DIY White Manicure

by Maria McNamara | 20 Comments

White Nails

White has a pretty vanilla reputation. Which isn’t surprising—we’re talking about the color of Persian kittens, fresh snow, and 2% milk. And yet! Bright white manis are popping up all over, and they’re strangely, awesomely edgy. No longer relegated to a supporting role in French manicures, white polish has officially come into its own. We dig it.

But like any pale opaque color, white can be tricky to apply. Use too much and you’ll have a gloppy mess on your hands; use too little and you’ll end up with visible streaks. We’re letting you in on the secret to success: Matte Top Coat…in the middle.

Here’s what you do:

1. Apply base coat. We know it’s tempting to skip this step, but base coat creates a smooth, even surface for polish application and helps your color last longer.

2. Follow with a thin layer of white polish. Don’t worry if it’s streaky; we’ll fix that in a minute.

3. Add a layer of Matte Top CoatThe matte layer acts as a primer, so your polish will distribute evenly without streaks.

4. Apply your next layer of white polishYou’re in the home stretch now.

5. Finish with Freedom Polymer Top Coat. Our fast-drying top coat smoothes over any imperfections and leaves your nails with a gorgeous, glossy shine. And you’re done! Great work.

  • Jennine

    I’m going to try this over the weekend! I have Kate as a white polish but I’ve yet to be able to get the application right – it’s either streaky or gloopy. I’ll also try this with my pale yellow polish to see if it works. Thanks!

    • Emily

      Keep us posted, Jennine!

  • KIM

    So I’ve attempted this trick recently, I suppose my main question is how long should i wait in between layers? I When I tried I didn’t have much luck and I think the time I spent waiting to dry in-between layers (either too short or long) was the problem. Help me out! Should each layer be dry before the next or sticky to fill the holes/streaks?

    • Emily

      It’ll take a little extra time and patience, but letting each layer dry completely is probably your best bet. Let us know!

  • Ginger

    That’s a great idea, I never considered doing that! Def going to try this weekend 🙂

  • AB

    Looks like someone was reading Makeup by Tiffany D over the weekend. Attribution is important, Julep! 🙂

    • Emily

      Haha! What a great coincidence! The matte topcoat secret is definitely “out” in the beauty blog world (and in our Parlors, where we’ve been using the trick for years). Thank you for turning us on to TiffanyD–we’re going to keep our eyes on her work. She’s got great style!

  • Dawn-Marie

    This would probably also help matte white polishes and other really light colors as well. (Matte white is a favorite of mine; I used to White-Out my nails in the 80s in high school!)

    Has me wondering if it would also work under neons, which are notoriously hard to get looking good, even with a white layer underneath.

  • Sherri Palmer

    Oh my gosh, thank you for this. I typically steer clear of white manis because I rarely have the patience for the precise application they require. I think I’ll try this and do red and blue polka dots on an accent nail for the 4th.

  • The white mani is so crisp – I love it.

    Great tips Heather.

  • Patricia

    Wish I had seen this last night! Instead I used Kate & Gwyneth for a French manicure, with America as a statement nail.

  • Stephanie

    great timing! I’m working on a white base to start off my 4th of July mani and going to try this with that and all my other light shades that have issues with streaks. could be a real time-saver :). thanks!

  • This is a great tip! I will definitely be trying this.

  • Tarah

    That’s a great tip for the matte top coat! I’m def gonna have to try that for sure, I always have a hard time with white being so streaky.

  • Eshe

    Thanks. I always look like I’m wearing white out. I use white as a base coat to make the polish color on the nails look true to the color in the bottle.

  • Miriam

    What a great tip. I just saw a vlog on white polish and was planning on painting my nails tomorrow. Guess I need to break out my Julep Matte Coat!! Thanks!!

  • AccessoryLUVR

    Thanks for this great tip! I love an opaque white mani. Lastnight I did mine with Bunn. The application was challeging and took a lot of patience. With this tip I am sure it will work much easier and I will be able to rock this look all summer! Looks great with tanned hands and todays fun bracelets.

  • Karen

    Just tried it. Still streaky. 🙁 A bit better than usual, though.

  • Anastasia

    Wow! How about giving credit to the blog you took this from?

    Pretty low blow to steal an idea and not give credit to the person who did all the leg work. You should be ashamed of yourself!

  • Ardena

    I am definately going to try this! Everytime I have tried the trendy white mani I always end up looking like I painted my nails with white-out! Hahaha thanks Julep for keeping us all up to date with what’s trending in nail color and then giving us the inside scoop to create it ourselves!