The first nail-focused beauty blog

PinspiratioNAIL – Retro Polka Dots with Physician’s Formula Endless Color

When it comes to polka dots on nails, I tend to be pretty straightforward in my looks. Partly because it’s easy (and I’m no nail art savant) and partly because I’ve just never had the creative vision to come up with something totally unique. I blame my left-sided brain. I’m much better at riffing (not ripping) off what others have come up with, which is why PinspiratioNAIL was born.
Retro Polka Dot Manicure Nail Art Tutorial using Physician's Formula Endless Color

Affiliate Link|Press Sample

I keep playing with the idea of dots inside dots, dots layered over dots but a lot of my practice designs have come off flat. Then I came across this graphic, retro-inspired design from My Awesome Beauty and my motivation kicked in. Having recently received the new Physician’s Formula Endless Color Custom Nail Trios, to test, it seemed like the perfect time to give this three color design a try.

The Pinspiration: The base color of this design by My Awesome Beauty is one of my fave Zoya colors, Pinta, so that immediately caught my eye. But more than that, I love how the use of dots and stripes creates somewhat of an optical illusion. Just a few well placed dots also gives the impression that this design is much complicated than it actually is. Given my limited nail art talents, I’m all about trying something that looks like I have skills beyond my means.

My Awesome Beauty by Sophie Retro Dots Manicure

image by My Awesome Beauty via ZoyaNailPolish on Pinterest

Retro Polka Dots How-to

What you need: Two different size dotting tools, striping tape/painters tape/Scotch tape and three nail polish shades of your choosing.

I used a thin artist curve painter’s tape & dotting tools I bought on Amazon, and the new Physician’s Formula Endless Color Three Shades of Grey nail polish trio. I originally thought about using contrasting colors but in testing a few combinations, I loved the more subtle look of the grey trio. The formula of the polish is really nice and pigmented. Super easy to apply in spite of the tiny brush and handle size. Plus, they are 5-Free and Gluten-Free.

Technique: 1) Apply two coats of your base color and let dry. 2) Add a stripe of the second color down the middle. 3) Add a thin stripe of your third color in the very center of the nail. 4) Place three dots down the center of the nail, using the third color. Make sure the dots are wider than the smallest stripe. 5) Place two dots along the line between the first and second color on each side of the nail, using the first color. 6) Using the smaller dotting tool, place dots of color inside the previous dots using the opposite color (first color on third, third color on first).

Notes: 1) I free-handed the silver stripe but you can use tape. The process just takes longer. 2) I used Seche Ultra-V UV Top Coat to dry the first stripe faster. 3) Tap the tape against your palm to reduce the tackiness and prevent pulling the polish. 4) If your lines aren’t perfect, the dots should camouflage that (mine did!) 5) Wait as long as possible before adding top coat to avoid streaking the dots (a mistake I made).

Retro Polka Dot Nail Art Tutorial

Retro Polka Dot Nail Art Tutorial

The Finished Product – It didn’t turn out nearly as well as my Pinspiration but I’m quite happy with the overall look. I need some more practice with dotting. While some dots dry nice and flat, some never seem to smooth out and that left me with smaller dots in certain areas.

Physician's Formula Endless Color Shades of Grey retro polka dot nail art

Retro Polka Dot Nail Art

Physician's Formula Shades of Grey Endless Color retro polka dot nail art

Retro Polka Dot Nail Art

The Physician’s Formula Endless Color Custom Nail Trios are available now at mass retailers nationwide including and Suggested retail is $10.95/ea for a total of .45oz/trio.

Also, Physician’s Formula has launched the Make It Yours Manicure Contest with a grand prize of a trip to NYC to attend New York Fashion Week! From now through June 15, 2013, post a three-hued manicure using one of the eight Endless Color Custom Nail Polish Trios on a social media outlet AND the Physician’s Formula Facebook page using the #PFBeautyBuzz hastag and you could be off to NYC. If one of you win, please tell me so we can meet at the tents! For full details and the official rules, please visit

Finally, follow my PinspiratioNAIL board on Pinterest and leave a comment on the look you would like to see me try next.

So are you loving these retro-inspired dots? Is this a look you’ll try? Have you used the new Endless Color trios yet? If not, do you plan to try them?

Disclosure: Product samples were provided by reps for Physician’s Formula. All other products were purchased by me. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

There Are 14 Brilliant Comments

Trackback URL

  1. NailPolishFan says:

    I love this design. Your so good at nail art. Do you have any tips?

    • Michelle says:

      You are way too kind. I don’t consider myself good at nail art. If it’s something I can break down into lines and dots, I can get a handle on it. Beyond that, I’m screwed, ha! I don’t have any specific tips besides practice makes perfect. If I have time, I test the designs on a piece of card stock or a nail art wheel before doing it on my nails. That helps.

  2. Iris says:

    I think your dots are lovely! And the metallic really softens up the design and makes it more sophisticated. I just adore this manicure.

  3. Shaina says:

    So beautiful!

  4. Hi :)

    I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see this in my Bloglovin’ app, I’ve been reading your blog for months and to see you try out my Retro dots made my day xx

    (My old Youtube channel is called IndigoNova1 and I did a Retro Wallpaper design that inspired the blogger who inspired the blogger who inspired the blogger who inspired you Lol)

    Going back through the photos, tracing back the versions different bloggers did until I found the girl who copied me was AWESOME, I love seeing how you’ve all changed it and evolved the design.

    Your version is different to mine with the two base colours and looks fab, and I know it’s silly but to see something I originally created suddenly pop up on a blog I love has put a huge smile on my face.


    • Michelle says:

      Hi! I’m so glad you found me and that you like my version of your design and not insulted by my bastardized version. I watched your video ( and am so impressed by your ability to paint straight lines with a striper brush. That’s one technique I can’t get a handle on.

      • Thanks! I love striper brushes…I think most people try to hold it like a pen, but it’s much easier to hold it as flat against the nail as possible. Lay it down, then drag it off leaving the straight line.

        Don’t forget you can cut the brush to make it much thinner for thinner lines, and using acrylic paints makes the whole process easier too :)

    • Linda165 says:

      I was about to post a link to your tutorial, Arcadia, but I see you were here first :)
      I love how it turned out with the metallic background. Great job!

  5. Nati says:

    Gorgeous! I was hesitant on what to do on my nails while reading my fave blogs, and… LOVELY! I just “copied” this design using purple pink and came out quite neat, but there’s room for improvement ;)
    Thanks for this wonderful idea.

  6. Awesome Sophie says:

    Omg. Is this happening? Have I been linked to from the blog I have read longest in all my blog-reading-life? Have I gone to heaven? The blog that both terrified me and inspired me to start my own nail blog? Holy smokes! I’m way excited! Thanks! I love your muted version of it – it’s much more my style than the one I actually made.

    Thanks again! :-)

    • Michelle says:

      Aww, I’m so happy you’re pleased. I always have a bit of fear that my inspiration will be insulted by my so-not-worthy attempt to re-create their look.

  7. Marthe C says:

    Oh, I know one little happy bear today :) Halat is over the moon about you featuring her

  8. Laura says:

    I think you did a good job, but I’d say the original Pinspiration works better due to the contrast of colors. Really cute idea, even one I might try myself…and I never do nail art! Great post :)