Best nail art ideas for your next manicure appointment

With plenty of nail art ideas to choose from, these nail design ideas are ready to be pinned to your Pinterest Nail art is a great way to not ...

5 min read

With plenty of nail art ideas to choose from, these nail design ideas are ready to be pinned to your Pinterest

Nail art is a great way to not just express yourself but also showcase your creativity. Over the last several years, nail design ideas have gained popularity across all age groups of women and men. You need not be working in a fashion magazine or the beauty industry to discover different types of nail art on people around you.

Whether you are travelling in a crowded local train or metro, walking past the water cooler, or are out at lunch with a business associate, you are likely to find a striking nail art design every so often.

More people are embracing nail art because few things compare to the joy that comes with a dash of colour on a gloomy Monday morning. Sure, a manicure works to uplift your mood. But nail art designs done right really take it to a whole different level, don’t they?

Whether you prefer variations on classic French tips or some abstract art, there are plenty of nail art ideas to choose from.

What are the different types of nail art techniques?

Ready to go down the rabbit hole? Here are some of the different types of nail art techniques

Painting with brushes

These are the most versatile and common nail art tools. Brushes with synthetic bristles are used to create intricate designs as per your choice. Angled, flat, oval, feathering, detailing, and other types of brushes are used to great effect to bring different types of nail art ideas to life.



This technique is typically used to get a gradient effect on nails but can be used for other nail design ideas as well. Depending on the type of design and the final effect you desire, the nail art technician will use either an art, paint, or makeup sponge.

The first step is the application of a base coat. The colour you select is key, as it can either make the sponging effect pop or appear muted. Next, nail paint is applied onto a sponge and then transferred onto the nail to bring alive the nail art ideas you have in mind. Different transfer techniques will create different patterns.


Stamping is a nail art technique used to place an image/pattern onto an already manicured nail for embellishment. It requires three tools: stamping plates with different etched designs, a scraper, and a rubber- or silicone-tipped stamper.

A thick layer of special nail paint is applied to the design etched on the stamping plate. Next, a scraper is dragged across the stamping plate to get rid of any excess nail paint. This way, the only nail paint that is left behind is in the design. 

Then, a stamper is rolled on the stamping plate to pick up the design, which is pressed on the nail, transferring the design.

Airbrush nail art

Airbrush nail art

In this nail art technique, an airbrush machine is used to spray paint on nails. It is usually combined with paper, plastic or self-adhesive stencils to create different designs.

A base coat is applied on the nail and, once it is completely dry, a stencil is placed on top. The airbrush machine is then used to spray nail paint on the nail.

Next, the stencil is gently removed from the nail to reveal the design. Nail paint remover is used to remove any excess that has transferred onto the skin. A top coat is applied to seal the design.

Nail art ideas for your next manicure session

There are plenty of nail art ideas to choose from. But here are some of the most popular ones:

Abstract nails

It’s the kind of nail art idea that would reveal your quirky personality. It screams edgy without it looking like you’re screaming for help.

Abstract nails usually involve drawing different variations of a pattern on each nail, giving you a unique look. 

Start by deciding whether you want geometric, swirls, organic forms, or colour-blocking patterns.

The nail artist will use nail brushes of varied widths to make the patterns in the colours of your choice.

If different designs for different nails are too overwhelming, you can also opt for the same design in different colours.

Ombré nails

For this technique, the nail artist will use a wedge-shaped makeup sponge along with two or three nail paints of your choice.

Remember to choose colours that blend seamlessly to create the colour gradient for your nail art design.

The flat edge of the sponge is cut so that it fits the width of your nail. The nail artist will then brush the colours across the sponge in straight lines in a gradient formation.

The sponge is pressed gently onto your nail. This is done a few times to achieve the desired effect. Lastly, a layer of top coat is applied to seal the design.

This nail art idea is perfect for an afternoon out as well as a work presentation because while it reveals a certain sophistication, it does so without standing out.

Black and white nails

This colour combination is a classic. One of the best patterns with this combo makes use of the half-moon shape that is found at the base of your nail as a guide.

The nail artist paints one colour within the half-moon area at the base of your nail. Next, the second nail polish is painted across the rest of the nail. 

Not everyone’s nails have visible half-moon areas. If you are one of them, the round shape will be created with the help of a thin nail art brush.

This is the kind of nail art idea that’s perfect for a night out with friends or a semi-formal setup where it’s okay for your nail art to stand out without it looking like a, well, sore thumb.

Floral nails

This design requires a liner brush, a dotting tool and at least two nail paints.

Typically, the nail artist will start the petal from the outside and paint towards the centre using a brush.

Five or six petals per flower on each nail will do the trick. Remember to finish the design with a dot in the centre of the petals in a different colour and you’re set for that long day-drinking sesh with your girlfriends.

Line art nails

The beauty of this nail art idea is that it can be as simple or detailed as you choose.

First, a base colour is painted on all your nails. After the coat has dried, the nail artist will use liner brushes of various widths to create geometric or swirl patterns on your nails.

This style typically features thin lines, which make for a modern chic aesthetic making them workplace-friendly.

Pop art nails

They are also known as cartoon or comic book nails because they make for an eye-catching design.

Pop art nail designs are also very easy to create. They require nail polish in three colours: a bright, primary colour and black and white paints for highlights.

The primary colour is applied across the entire length of the nail.

Once it dries, a liner brush is used to give an outline to the nail in black.

Then, curved white lines are added on one side. This will create a highlight, 3D effect and make the colour pop. This is the kind of nail art that can be bracketed as being age-inappropriate after a certain point. But that shouldn’t stop you from revealing your inner child to the world.

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