From runway inspirations to one-of-a-kind designs, our picks are sure to keep you up on your nail game while giving you the 411 on how to DIY many of the looks on your own. This week we caught up with Chicago’s Cheryl Cheryl from Polish2Times Salon for her tips on creating the perfect polka dot mani.

The Trend: Everyone from celebrities like Wendy Williams to Solange have been seen rocking this retro-inspired manicure. Pair your dots with pretty pastels and bright neons to get you “spotted” wherever you go.

EBONY: How did you create this design?

Cheryl Cheryl: I began by painting the nails with two coats of the base color [Editor’s Note: Try Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Smash ($14.00)]. Next, with a medium-sized dotting tool, use acrylic paint in a shade of white and light pink to create a “brick lay” pattern. Make sure to space your dots evenly to effectively execute your design. [Editor’s Note: Rather than using acrylic paint to create polka dots, try regular nail polish like Sparitual Nail Lacquer in Love is in the Air ($12.00)]. For the accent nails, use Mineral Fusion Nail Polish in Meadow ($7.99). I made the first line of dots down the center of the nail bed and then placed the remaining dots accordingly. To finish, I sealed in the design with a topcoat, and voilà! 

EBONY: What is the best way for women to transition from acrylic nails to their natural nails?

CC: The transition to natural nails can be made more bearable with the use no-chip gel polishes. The gel polishes tend to add a layer of protection, allowing the nails to feel stronger as they grow out. Additionally, gels have the finished and shiny look of a fresh manicure for a long, extended period of time. It is a definite advantage to have a professional who cares about the health of your nail while making this transition. Improper removal of no-chip gel polishes can be damaging to the nail layers and the nail bed.

EBONY: What manicure techniques do you apply to women with short nail beds?

CC: I try to find an appropriate shape for the nail tip and keep their cuticles hydrated. Pushing back the cuticles slightly can also give the appearance of a longer nail bed.

—Minajiah Scott