Galaxy Nails

My darlings, have you ever tried galaxy nails? They’re brainy, nerdy, playful and cool all at the same time–yet still elegant enough to wear to work. I keep spotting them on pretty ladies around our neighborhood. Here’s how to get the cosmic look…

1. Get a dark blue nail polish for the base, plus a few lighter sparkly polishes (for stars and comets!). We went for Navy Baby, Laser, Spectrum and Diamonds.
2. Paint the dark blue on all your nails as the base layer.
3. Now layer the glittery colors over the dark blue, but over only parts of each nail. A swipe here, a dab there. Mix things up with each nail, since you want them all to look different.
4. Layer a lot, since, instead of your nails looking flat, you want to get that 3-dimensional look of a far-away galaxy, like you’re gazing up at the night sky.

(My friend Caroline modeled, since she has prettier nails than I do. Her rings are from her own collection Brvtvs. Photos by Jamie Beck for Cup of Jo)

  1. Obsessed with this! So cool!

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  4. Katherine says...

    I love it! I have all your colors in my order! Does this ruin the nail polishe brushes of the nail polish you are using?

  5. this is fantastic!! thank you! also, where did you get you tip-of-the-finger ring (for a lack of a better term)? i love it!!

  6. The look fantastic though I’m so clumsy I fear I’d make a complete mess of them if I tried!

  7. wow they look amazing! and it seems simple enough, will definitely give it a try :)
    Flora x

  8. I’m more than a little in love with this idea, must try!

  9. Much easier: get Deborah Lippman’s ‘Across the Universe’ nail polish. It’s one of my favorites!

  10. fantastic colors…

  11. Does Caroline look bad in anything?! :)

  12. I went out and bought all of the supplies for this – I can’t wait to try it out!

  13. This looks amazing but also so hard! I don’t think I could pull off a look like that!

  14. oh my gosh i love these! Not sure I am skilled enough to pull this off. but man will I try!

  15. Those are gorgeous! Love it :)

  16. I didn’t realize this was a bonafide trend. I’ve been rocking at least one galaxy nail (one on each hand) for the past couple of weeks–courtesy of! if you’re ever in greenpoint you should definitely check her out. her designs are all done by hand and amazing. right now i’m mixing it up with a black on clear african print on both hands with one galaxy mixed in ;)

  17. Love it!

  18. Leslie says...

    Ohhh, so fun and pretty! I wish I had the time and patience to let my nails dry, but I always smudge them :( But if I did try this, I’d probably want to go out afterward on a fun, nerdy date to the Hayden Planetarium to have a totally cosmic evening. Yeah, I’m a huge geek….

  19. I think it looks amazing! Going to share them with my friends!

  20. Ah, thank you for listing the link to the rings. So pretty!

  21. thank you so much for sharing Galaxy Nails!!! So coool!!! I’m going to post it on my Twitter :) @cecyliadotcom
    Come follow my blog hun!

  22. These are perfect Doctor Who nails! So excited!

  23. I love the delicate little ring she wears halfway up her finger. So pretty!

  24. mc says...

    Yes to this! I’ve done Deborah Lippmann’s Happy Birthday multi-colored sparkly polish over Essie’s Midnight Cami for a similar, but chunkier effect.

    Lots of fun (and fairly quick)! Usually when I get comments on nails it’s from ladies, but my male friends were super-intrigued with this one: “your nails look like the inside of a planetarium!”

  25. I do something similar, but with water marbling. Pretty easy technique once you get the hang of it.

  26. I love these! I knew you did,too. You pinned it twice on Pinterest! :)

  27. for everyone who was wondering about drying time, it doesn’t take an longer to dry than a regular manicure. the base coat was one coat of navy, then the other colors layered over that…the non-base coat colors weren’t really layered over each other, just layered over the navy coat. so you had 3 coats total: base (navy), then the other colors, then top coat to seal it all in. i did notice this lasted longer than regular manicures though. glitter nail polishes are harder to remove, so it didn’t chip easily. i hardly ever paint my nails because manicures don’t last due to my job but this held up better than most.
    good luck!

  28. I’ve seen these on a makeup blog! If I have time, I would love to do this! xx

  29. Anonymous says...

    Love these!

  30. Sarah B says...

    Caroline is so freaking beautiful and stylishly cool that she could wear Cream of Wheat on her nails and scrunchies in her hair and we’d be all over it.

  31. Wow, so gorgeous!

  32. holy pretty. i’m god awful at painting mine and don’t have the patience to let it dry, otherwise i’d jump right on this trend.

  33. I can’t even, like, put two coats on my nails without jacking it up. I’m like, “Oh, okay, its been an hour since I started these shenanigans let me just go do something useful now—-FFFUUU.” pout.

    These nails are so pretty.
    Nail polish & nails in general are sort of my Waterloo of PrettyGirlTime.

    Love, love.
    Trying this asap. :)

  35. that is such a cool idea~

    i will def be trying this- i have a ton of diff blue colors!

  36. i absolutely need to jump on this. have needed a new nail trend.

  37. Oooooh they’re wonderful! :)

    You know what’s also fun… Polka dot nails – I do it all the time. I pick a pale pink and do two layers and then get a toothpick and dip it into a darker pink and happily tap away at my nails making tiny 3D polka dots – they look brilliant if I do say so myself.


  38. How lovely and unique! A perfect excuse to buy more nail polish in fun, sparkly colors. :D

  39. So fun. I am going to try this out.

  40. I haven’t tried them yet but; I have been seeing so many super cool ideas on Pinterest. I am going to do one soon..

  41. This is so awesome. Definitely want to give it a shot!

  42. ps. caroline is wearing the pompey ring, tri-circle ring, and the one on her knuckle is the chain link ring (that’s just a size smaller than her normal ring size).

    her top is by an australian brand called secret squirrel:

  43. becca, they dried quickly when we did them, and actually they chipped LESS because there were so many layers, so even if a bit chipped, it would just go to the polish below.

  44. Oh so pretty. I would definitely wear that. I need to try this asap. =)

  45. Cute, but too high maintenance for me. I can barely sit still enough for one coat! Though, Sephora just got in magnetic polish. Paint the nails then drag the top over the polish to get groovy designs, very similar to these!

  46. That is beautiful! I usually just ignore my nails, but I’d really like to try that.

  47. those look so awesome!

  48. I would totally try these, but how long do you think they’d take to dry? If I ever get a manicure, it’s basically a give-in that I’ll smudge within five minutes of leaving the salon, so that’s my only concern (especially given how layered the polish is). Totally rockin otherwise!


  49. Wow… they look great. I would try these but I don’t have the patience – especially with dark colors! I’d get fed up before I even painted the base lol.

  50. super cool :) wish my nails weren’t bitten down and little boy-like, but still.. definitely worth a try!

  51. Love these! What a great idea for fall.

    I just started following your blog and am loving! Thanks for posting!

  52. Oh my goodness, these look amazing! I love funky nail polish (in middle school I would paint each nail a different color), and blue shades my my favorite. Will definitely have to try this soon. I hope the results are just as pretty as the pictures!

  53. Love this trend! Very fall…especially in this midknight blue color.

    Side note: The hubs and I watched New Girl last night and its was awesome! So funny…even my husband was cracking up. My favorite part was at the end when the three guys started singing! Of course, my husbands favorite part was after that when the roommate said that he would really sleep with her if she wanted Boys.

  54. OH la la, now that is fun! I love how she wears her dainty chain link ring on the second knuckle.

  55. I’ve been wanting to try this for the longest time now, but couldn’t find a tutorial! Thank you so much for posting this! It was just what I was looking for. :)


  56. I did a similar post on this, only they were ‘mood ring’ inspired nails. I used a similar technique, but paint the colors in stripes with a translucent top coat.

  57. These are too cute! I’ve not heard of it, now I’m looking forward to trying it out!

  58. I would absolutely wear that! And now that I’m getting back into doing my nails again I think I’ll try it :)

  59. eep! I haven’t seen nails like these in awhile! I love the concept! I’ve been coveting glittery nails this fall and I think this would be a really fun take! <3

  60. I’m pretty sure my productivity would suffer if I had that amazing manicure. You know, more so than it already does when I get my nails painted one color. This is beaaautttiful.

  61. I’d wear them but to a date or only on weekends:)we’re not allowed nail varnish in medical school :( they look gorgeous, you could also go for bottle green color and make them look like malachite!

  62. ohhh! that would fit so perfectly to the galaxy-jewellery I just made! (you can see it on my blog)

  63. i’d wear them! with a baby, it’s nice to have nail polish that look great so even if i get spit up on i still have a part of me that feels cute :)
    Smoking Crayolas Blogspot

  64. They totally are fun and beautiful. I can’t wait to try it. Btw: I love how Caroline wears her rings. They are stunning. Kisses

  65. I’d wear them if I had time to wait for all those layers to dry. :)

  66. KY says...

    Gorgeous!! I will most definitely be giving these a try!

  67. Love this! Perfect for fall and kinda sexy too.