Begin by cleaning your nails—swipe away any dirt, polish or residue with some cotton and acetone. This will ensure your mani lasts longer, too. Apply basecoat to all nails. Once dry, polish 2 fingers on one hand with a bright aqua polish. We used Essie Where's My Chauffeur? ($8)
Paint the middle fingers with a Rose gold metallic polish, like Orly Rage ($9)
The remaining fingers will get lacquered in a light periwinkle blue shade, like China Glaze Fade into Hue ($3)
Add some glitz and glam to this mermaid mani with glitter. Slick on a coat of Azature Pink Nail Polish ($25) over the rose gold nail
Use a teal glitter like Butter London Henley Regatta ($15) and gently fade the glitter so that the majority is near the base of the nail and not the free edge.
Use a purple/blue glitter like Morgan Taylor nail lacquer in Make a Statement ($4) on the periwinkle nails for extra sparkle.
For even more sparkle, add a layer of iridescent glitter polish to each nail. Over the aqua nails we added one coat of Zoya Maisie ($9)...
...and over the blue nails we added one coat of OPI Last Friday Night ($6).
Once your polish has dried you are ready to add gems and embellishments. Arrange your mini studs and rhinestones on a flat surface to make applying the 3D elements fast and painless. Slick on a layer of fast drying topcoat like Seche Vite and use tweezers (Tweezerman, $22) to stick the embellishments into the sticky surface. Gently press down with your tweezers to embed the gem into the underlying layers of polish. Repeat until all of your nails are totally bedazzled!
Apply another layer of Seche Vite ($7) over your gems to make sure they stay in place and glossy for the entirety of your manicure.