If ethereal makeup is your vibe, you need to jump on the Korean beauty trend for aurora nails. In this post, we’ll show you why the K-beauty scene has fallen for this look and how you can replicate a shimmery, mermaid-esque manicure for yourself.

Quick Links

How to Create Aurora Nails

Like many beauty trends, aurora nails originated in Korea, with K-beauty influencers sharing their love for iridescent manicures on Instagram. The name refers to the aurora borealis, a.k.a. the northern lights. 

Just like the northern lights, aurora nails have a shimmering finish that changes color as you move your hand, giving them a magical appearance both in person and on camera.

Most professional salons use specific aurora gel polish to create the finished piece, but there are plenty of sheer and opal shades you can use to try it out at home.

DIY Your Nail Art

Nail Art: Colorful, Creative Designs to Paint and Share

Step 1: File and Prep Your Nails

clean nails
Start with a clear base coat to give your color polish something to stick to.

Before adding any polish, trim and file your nails to the shape you’d like. Buff the tops of your nails to create a smooth surface, then apply a thin clear coat. This will help your color polish apply better and last longer before chipping.

Step 2: Choose Your Polish

Pre-made shimmer polishes usually have a pastel undertone like pink, purple, or blue to provide a little extra depth and give all the attention to the holographic shine. Essie’s 696 Hello World White Shimmer has a pink base with lots of sparkle—a perfect choice for a quick aurora nails manicure at home.

oastel blue nails
Pastel colors keep the attention on the shimmer, rather than the color itself.

You can also layer two polishes to achieve this look. Use a white or pastel color for your base, then add a light shimmery polish on top. 

Whether you’ve chosen a pre-made shimmer or layered your own colors, seal in the finished product with a clear top coat to set your nail design.

Step 3: Use Mylar For Added Texture

To give your nails some additional sparkle, add sheets or flakes of iridescent Mylar on top of your polish. Mylar, a type of plastic used in everything from foil balloons to space blankets, is an inexpensive purchase you can find at beauty salons and pharmacies.

Most Mylar nail art sheets come pre-cut in square or round shapes, but you can also trim them down to fit your own nails. Simply place it on top of your nails and seal the sheet with a top coat of clear gel builder. Mix and match across your nails for a completely original aurora nails design.

What’s Life Without a Little Sparkle?

Whether you’re into full-blown glitter glamor or after a more understated shine, aurora nails are an easy Korean beauty trend to try at home. Next time you want to treat yourself, pull out your shimmery polish and give this look a go!

Discover How to Use Acrylic Paint In Nail Art!

Nail Art Course with Acrylic Paints

Written by:

Holly Landis