March 14, 2013 at 1:40 PM ET
To update a plain manicure quickly, think about combining unconventional colors; If you're already wearing light blue polish, try topping it with bronze glitter.
Drop two blobs of polish for dipping onto a scrap of paper. Dip a Q-tip or small paint brush into the nail polish and apply tiny or large dots on your nails. For a twist, use more than one color, like mint green and bright red on a light pink base.
The French manicure is tried and true—but also tired. Modernize it by swapping neutral hues for brights. Curve a piece of tape along the tip of your nail. Paint a complimentary color on the exposed tips. After 30 seconds carefully remove the tape. That's it!
Start with a day-old manicure and choose a contrasting light or dark color. Here we started with yesterday's beige base and added a dark brown complement. Affix two pieces of tape to form a triangle design. Paint the open space on your nail and let sit for 30 seconds before gently removing.
If your two-day-old mani is already messed up beyond repair, get out the remover and make a fresh start with super quick ombre nails. If you’re anything like us, you already have 50 shades of grays, blues and reds that are almost identical, but not quite. It takes no extra time or skill to pick out 5 shades and paint your nails light to dark.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.