I've just found the perfect minimalist Valentine’s Day manicure—and I’m not about to gatekeep

If you’re a fan of subtle-yet-sweet nail designs, this one’s for you

Chanel Valentine's Day Manicure - a sheer nude manicure with a red heart on the thumb
(Image credit: Julia Diogo for Chanel)

When it comes to manicures, for me, timeless is always best. You’ll find me with short, red, square-tipped nails about 98.5% of the time. But when it comes to Valentine’s Day—aka the most romantic holiday of the year—it calls for some special effort to be made.

When I'm not sporting my go-to red, I tend to choose sheer nails and milky manis over more out-there chrome designs. And, when it comes to nail art—not one to completely scrap my deeply-ingrained manicure morals—any style I adopt has to feel chic, minimalist and specialist. So, when I saw that my favourite nail artist Julia Diogo was creating an exclusive Valentine’s Day manicure for Chanel, it’s safe to say my interest was well and truly piqued. 

With a sleek and classic pale pink base, beautifully offset by a simple red heart, this Valentine’s Day manicure is my idea of heaven. The simple design is both effortlessly elegant and also surprisingly easy to recreate for yourself. 

Keep scrolling to discover the top tips for creating the perfect minimalist yet chic Valentine’s Day manicure and the exact products used to create the look.

1. Prep

clean nail ready and prepped for a valentine's day mani

(Image credit: Julia Diogo for Chanel)

“Prep is essential to get a clean, perfected finish” says Diogo, “neaten up your cuticles and carefully push them back as far as they will go to give the illusion of long nails. Smooth out the surface and rough edges with a buffing tool. Finish by wiping clean.” 

2. Base

a clear base coat being applied to a nail

(Image credit: Julia Diogo for Chanel)

Next up? The base coat. Once the nails are dry, she advises applying one layer of a base coat (she used CHANEL La Base Camelia) in three light strokes as this "not only coats the nails in a protective layer but also strengthens and nourishes the nails from the camelia oil inside the formula.” 

3. Ballerina

clean, short nails with a pale pink sheer nail polish

(Image credit: Julia Diogo for Chanel)

The understated hero of the look, a pale pink provides a simple-yet-elegant base for your subtle Valentine's themed nail art. Diogo's shade of choice? "One coat of CHANEL Ballerina. This classic shade is one of my favourite sheer nudes to make you look put together.” 

4. The heart

julia painging a red heart onto the sheer pink nail base

(Image credit: Juloa Diogo for Chanel)

Now for the star of the show, the minimalist red heart. Diogo describes how to create the perfect shape, every time: “Using the lid of the nail as a pallet, I used the shade Pompier and dotting tool to apply two little dots onto the centre of the nail. Both thumbs work well but the index finger would also look good. Connect dots to form the heart using a fine liner brush.” 

5. Top coat

sheer nude manicure with a red heart on the thumb

(Image credit: Julia Diogo for Chanel)

“Once the nails have dried, apply a generous amount of topcoat and ensure that you cap the nails upon each application”.

6. The finish

When it comes to making your manicure feel luxurious, there are a few finishing touches you can add. “To complete the look and to ensure hands and nails feel soft and nourished, apply generous lashings of CHANCE Hand Cream and the CHANCE Sheer Moisture Mist.” 

So there you have it: simple and supremely chic. If you're as keen as I am to try out your own subtle-yet-chic Valentine's Day manicure shop the products below. 

Valeza Bakolli
Junior Shopping Editor

Valeza Bakolli is Marie Claire’s Junior Shopping Editor. She previously worked at BuzzFeed, where she honed her skills in all things shopping - from gift guide curation to being first on the scene to feature the latest fashion and beauty drops. She’s made it her mission to encourage people to shop mindfully and with purpose. That’s why she dedicates hours of her time every day to finding the best products online so you don’t have to - from small and sustainable businesses wherever possible, of course.