DIY Half Moon Manicure

The half moon manicure was a popular trend in the 1930′s that is making a comeback today. The typical half moon design consisted of a crescent shape at the cuticle and another at the tip. Modern versions of this look generally forgo the tip crescent, which looks just as stylish. These crescents could be bare, or colored with a contrasting polish. This style can be seen in most any nail or hand product advertisement from the late 30′s.

vintage half moon

Half moon manicure on stiletto shaped nails

According to ad art from the period, it would appear as though manicurists and ladies at home accomplished this look free-hand. I, however, have never been one to have a steady hand with polish. If you’re like me, then this tutorial is for you.

What you need:

  • Hole reinforcement stickers (the circles you put around hole punches on paper)
  • Nail polish: your primary color and your crescent color
  • Clear coat

Here are 5 easy to follow steps for a single crescent look:

1.     Prepare your nails; clean, file, and shape to your liking.

2.     If you want your crescents to be colored, apply a single coat of paint to your entire nail. Allow polish to fully dry. If you’d prefer a bare crescent, disregard this step. 

3.   Cut hole reinforcement stickers in half (you can get these in the office supply section of any store) to create the half moon shape. Place one sticker half at your cuticle. Check to make sure you’ve applied the stickers evenly on all of your nails.


4.   Using your primary polish color, paint your nail again. Apply a second coat, as needed. Allow polish to fully dry.

5.     Remove reinforcement stickers (slowly!) and apply a clear coat to add strength and shine to your nails.

half moon design

If you’d prefer the double crescent look (the more traditional half moon manicure) follow steps 1-4 as above, then follow these next steps:

1.    Place another reinforcement sticker in the middle of your nail, leaving a crescent shape open at the tip.

2.     Paint the tip with your crescent color, or if you left your cuticle crescent bare, use a small paint brush with polish remover to clear off your primary color from the nail.

3.     Remove reinforcement stickers (slowly!) and apply a clear coat to add strength and shine to your nails.

traditional half moon design

There you go! Now you can do your own half-moon manicure at home (or expertly advise your manicurist at the salon).

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