Skittlette- How to Dress your Nails

Hello Lovely Ladies!!!!

I can’t remember the last time I was this personally eager to share a post with you.

While I enjoy every style of nailart, I get the most positive feedback for my skittlette manicures; many of you might know me for the ‘skittlette manicure’ and the most frequently asked question sent my way is “how do you come up with your skittlettes?!”.

* * *

While I am not too sure I pioneered this manicure look (it may have very well existed on the runways or elsewhere?), it is one that I had a small part in naming and defining, and one that is definitely a personal favourite!

* I also encourage you to visit So Nailicious! as I share more skittlette tips/tricks there today as well! *


The HISTORY of the Skittlette (as far as I know it):

A loooooonng time ago, when we walked 30 miles to school and back, barefoot, uphills both ways…well, not THAT long ago 😉 ,… I featured a manicure (click HERE for the manicure in question) on my blog that had two different accent nails. At that time, still wet behind the ears, I called it a skittles manicure, and was corrected by a fellow reader who accurately said that that was not a skittles look as not all of the nails were different.   I turned to Twitter and asked “is there a term for a manicure with two different accent nails?!?”.  To my surprise there was no ‘label’ put on such a look…

Then, Lindsey from Nails for Dummies (replied saying “why don’t you call it a skittlette” (exact tweet here).  That is all of the documented proof I have of the history of the skittlette 😉

The first official ChitChat Nails skittlette can be found HERE!



Not quite a full skittles look, a skittlette manicure is one with at least two different accent nails. Pick any formation/order you wish, but for a true skittlette at least two nails need to be the same (the others can all be different) OR two pairs of identical nails and a different nail.
For those of you who like math/equations.  A skittlette can be any of the following:
(in any order on your nails so that AAABC=ABCAA=AACBA)

So now we come to the BIG QUESTION:

“HOW do you skittlette, Marta?!?!”

I think of a skittlette as “dressing my nails”.
For an outfit to be complete you need Pants, a Shirt, and Accessories. 😀

Think of the three elements of a skittlette in these terms :D!

Therefore my favourite way to skittlette is as follows:

You all know that I love to be matchy-matchy… so I do tend to create looks in which all of the shades compliment each other (rather than contrast).

My personal rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t wear the elements all together in one outfit, do NOT put them on your nails at the same time 😉  You want your manicure/outfit to have flow rather than for the elements to compete for attention and create a busy/noisy mess.


1. Pick a starting point: What would you like to “wear” (on your nails) today. It might be a certain color, or particular stamp, or a freehand-technique you’ve been itching to try.  It might be an actual piece of clothing from YOUR collection that you would like to create a matching manicure to! (are you starting to see how fun matching could be? 😉 ).

In this case, I chose a shawl as my source of inspiration (more sources for possible inspiration later in the post):

please note: while the shawl is my main source of inspiration, I will “dress my nails” into a skittlette INSPIRED by it

2. The shawl’s ‘busy’ element will become my “shirt”; following the hand-diagram above, I tend to dress the “shirt” or pattern/design on my ring and middle finger:

3. The “pants” – manicure-wise speaking- I tend to wear in cream/solid colors and on my pointer and thumb.

4. Now for the fun part!  What girl doesn’t like accessories!? RIGHT?!  I tend to wear my accessories which are sparkly, and ‘bold’ in color on my pinky (the small surface of the pinky makes them a little less in-your-face overpowering).  I LOVE textured shades, like OPI’s Liquid Sands as my ‘accessories’;  they sparkle and add the perfect finishing and complimentary touch.

If you stopped and did NOT add accessories, you would simply have a manicure with two accent nails 😉

The ‘accessory’ nail is the one I often have the most fun with. This nail allows me to try the brighter and glittery shades that I would normally not reach for in a full-manicure 😉

Now that our nails are fully dressed, the skittlette is complete.

This is a AABBC skittlette 😉

DOs and DON’Ts
* DO make sure that all of your colors and designs compliment each other. You could actually physically place nail polish bottles side by side just to see if you like them together). While you could create a skittlette with contrasting colours, I personally prefer to work with shades that compliment each other to create cohesion within the manicure.  Think about your own wardrobe as a trustworthy guide.

* DO look around you for skittlette inspiration. Look at:
• home décor (pillows, curtains, carpet, wall art),
• clothing (children’s clothing OR clothing with a lot of colors/patterns can be very helpful),
• packaging (even a cereal box can be a source of color/pattern inspiration).
• Turn to Pinterest (fashion OR those color palettes )
• Nature (bugs, flowers etc)

* DO have fun with it. While I shared some guidelines, there really is no right or wrong way to skittlette. Do what feels right to YOU! 😉

* DO play around with different polish finishes and textures.  As a general rule I do NOT mix two textured, two glitter or two shimmer shades together; I find that this creates a very “busy” look that takes away from the manicure cohesion.  Pairing a textured polish with a cream and a ‘focal-point’ stamp allows for each element to play nicely together.

* DO change your skittlette around (for example, the next day I could remove the ‘berry pants’ and put on a pair of beige khakis or a pair of coral capris 😉 for a softer look ).  This is one of my favourite parts of the skittlette- you can get a different look by repainting only a few nails!!!!  As a busy-mommy who is always on the go, this time saver is a huge plus 😉

* DON’T make your skittlette too buys (ex. Using three different glitters, or two accent nail patterns that do not compliment each other).

* DON’T use too many finishes. For my skittlettes I usually use one cream, one glitter/texture polish and a stamp.

If you do the skittlette well, you will have a manicure in which each nail contributes to the overall look. You will have the opportunity to wear a few of your favourite shades at once (who doesn’t like that), and possibly throw in a fun technique/stamp.

I hope you found this mini how-to skittlette tutorial helpful?!
I encourage all of you to try a SKITTLETTE!

I again encourage you to visit So Nailicious! as I share more skittlette tips/tricks there today as well!


For this manicure I used:
pinky: OPI Tiffany Case
ring & middle finger: OPI MBSW stamped with PUEEN48 (as requested by Jajuana from Mani's by Moore)
pinter & thumb: OPI A Definite Moust-Have
I also added four blue rhinestones (to create 'flow') ;)
  • Kayla Angus

    Great post| I am a huge fan of your skittlettes

  • Woohoo! Best nail art trend ever! 🙂 You know, all these while I was under the impression that skittle manicures are called skittle because they were inspired by those skittle sweets and it evolve from just having different colours to different patterns to unique mix and match thing. But I sure love your term ‘Skittlette’ and have been using that term as well. Sounds more fun XD And there’s a lot of insights in this tutorial and all of them well explained! Great job, Marta (as expected!) 😀 Thank you so much for taking your time writing this and sharing with everyone! ♥

    • Thank you SO much for your kind comment. What a pleasure this was for me and I am glad that this post is being so well received 😀

  • Elissa

    This is one of the most helpful posts I have read in a while, Marta! 🙂 I often have trouble trying to pair polishes together and they look a little weird but this is SOOO helpful! ♥

    • I’m so thrilled that this post ‘makes sense’. I often align bottles side by side to see if they pair-up well together… or find a color combo in a pillowcase that I like so I run to see if I have matching polish… lol

  • Ann Sharp

    Thank you so much for this post! I absolutely love your blog and ideas. I’m definitely going to need to try this out for inspiration, Up until this point I’ve only been able to copy your manicures but not so good at original ideas. Maybe this will help! I get super excited when you have a new post or picture on instagram so again, thanks so much for the inspiration!

  • Erin Ortiz

    Thank you for this tutorial, I always feel like my combinations are awful! I am printing this out for reference so I can try it 🙂

    • Your comment made me smile! I made it into PRINT! 😉 yaay! This would be the second time ;)… I once got featured in the newspaper on a short article on bus etiquette and how young people have lost the courtesy that the elderly deserve 😀 *smiling*

  • This is great! Thank you so much for explaining this in a positive and helpful way! 🙂

    • Awh, your comment brightened up my day when you first posted it and now again. I was nervous about putting the description up; I didn’t want to come across as authoritative, because nailart really is a way to express YOURself 😀 Glad you found this post helpful

  • Patricia Taveras

    love this!

  • I love your skittlette manicures! it’s a great way to wear several nail polishes at once 😀 and I think it was on your blog that I heard the term skittlette for the first time 🙂

    • Isn’t it fun to wear a few of your favourites at the same time!? 😀
      Yaay for skittlettes.
      Thank you for your sweet comment

  • Oooooh, this is a great post!! Very inspiring 🙂

  • So so pretty!! You are awesome!! Love your manis!!

    • YOU are awesome for sticking with this blog and for your kind comments

  • I clicked the link and I don’t see where Marta called it skittlette, I do however see where you did. Hmmmmm. Love the skittlette on this page…gorgeous!!

    • Yes… Nails4Dummies coined the “skittlette” term. All the credit is hers 😀

      The stamp is PUEEN48 and the shade is OPI “A Definite Moust Have”

  • Jennifer Bristol

    Brilliant post! I tried my first skittlette a few months ago, inspired by your beautiful designs. I loved it, and hadn’t ventured doing another in case I didn’t like it as much. But the guidelines you provide here help tremendously, especially the idea of it being like pulling an outfit together. Thanks so much for this great post!

    • Thank you for your comment Jennifer. Skittlettes, for me even, are a hit and miss- but what I like about them is that if one nail starts to chip (or you need a change) you can just repaint a nail or two to create a whole new look 😉
      I am genuinely SO happy that this post was helpful

  • Morgane Rauscher-Borne

    Your skittlettes are always wonderful ! But this one is maybe my favorite… 🙂 I love the stamped design, it is very pretty 😉

    • oooh favourite!? Yaaay
      The stamp is one that a viewer asked to see in action… I didn’t expect it to look like this- pleasantly surprised

  • Raquel Mason

    You do the best skittlette manicures! Thanks for all the great tips.

    • Awh! THANK YOU!
      I hope you find a tip (or two) that are helpful in this writeup 😉

  • Natasha Bartholomew

    Gorgeous! Very talented lady! Can I ask what are your tips for taking great photos of your nails?!

    • Awh, thank you !!!!
      Oh boy, photo tips. I think the key is to have fun with it and find lighting that works. I feel like I’m not fully playing fair as I am using a ful studio-sized lightbox (my husband dabbles in photography) ;)… I am also using a decent DSL camera- a Nikon D300… those two elements help (but they are not ones that are necessary- I just happened to have access to them because of hubby-dearest) 😉

      • Natasha Bartholomew

        Thanks heaps!

  • PolishMadness

    Brilliant post! Thank you!

  • carolingq

    This post is awesome, you are very talented and creative amiga!

    • Thank you SO much Amiga,

      You have been doing this for so much longer than me, so your comment means a lot! I didn’t want to come across as someone who knows it all. I appreciate it.

      • carolingq

        You are very welcome! I really love all your manicures!

  • Mina

    It’s been a while since I commented on your lovely posts, but I just had to have a break on my holidays to come and say: this post is amazing!!!
    And the way you put it is just so logical and makes it all look so effortless! Loved the comparison with putting clothes on and how you actually explained it all so clearly! That you’re an awesome nail artist and blogger I knew already – but to find out you’re amazing at explaining your artistry is even better! 😀
    AND it was fun to see some of your early designs, from when I followed you as a total stranger and had your blog on My Favourites – haha 😀

    ps. nailicious is amazing! So glad to have seen your post there! :’)

    • Awh, your comment really touched me. Thank you for that. It is always hard explaining something that seems to make ‘sense’ to you on a level that doesn’t make sense lol… plus, I didn’t want to come across as someone who knows it all-because I certainly don’t. I appreciate each and every comment you leave ;D

  • NailsbyCarol

    This is amazing, and as an admirer of yours, I love these manicures. I must admit, I failed at my first skittlette because I was just randomly doing the picking… Thank you for the post <3

    • there is no such thing as ‘fail’ when it comes to a skittlette 😉 As long as you do what feels right for you 😉
      I’m so glad you found some of the info relevant

  • Kimosje

    Ooh this post is amazing!! Thank you for the inside information of your lovely manicures ;D you make me a happy girl!

  • Thank you soooo much Marta! This is exactly the help I was looking for, when I popt my request. I will give it a try tomorrow with a glow in the dark cream. I only need to look for … A glitter and a stamp 😉

    • Thank you for so patiently waiting on this post. It wasn’t that I was not motivated to do it, but time keeps escaping me. I appreciate your patience 😀
      I loved your post and thank you for the very very sweet mention!

  • Thank you for your comment Rose.
    I’m glad you found this post helpful 😀

  • Lindsey Roberts

    I love that you explained how you come up with these! I’ve always wanted to try one but it seemed so daunting to think of complimentary styles! Muah!!

    • I’m happy that you found this tutorial helpful. Sometimes it is hard to know what information is relevant/helpful so I am happy to hear that there was something here that ‘made sense” 😀

  • KLenz85

    Awesome explination! (Thank you!) 🙂

  • Kirsten Steward Beauty Therapy

    did my first skittlette gel polish/stamping manicure today; thanks for inspiration!

  • thank you so much for sharing! *hugs*

  • thank you for sharing! 😀