This new manicure is the cool girl’s alternative to leopard print nails

Neutrals are back but with a major upgrade
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This new manicure is the cool girl’s alternative to leopard print nails
Photo: @beautyworksbyamy

There’s a new animal print mani in town and it’s more attention-grabbing than leopard, more head-turning than cheetah, and far more refined than cow.

Behold, tortoiseshell nails.

According to Pinterest search analytics, searches for the print are up by 1,898 per cent, with everyone looking to infuse accents of the blurred caramel spots into the tiniest accessory of all: nail art.

The key to nailing the manicure, according to Rita Pinto, founder of the nail salon Vanity Projects, is by making sure the polish stays sheer. She says, "at the salon, we would do this in gel to encapsulate the layers of colour to capture the translucency of the tortoiseshell and finish with a high-gloss top coat."

This season it seems your nail lady will be missing you as the mustard mani is easy to achieve from the comfort of your couch. To get the sheer look at home, Sigourney Nunez, OPI’s North American education manager and nail artist, recommends using a yellow polish to tint your transparent base coat, and prep the nail with two layers.

Follow this with a mixture of your top coat and a greige colour, applied with a nail-art brush in blob-like patterns. Continue with sheer black polish blobs, interchanging the colours as your build the layers.

"Don’t get stressed about precision," she says. "This look is inspired by a pattern seen in nature, and nature isn’t perfect—it’s simply beautiful as it is. So just have fun." Duly noted!

Although the signature graphic look is fundamentally a fusion of caramel hues swirled with black, there are plenty of ways to keep it feeling fresh. Try a decadent version with glistening golden highlights, pops of bright neon, or switch it up with negative spacing.

Whatever you choose, you can rest assured that your mani will go with everything.

Photos: Instagram