'Nail Layering': The Trend Bringing Depth To Your Manicures

Layers are the saving grace of any style problem. Because let's be honest with ourselves — layering has improved our base looks more than just a few times. Boring outfit? Add some layers. Shapeless hairstyle? Cut some layers. Bland makeup? Layer some more eyeshadow shades and blend. And now, well — we're happy to introduce you to nail layers, if you're not already familiar. This is a trend for those days when a simple shade of baby pink or cherry red just doesn't seem to cut it, and you wish you could spice your nails up with salt and pepper. Or perhaps even glitter?


Nail layering, as you might already be envisioning, is a manicure trend that stacks nail polish shades one on top of the other for unique end results that single nail polish shades just cannot give us. Typically, this entails an opaque, solid base shade and a sheerer shade on top. Mostly, it's all about giving our same old comfort shades of nail polish new life with the help of some shimmer — the solution we didn't know we desperately needed. We've rounded up some ideas for your next manicure, all of which use the nail layering technique to the best of its potential.

Glitter over nude

Let's start with the basics — a naked glitter nail. A nude base is the perfect backdrop for any sheer glittery nail polish. Silver, gold, rainbow — any glitter will pop against a neutral base for that ethereal, sparkly manicure of your dreams.


Pick your favorite nude, whether it's opaque or sheer. It could be a true nude, matched perfectly to your skin tone, or a pinky nude for a more feminine touch. Then, pick the tone of glitter that will look best on top of your chosen base, or simply your favorite shade of sparkle. There never was a simpler, cuter mani.

Chrome over French

The easiest manicure to modify for an elevated look is the French tip manicure. Its sleek, elegant look and simple two-shade color palette are perfect to get creative with while having a classic look to fall back on — exactly what this trend needs.


The best way to maintain the neutral, understated look of French tips while still getting that shimmer effect is to cover them in chrome powder. White chrome, for instance, will blend seamlessly into the color palette, but a brighter color will give it an unexpected edge. Either way, chrome and French tips pair perfectly together.

Gold specks over pink

Gold looks good on everyone and everything. But gold and pink together ace the royally good coquette aesthetic, and we worship the combo. All you need is an opaque pink shade of your choice — dusty rose and baby pink look the most elegant — and a sheer, golden speckled shade of nail polish to top things off. You can layer the latter on all of your nails, or keep it understated and chic by using the gold only on your ring finger.


Green glitter over stark black

For a darker, edgier look, layering can still work wonders. All you need to do is keep the base shade as dark and opaque as possible. Black nail polish, for example, will give any glittery polish the most ideal stark backdrop to shine like the stars do.


Our favorite glitters to see over black nail polish are of the darker variety — the ones that don't often get their spotlight. Next time you're struggling to pick a glitter, try pairing black polish with a dark but sheer shade of green, blue, or red glitter.

Silver glitter over lavender

Purple nail polish doesn't get nearly enough love. People constantly rave about shades of pink, red, nude, and white. Purple, though, is just as stunning and versatile as all of these shades, and nail layering proves it.


Our favorite way to see purple nails is to accentuate their beauty with a pop of shimmer or glitter. Now, this pop of glitter (preferably a sleek silver) shouldn't cover the entire nail — the point, after all, is to let purple shine. Instead, cover only half the nail in glitter (bottom or top). We call this purple rain.

Confetti over anything

Confetti is the life of the party, no matter what form it takes. And yes, this includes manicures. If you want to make your next nail appointment a party — and proceed to have a mini party of one every time you look down at your nails — go for the confetti effect.


We prefer to let the multicolor chunks of glitter pop by layering them over a neutral base, but confetti can brighten up any nail polish shade. Layered over pink, white, brown, or even sheer polish, this particular look will become one of your favorites, too.