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Get The Look – The CND Ruffian Matte Moon Manicure

cnd-ruffian-nail-nyfw-fw-10-matte-moon-manicure Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the designers behind Ruffian, have declared the “moon manicure” their signature nail.  After two seasons of incorporating the moon mani into their runway look, the nail world went nuts for the crescent moon inspired design from their Fall ’10 show (shown left).

Each season it’s not just about a moon manicure it’s about invoking a specific look or reference.  The Fall ’09 ruby colored moon (below right) was inspired by a vintage Vogue cover while the Spring ’09 raspberry and black art deco design (below left) was pulled from a tapestry.


For Fall ’10 the nail came together in a magical way. After meeting with the designers, CND’s Jan Arnold was walking the Manhattan streets when she looked up to see a crescent moon glowing against the midnight blue sky. The moon had a golden cast to it and she was immediately inspired. When she spoke to the designers, they had also seen the moon and had the same thought to translate it onto a nail.

What makes this version of the moon manicure so unique is that instead of a half oval moon it has an upside down crescent shape.  It’s as though your cuticles are smiling up at you.  That small sliver of gold really pops against the matte navy tip.  So how do you recreate this look at home?  Well it’s easier than you think.  While I can’t paint a traditional moon to save my life, my amateurish nail art skills were able to pull this off.

There are actually two ways you can recreate the Ruffian Manicure.  One is how CND actually did it and the other is their suggested at-home method.  If you watch the video below you’ll see the way they created the runway nails using pre-made chrome tips, like the Dashing Diva Design Nails I told you about.

I recreated the look using the same Dashing Diva Gold Digger tips I posted about yesterday with Orly Blue Suede on top. I chose to use Blue Suede because it gives the same satin finish of the CND version without the need for two products. I’m all for simplification.

Application: I did each layer in 5 strokes.  Start with a minimal amount of polish in your brush.  Stroke 1 – Place brush in middle of nail about a 1/4 inch from the cuticle line.  Sweep in a curved motion to the side of your nail.  Stroke 2 – Sweep in the opposite direction. Stroke 3 – Fill in the middle.  Stroke 4 & 5 are optional.  I needed them to even out the surface.  Repeat with a second coat of polish.


If you don’t have chrome tips on hand try CND’s DIY method.  They suggest using CND Gold Chrome, Inkwell and Super Matte Top Coat.  My bottle of Gold Chrome is M.I.A. so I used Milani My Network from their new Liquid Metal line.  This is the same application process as above only you put down a layer of the gold polish first.  Make sure it’s dry before applying Inkwell so it doesn’t pull any of the gold.



Add a layer of CND Super Matte for that satiny finish.  For some reason Super Matte dried somewhat uneven and milky over inkwell which is odd because it’s been very smooth over other colors.  It could just be my application.  Alternate satin finish top coats include Barielle Matte-inée and Orly Nails For Males (their Satin is dc’d).



While I really loved this look on the models, I’m not digging it on my nail shape. It makes my tips look even shorter and fatter than they already are. I think if I had a more length or a rounded shape it would look better.

CND products can be purchased at salons and spas nationwide. Orly Blue Suede can be found at and Dashing Diva Gold Digger tips can be purchased on

What do you think of the Ruffian Manicure? Have you tried it yourself? What variations on the look have you come up with? I’m thinking of trying a one color matte & glossy version.

Disclosure: Products from CND, Orly and Dashing Diva were furnished to me by the brands. I purchased Milani My Network. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

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There Are 32 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Susie says:

    Looks like too much work for me!

  2. Silja says:

    Your nails look stunning! Especially the first ones with Orly Blue suede.

    I just ordered some new polishes including Orly Luxe and Rage, and I think I could make some awesome moon manicures with them. The rest of the polishes are mostly blues and greens. Can you see your impact..? :D

    Actually you’re to blame for my obsession for nail polishes. When I saw Alice in Wonderland, I googled the title and end up on your website and here we are. I’m hooked, and I’ve made already two orders from head2toe in less than six months. :D

    But I’m not complaining. My nails have never looked better! ;)

  3. Deniz says:

    I did it some months ago using China Glaze 2030, Midnight Ride & Matte Magic.

  4. karen says:

    I have GOT to try this.. v nice!

  5. Erindy says:

    I like it- although it kind of looks like you have golden new growth under the Inkwell polish! I am always looking for new ideas for my cosmetology students to try so this is going in my look book. Nice work!

  6. berry says:

    I love this! what a great idea!

  7. Jenn says:

    I think I will give this a try for my next manicure =)

  8. NailPolishFan says:

    Your nails look amazing. I might have to give this look a try.

  9. lwenzelb says:

    Very cool. Just gave it a trial run and it’s pretty easy. So I’ll give it a full on mani tomorrow. Thanks for the very clear description and pics. The diy version since I have no shiny gold falsies… yet!

  10. Caitlyn says:

    Well, I gotta say it looks special, especially with those golden nails from “Dashing Diva”, but honestly, it’s not my thing and not my style.
    It’s unique and special and everything, but also a bit strange, imho *g*
    I don’t think I will try it on my own nails. If I want a little special add-on on my nailpolish, I do some konading and I’m very happy with that ;) nail stamping is real fun :)

  11. Suzie says:

    Silja, I’m exactly the same! Shame I’m in the uk though as I don’t have access to all the nail polish brands on here which kills me ( would love a stash of sinful colors), a teenage passion has been reignited 10 years later! Loving this moon mani look too, shall definately be giving it a go!

  12. kateM says:

    Doesn’t Illamasqua do a moon mani? And this is obviously a dumb question but do you use a guide if so please let me know which one. Thanks

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      What do you mean? Illamasqua may have shown a moon manicure on their website. Is that what you’re referring to? The look originated in the 20′s in France. I believe it was Max Factor who created this style and it was popularized in the 40s. Dita von Teese wears a moon manicure so often that Kiss Nails created press-on moon manicure nails for her. They havent been released to consumers yet but I’m hoping they will.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Oh and I didn’t use a guide but you could. I’m flattered that you would even think that I did considering the sloppy lines at the cuticle.

  13. zb says:

    I think your Diva tips with Blue Suede really look amazing because the gold stands out. I think both came out great and I like the look. I might have to try the two polish version. Thanks, Michelle!

  14. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for posting this and the clear instructions. I will be ordering the Blue Suede and definately trying it. A very interesting look.

  15. Marky says:

    I actually love the non tip shiny version best! Love the gold peaking out from the shiny black. I need to try this!

  16. Sara says:

    I like the look, but like someone else said it looks like too much work AND I’m the type that HATES any bit of error on my nails so I know I couldn’t get this right without driving myself nuts! :P

  17. Sonja Waschke says:

    These designs are great. I like them very much…very creative.

  18. Kimberly says:

    If you think you did sloppy lines then I’m a mess! You are perfect!!! Really!

    I like this look as it is a departure from the expected. I’ll have to use my guides when I give it a whirl.

  19. i am so in love with this style! thank you so much for sharing. i think your nails look absolutely amazing!!!

  20. mrsa says:

    i think this is so unflattering and not pretty.

  21. sissy says:

    not so feminine is it?

    or is it just me???

  22. dave aka pnl says:

    Well… each their own, I always say. Sissy I agree, you hit the nail right on the head. It looks as if a fill in is needed and as mrsa mentioned “unflattering” and “not pretty”. Moon mani ?….please come down to earth Brian and Claude you need some oxygen. JMO…I could be wrong.

  23. Debbie says:

    I like this but have very similar nail shape to you and would be concerned that it would make my short nail beds look even shorter. I wonder how it would look if it was reversed, black moon and gold tips? Might have to try that!

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Oh I like that idea. I agree that on my short nails it isn’t overly flattering. I love the look but not as much on me.

  24. Emmy says:

    I was doing that a while ago, recently I used the Shrek colors at the cuticle and then CND Black Jack. I live in a VERY small town and no one does anything exciting with their nails, so everyone loved mine. I like this better! And I LOVE this site!