DIY Custom Nail Polish Colors: Get the Color You Really Want!

Happy Saturday! Summer weekends are the best for mani/pedis, so today’s DIY post is about nail polish, specifically about mixing your own colors of polish. Yay! Let’s get started.

Have you ever been at a nail salon or drugstore, and even though there are literally HUNDREDS of bottles of polish colors to choose from, you still cannot find one you really like? I feel like it happens to me a lot. This is because I am someone who has strong feelings about how I want things to look. And what that means is, when I don’t like the way something looks, I have a habit of messing around with it until I think it either looks awesome or I have ruined it beyond repair. By the way, both of those outcomes tend to happen equally often. It’s kind of an amazing gift.

Anyway. When I am at a nail salon, since it’s generally frowned upon to mix up your own custom polish color using the salon’s nail polishes (pfff, lame), I will sometimes layer two different colors of polish to get a color I think I’ll like. This is usually “fine” for me, but who wants to go through life with fingernails that just look “fine”? I’ll tell you what, not this girl. 😉

So this brings us to the part of the post where I tell you about how I mix my own nail polish colors. And you should, too. Why? Because it is a creative outlet, you get to have something no one else has, and – most importantly – it is really fun!

A few days ago I found a nail polish color I liked. The color looked really pretty… in the bottle… in the store. It was a different story when I got home. Instead of a bright purpley pink, this polish was just plain, ordinary, regular dark pink. I’m exaggerating a little, but I was – how do they say? – not impressed.

So, since this polish was $8, and I could afford to take a loss with it, I decided to mess around with the color.

I already had two other bottles of nail polish – one that is a dark red (Revlon’s Valentine) and one that is a navy blue (Urban, also by Revlon*). I took turns adding several drops of the red and the blue polishes to the pink polish – shaking the bottle between additions. The dark red definitely helped, but it was the blue that gave me the results I liked. Below is a picture of the three colors I started with.

Revlon's Valentine - Plum Seduction - Urban -
These are the three colors I used to create the darker magenta color. Valentine (left), Plum Seduction (center), Urban (right).

And below is another photo showing a “Before & After” of the polish. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I bought a second bottle of the pink. That’s how you can see them side-by-side.

customizing nail polish, make your own nail polish color,
This is the Plum Seduction before (left) and after (right).


Tips for DIY Custom Nail Polish Color

Below are some tips for mixing your own polish color. For the sake of these instructions, “base color” means the color you are changing by adding a “secondary color” to it.

  1. If possible, use polishes that were all purchased within the past 12 months, and if one of the polishes is “thick” or “sticky,” I wouldn’t use it.
  2. It is probably a good idea to use all the same brand of polish when mixing a color. This keeps the polish formulations the same which should give you more consistent results.
  3. Also use the same “type” of polish – that is, don’t mix a “regular” polish and a “quick-dry” polish.
  4. Empty a bit of the base color so you have room to add the secondary color(s).
  5. Start slow… add just a couple of drops of the secondary color at a time, mixing in between additions. A little often goes a long way, and you can end up with something really different really fast if you add too much secondary color at once.

That’s pretty much it. Except… you also have to name your new custom color! Some of the most fun things about nail polish colors are the great/hilarious names. I named my polish Urban Love Plums. (Get it?)

So what do you think? Will you give this DIY a try?

custom nail polish,
Yes, these are my toes with my custom polish color. Looks so nice, right? Does a picture get any more summery? No. It does not.


* This is not a sponsored post. I was not paid by Revlon, and it had absolutely nothing to do with my decision to use its products for this post. I just happen to like Revlon nail polishes. They seem to be easy to apply, and they last a long time without chipping.


About The Author

Anne Stericker

City-dweller, designer, writer and lifestyle consultant practicing the art of living well in the 21st Century. Fixated with good coffee, great design, and any little thing that makes life better.

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