Valerie Fischel
Easy Halloween Nail Tutorial: Spookily Adorable Skulls

Most of us can’t wear a Halloween costume to work or class on October 31 (though those damn fun-size Snickers bars will still be everywhere). But all of us can get in the Halloween spirit with subtle-yet-festive nails! And no, we’re not talking about just painting your tips a bright pumpkin orange. Over the next few days, we’re going to show you some Pinterest-worthy nail styles. Valerie Star, makeup artist, hairstylist and nail artist extraordinaire at >Caravan Stylist Studios, taught us how to do this design — and it’s way easier than it looks. Plus, these little skulls are kind of adorable, and they’re subtle enough that you can wear them in the days surrounding the spooky holiday without looking crazy or over the top.

You will need:


  • Dotting tool
  • Long, thin paint brush (This duo from Sephora comes with both the tools you need)
  • A piece of paper or mini paint palette (to pour polish onto)

Polish colors

  • Zoya Get Even base coat
  • Zoya Raven (black)
  • Zoya Snow White
  • Zoya Anchor top coat
How to get the look:
  1. Paint nails with one coat of base coat. Star likes Zoya Get Even Ridge Filler Base Coat, $10. It smoothes out the nail; plus, its milky hue makes every color applied on top pop a little more.
  2. Apply two coats of black polish to get an opaque, even coverage. Let dry for about five minutes.
  3. Put a dollop of white polish onto a paint palette or piece of paper. Using a dotting tool, make a white circle at the base of your nail—this is the head of the skull.
  4. Dip your dotting tool back into the white polish, and create a rectangle extending from the circle—this is the jaw portion of the skull.
  5. Dip a long, thin brush into the black polish. Draw a straight line across the rectangle to create the mouth.
  6. Using the same brush dipped in black, draw short vertical lines along the mouth to make teeth.
  7. Pour some black polish onto your palette, and use the dotting tool to create two circles for eyes, and an upside-down comma shape for the nose.
  8. Apply one coat of top coat, and follow with quick dry drops. Star recommends Zoya Fast Drops, $16, to speed up dry time and prevent bubbling.
Skulls not your thing? Then check out our Glittery Black Fade Halloween nails and The Cutest Little Ghosts.