Lipstick Nails: Adding A Twist To Classic Shapes

Lipstick nails are a fun, creative nail art trend that adds a pop of color to classic nail shapes. As the name suggests, lipstick nails involve painting nails with bright, bold lipstick shades for a fun twist. The trend first emerged in the 2010s as beauty lovers sought creative ways to use their favorite lipstick colors beyond just their lips.

Lipstick nails have remained popular for their versatility and ability to make a statement. The vivid colors and glossy finish of lipstick polishes breathe new life into traditional nails. Lipstick nails allow you to match your fingertips to your lips or create an unexpected color pair. Their bold, eye-catching colors and creamy finishes make them perfect for standing out.

Choosing a Lipstick Shade

When it comes to choosing a lipstick shade for your nails, you have a few options. Some people prefer to match their nail color exactly to the shade of lipstick they’ll be wearing. This creates a cohesive, monochromatic look. For example, painting your nails a true, cherry red to match a classic red lipstick.

Others opt for more of a contrast between their lip color and nail shade. This can make for a more eye-catching manicure. Popular color combinations include a bold red or pink lipstick paired with nude nails, or a nude lipstick with a vivid purple or blue nail shade.

No matter which approach you take, it’s important to consider your skin tone when selecting a lipstick nail shade. Cool-toned skin looks best with pinky nudes and blue-based reds, while warm complexions are complemented by peachy nudes and orangey reds. If you can’t decide between two shades, hold them up to your face and choose the one that makes your complexion glow.

Some of the most popular lipstick nail colors include true reds, pinky nudes, classic corals, and deep plums or wines. Vampy dark shades like black, dark purple, and forest green are also having a major moment. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with your nail colors!

Short Nails

Short nails, like almond, round, and squoval shapes, are perfect for creating a classic lipstick nail look. The shorter length allows you to get very precise with the application and shaping of the “lipstick” tip.

Almond nails are a timeless shape that pairs beautifully with a lipstick tip. The tapered point elongates the fingers and lets you accentuate the lipstick shape. For a bold look, paint the almond base in a deep red and fade it into a lighter pink on the tip.

Round nails are a cute, feminine choice for lipstick nails. Keeping the round base sheer or neutral allows the lipstick shade to really pop. For added dimension, paint an ombre lipstick fade starting darker at the cuticle and blending to a lighter pink towards the tip.

Squoval nails have a slightly squared off edge that complements the straight edge of the lipstick shape. Try a classic red lipstick tip on a short white squoval base. Or do a french squoval base with a coordinating pink lipstick tip for a playful look.

Long Nails

Long nails allow for more creativity and bold lipstick shades when doing lipstick nails. Three popular long nail shapes that look great with lipstick designs are:


long stiletto nails suit bold lipstick colors

The stiletto nail shape is long and pointy, resembling the shape of a stiletto heel shoe. This elegant and edgy shape works well with deep shades like red, burgundy and black (Source). Dark colors on the pointy tip ombre into lighter colors towards the cuticle for an eye-catching look.


The coffin or ballerina nail shape is a square nail with a rounded top, giving it a classy, elongated look. Matte textures and velvety deep shades like purple, navy and maroon suit the sophisticated coffin shape (Source). Shades can be alternated on each nail for diversity.


A squoval shape is a square oval hybrid that combines the stability of a square nail with an oval’s soft curves. This shape allows the entire nail to be painted creatively, well-suited for full lipstick art and ombre fades from dark to light pinks.

Accent Nails

One popular way to wear lipstick nails is by using them as an accent on one or two nails, often the thumb, ring finger, or pinky. This allows you to add a pop of color without it being overly bold. Some ideas for accent nails include:

For the thumb, do a classic red lipstick shade just on that one nail. This draws attention to that finger in a subtle yet eye-catching way. The classic color paired with the single accent nail gives a stylish and retro vibe (Source:

On the ring finger, try a deep wine hue. Darker colors look especially striking on their own against a neutral backdrop on the other nails. This creates a luxe accent that feels romantic and glamorous (Source:

For the pinky, go for a bright statement shade like fuchsia, coral, or cobalt blue. The unexpected pop makes this a fun and playful accent. Keep the rest of the nails bare or with minimal, sheer polish to let this one stand out (Source:

Full Hand

Doing a full hand of lipstick nails allows you to play with gradients, color blocking, and different shades across all 10 fingers. You can start with a solid color on your pinky and ring fingers, then slowly graduate to a darker shade on the middle and pointer fingers before going bold on the accent thumb.

Some ideas for full hand looks include:

  • A warm peach to deep red ombre
  • A pastel pink on the pinky graduating to vampy dark plum on the thumb
  • A retro bright cherry red on half the hand and classic red on the other

When doing a full hand, it’s best to stick to the tips only for a chic, French manicure-inspired style. Going full coverage on every nail can look bulky. Keeping it to just the tips helps elongate the fingers and lets you play with multiple colors and shapes.

Be sure to think about how the colors will complement your skin tone. Warm peaches and corals tend to flatter warm complexions, while cool pinks and berries work best on cooler skin. Don’t be afraid to experiment with both warm and cool shades on one hand for added drama.

Matte vs Glossy

Matte and glossy lipstick nails each have their pros and cons. Matte lipstick nails have a flat, velvety finish that is non-shiny and opaque. The matte texture helps conceal any imperfections in the nail and can make nails look smoother. However, matte polishes chip more easily and require more touch-ups. They may also emphasize dryness or peeling on the nail.[1]

Glossy lipstick nails have a shiny, wet look that makes nails appear glossier and fuller. The high-shine finish is eye-catching. However, glossy polishes show imperfections more easily. They also tend to smudge more quickly and fade faster than matte polishes, requiring more frequent touch-ups. Glossy polishes accentuate ridges or bumps on the nails.[2]

When choosing between matte and glossy lipstick nails, consider your nail condition, desired look, and maintenance level. Matte works well for a velvety finish that conceals flaws, while glossy offers a bold wet look. Glossy requires more upkeep but provides serious shine.

Art and Embellishments

Adding fun touches like glitter, rhinestones and striping tape can take your lipstick nails from classic to showstopping. These accents allow you to get creative and make a bold splash with your manicure.


A touch of glitter can give your nails a festive, eye-catching look. Choose a glitter shade that complements your lipstick color. Apply it as an overall topcoat or just on the tips for a fun ombré effect. Glitter nail polish adds sparkle and makes your nails pop.


Mini rhinestones are a great way to accent your lipstick nails with some bling. Place a few rhinestones at the base of each nail for a subtle touch. Or, create designs like hearts, dots or stripes with rhinestones. Use a topcoat like clear glue to affix them securely.

Striping Tape

Striping tape allows you to get creative with patterns on your lipstick nails. Use it to make diagonal stripes, chevron designs or color block patterns. Apply the tape over the base color, then paint on your lipstick shade. Peel off the tape to reveal a crisply defined design.


Properly maintaining your lipstick nails is crucial for keeping them looking fresh and vibrant. Here are some tips:

Touch ups will be needed as the nail polish starts to chip or fade. Use the original polishes to fill in any spots and redo the design. Touch ups can prolong the manicure by a week or more. Be gentle when touching up to avoid damaging the nails or cuticles (source).

For removal, use a gentle nail polish remover and cotton balls to take off the color without hurting the nails. Avoid peeling or scratching off the polish. Then, apply cuticle oil to hydrate the nails and cuticles after removing the polish (source).

To protect the manicure, apply a quality top coat over the completed design to seal in the color and add shine. Reapply the top coat every couple of days. Also use hand cream regularly to moisturize the skin and cuticles, preventing cracking around the nails.


Adding color and a lipstick flick is a fun new twist on classic nail shapes that breathes new life into any manicure. We covered the range of options – from choosing the perfect lipstick shade to trying different shapes on both short and long nails. You can go subtle with a sheer pink gloss on an accent nail or make a bold statement with a matte red pout on all ten fingertips. Whichever look you choose, lipstick nails let you express your creativity and personality through your manicure, whether you’re channeling your inner Marilyn Monroe or feeling flirty and fun.

As Taylor Swift says in her song The Man, “I’d be complex, I’d be cool, They’d say I played the field before I found someone to commit to.” Lipstick nails definitely make a statement about being confident, complex, and cool. So don’t be afraid to commit and take risks with this trend – after all, your nail art is temporary and you can quickly switch it up at your next appointment. The possibilities are endless when you add a pop of lip to your tips!

In the wise words of Coco Chanel – “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” Lipstick nails are a fresh take that allows you to put your own stamp on classic shapes. So make a bold beauty statement and liven up your look with this must-try trend!

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