo says:

    hey Karen!

    here is my entry to your MBB x Buxom contest:
    I tried to shorten my caption as much as possible, but it was really hard. it’s 200 characters if we don’t count the spaces! it makes me happy seeing this photo of myself; I think that day is still the most I’ve ever biked in one day. ^.^(v)

    also, tape is a lifesaver when it comes to neat lines on manicures! I’ve been having lots of fun with striping tape lately.
    Soo recently posted … NARS Diablo x Orgasm

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