Having colorful, polished nails is a simple form of expression that is as versatile as your wardrobe. You can show professionalism with your nails by doing a simple manicure with a clear coat and white or pink tip, or one solid coat on all of your nails, in any color. You can spice these simple designs up a little by changing the tip of your manicure, or even adding a different color on one nail, typically the ring finger of each hand; or two nails, typically the ring finger and thumb of each hand. You can also add designs by painting one or more nails with different colors, making bolder statements with opposite polishes on the color wheel to match a season, holiday, sport, mood, or even favorite hobby. You can also show your creativity by adding intricate designs to one or all of your nails making them all as uniform or different as you choose. There really are limitless colors and images that can be done with your nails if you have the right tools and imagination.
Before adding color or designs to your nails, make sure they are free from previous nail polish by using a polish remover, are free from dirt, and are cut and filed to your liking, so as not to ruin the nail polish by cutting or filing after the polish has been applied. To add a solid color or base coat (one color prior to adding another color or design) start with the brush closest to your cuticle (the part that connects your nail to your finger) without brushing on the cuticle itself. Move the brush down the nail to the end of it and repeat until the nail is covered completely. You can add a second coat if you wish or just let it dry as is. To add another color, you would repeat these steps, putting it only where you want the second color to show.
Adding designs is a bit trickier as you need to have a steady hand to draw detailed designs. There are many types of nail brushes and dotter tools that can be purchased with various sizes in order to create thinner or thicker lines and dots; as well as various colors of nail art pens to help with your design. To create a simple flower design you could put a dot of yellow or orange in the center of your nail, with five to seven dots of another color around that center dot, and two green lines for leaves. For more detailed designs use your different pens and brushes to create the images as you see them, either from a tutorial or in your mind.
The key step to beautiful nails is practice! By doing your nails you control the way they look much cheaper than by having them done from someone else. Keep some cotton swabs and remover on hand for mistakes (just in case, of course), and have fun creating something unique to you!