If you're looking for nail art inspiration, look no further
While we wouldn’t say no to a Chanel black quilted caviar double flap bag, sometimes the best accessory to have is just a set of jaw-dropping nails. If you think about how often you use your hands, it seems almost impolite to not adorn them with some form of colour, bling or a fly nail art design.
There’s something to suit everyone too. From the loud and proud pop art prints to the more demure patterns that focus on silhouettes and texture rather than graphics.
And all shapes and lengths are considered – even short nails look super chic with a pop of colour.
Want your nails to look elongated? Try adding a strip of colour just down the centre.
You can play around with shapes too. These days nail artists are using gel extensions to create everything from longer nails and glass nails to legit cartoon figurines.
As the saying goes, the world is your oyster, all you need to have is the best nail polish and nail art tools to get you started and some inspiration from the best nail art designs out there.
Your nail art tools check list
Nail file – Buff away any small tears before starting and create your ideal shape.
Nail polish correcting pen – Because you don’t want to have to take off your whole design to fix a small problem.
Nail polish remover – You need one that will take off glitter. Look for an acetone base, but remember to always follow up with a nourishing oil or serum afterwards, to give back what you’ve taken away.
Nail repair serum and oil – If you want your nails to stay healthy and look pretty, you need to regularly feed them the nutrients they need.
Dotter tool – This creates the perfect round dot and comes in varied sizes, so you can mix it up.
Striper brush – Regular nail polish brushes are too thick to create intricate designs, so you need this in your kit for more delicate painting.
Striping tape – A thin metallic tape that can be used to create designs or as a type of ruler to keep lines straight.
Transfer foils – When applied over the top of nail varnish, it literally transfers to give that worn metallic finish.
Loose glitter – Because party nails aren’t party nails without glitter.
3D embellishments – From studs to actual flowers, anything goes.
Matte top coat – This will let you have double the number of shades in your kit.
Nail polish – Keep adding to your collection!
How to become a nail artist
Want to make a career out of nail art? Step forward Revlon’s new Global Nail stylist, Chelsea King, who turned her passion for nail art into a thriving career. After finding a few basic nail art tutorials online, she tried it out for herself and the rest is, as they say, history. We sat down with Chelsea to find out everything you need to know about the art of nails, whether you’re a budding nail artist or fully-fledged pro.
What sort of nail art designs should budding artists start out with?
Flowers are a good start. They can be very simple until you get the hang of it and then work to make them more intricate.
What are the easiest colour combinations to try when you’re just starting out?
Black and white is classic and always looks cool no matter what you do with the design.
What should every nail artist carry in their kit?
The basics for me are cuticle oil, topcoat, nude polish and a fun, bright feature colour. Nail buffer, cuticle nippers and a brush to clean up the sides are also great to keep in your kit.
For nail artists who are hoping to do session work for fashion week, what advice do you have for them?
Build up your social media months before. Seek out and follow key players in nail art on social media. A lot of them will post on their channels when they need help – so be sure to jump on that opportunity. Once backstage, be quick, confident and flexible whilst staying calm. And it doesn’t hurt to bring your own stool!
How can nail artists use social media to expand their audience/client base?
Utilising hashtags is a must for social media, especially Instagram. You also need to post often and constantly be aware of other trends so you can be the first to jump on any new ones. For example, the day Instagram changed its logo, I immediately created a nail look inspired by the logo. I was sure everyone would be doing it, but I was among the first. Everyone kept commenting on how fast I was to get them done.
What’s the most challenging thing about being a nail artist?
Being on set and being invisible but still helpful. You’re constantly in the way of the make-up artist and hair stylists so you need to learn how to work around them to do your job, without getting in the way of them doing theirs!
Pop art nails will catch anyone’s attention. Think bold colours and cartoon-like designs.
Why not go all out and have a different design on each nail? This pastel selection is super cute.
We love these matte teal nails with shiny tips.
If you want work-friendly nail art, try something simple like a solid base colour with a metallic stripe.
Colour themes are a fun way of playing around with different graphics that work well together.
This metallic purple mani is gorgeous, with the added detail on the ring finger adding extra sparkle.
Aztec designs look intricate, but are actually quite easy to do. Draw your plan on a piece of paper beforehand to make it easier.
Checkered designs look easy, but they’re actually quite hard to do, especially if you want them to be uniform. Use a striping brush to draw a grid first and then fill in every second square.
‘Feature’ nails are a popular way of creating something eye catching without having to go through the trouble of doing something intricate on each nail.
Take inspiration from everything around you, even fabric prints.
Sometimes simple designs with a lot of colour is all you need to create something attention grabbing.
Camouflage prints are quite easy to create, making them a great design for first timers.
Keep in mind that nail art doesn’t mean you have to paint every nail with a design.
For a uniform look with a twist, use similar colours, but play around with your design.
We love this take on the classic French mani, particularly the single frosted white nail on each hand.
If you’re a fan of black and white nails, this block stripe pattern will be right up your street.
How cute is the addition of stars to this rose gold mani?
Instagram / @hj____yhjin
This is definitely one of the prettiest examples of ombre nails we’ve ever seen.
This mani has it all: Matte, shine and glitter, making it seriously chic.
The roses swirled onto this pale peach mani are just gorgeous.
A floral print on a couple of your nails is a great effect.
Why not try having one nail loaded with jewels? Simple yet effective.
The addition of the moon and stars here is a really cute idea.
Space nails, anyone? We love the cosmic effect of this mani.