How To Create The Perfect Acid Wash Mani In 9 Easy GIFs

Nails to die for.

Ailbhe Malone/ The Illustrated Nail

You will need:

White, black, and a selection of bright colours. Remember: you want a contrast.

Equipment: A cotton bud to swirl the colours with. A cotton bud or a paintbrush dipped in acetone for corrections.

Begin by cleaning and buffing the nails, and applying a clear base coat.

1. First, paint on a base layer of white.

Ailbhe Malone / BuzzFeed

Ailbhe Malone / BuzzFeed


Apply two coats. This will allow the other colours to pop brighter.

2. Next, take your first accent colour, and blob it on randomly.

Ailbhe Malone / Via BuzzFeed

That’s the technical term. Give it a little time to set, as you don’t want the polish to come off on the next brush.

3. Continue with your next accent colour.

Ailbhe Malone / BuzzFeed

Remember: When you create the swirl, you will be revealing different layers, so try and have the colours overlap.

4. Continue the same method with your remaining colours.


As you can see, we ended up with a white base, with blue (two types), pink, orange, green and yellow accents.

5. Allow to dry briefly, and then cover with one coat of black.

Ailbhe Malone/ BuzzFeed

Ailbhe Malone/ BuzzFeed


This will seem a little daunting, but it’s OK.

6. Allow to dry briefly. Next, dip a cotton bud in acetone.


7. Roll the bud down, and then up the nail to reveal the colours beneath.

Ailbhe Malone/ BuzzFeed

Ailbhe Malone/ BuzzFeed


Use plenty of cotton buds, to avoid colours mixing.

8. You can also dab, to create a mottled effect.

Ailbhe Malone/ BuzzFeed

Ailbhe Malone/ BuzzFeed


When you’ve achieved your desired effect, allow to dry before adding a topcoat.

9. Enjoy your nails!

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Ailbhe Malone is the UK lifestyle editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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