Nail Art Inspiration: Discover Top Nail Art Trends & Influencers

Nail art has exploded in popularity in recent years as a creative way to express yourself through your nails. Once viewed as an extravagance, nail art has now become a mainstream trend embraced by people of all ages and genders. The nail industry as a whole was valued at over $9 billion globally in 2020, with nail art services making up a significant portion of salon revenue (Source). Social media has played a big role in the rise of nail art, allowing enthusiasts to get inspiration from nail artists around the world and share their own unique designs. From minimalist nude nails to bright neon colors and wild 3D designs, there are endless possibilities when it comes to nail art. This guide will explore some of the hottest nail art trends, influential nail artists, tips and tricks for DIY nail art, and how to take care of your nail art masterpieces.

Top Nail Art Trends

Nail art trends are constantly evolving, with new styles and techniques emerging each season. Some of the most popular nail art trends for 2021 include:

Minimalist Nails

Minimalist nail designs focus on simple, clean lines and muted tones. These understated manicures are chic and elegant. Popular minimalist nail looks include white or nude nails, glossy solid colors, and subtle stripes or geometric shapes (Harper’s Bazaar).

Ombre Nails

The ombre effect remains a top nail trend, with graduated shades blended from dark to light. Ombre designs are eye-catching on solid nail colors or French manicures. Popular ombre shades include pink, purple, blue, and peach (Harper’s Bazaar).

Chrome Nails

Mirrored chrome nails are futuristic and edgy. This trend involves painting nails with silver, gold, rose gold or other metallic chrome powders for a reflective, holographic effect.

Negative Space Nails

Negative space manicures focus on creative use of bare nail, with bold blocks of color contrasting empty space. These graphic designs are eye-catching.

Floral Nails

Floral motifs remain perennially popular for nail art. Blooms like roses, daisies, and cherry blossoms are classic choices. Florals lend a feminine, romantic vibe to nails.

Nail Art Techniques

There are many different nail art techniques that allow you to get creative with your manicure. Here are some of the most popular techniques for stunning nail designs:


Stamping is done using special plates etched with patterns and designs. You apply polish to the plate, then use a rubber stamper to transfer the design onto your nails. Stamping allows you to quickly apply intricate designs like floral patterns or geometrics (Source).

Hydro Dipping

Also called water marbling, this technique involves dipping your nails into a bowl of water with polish floating on top. As you dip, the polish spreads out and swirls around your nail. The result is a cool marbled or tie-dye look. It takes some practice but the effect is mesmerizing (Source).

Striping Tape

Striping tape allows you to create straight lines and geometric patterns. Simply apply polish, place tape where desired, then apply another layer of polish. Peel off the tape to reveal perfect stripes or shapes. Mix and match colors for bold, graphic designs.


Gel polish is commonly used for nail art as it dries quickly under UV lamps and lasts 2-3 weeks without chipping. Gel paints and pigments allow you to create durable, vivid designs that really pop.

Freehand Drawing

With a steady hand and some practice, you can paint freehand designs right onto your nails. Dotting tools, striping brushes, and fine-tipped art brushes give you precision for painting intricate designs, calligraphy, illustrations or abstract art.

Nail Art Tools

Having the right nail art tools can make all the difference in creating stunning nail designs. Some essential supplies for any nail art kit include:

Dotting tools allow you to make perfect dots and other shapes on your nails. They come in different sizes, so you can create fine details or larger accents. Using dotting tools takes practice, but they open up many creative possibilities for nail art.

Striping tape provides perfect, straight lines and geometric shapes. Just stick it on your nails and paint over it. Peel it off to reveal crisp edges. Striping tape comes in different widths and patterns.

Investing in quality nail art brushes enables you to paint intricate designs and details. Look for brushes with fine tips and sturdy bristles. Brushes specially designed for nail art can create strokes thinner than a single hair.

Nail stamping plates make it easy to transfer elaborate designs onto your nails. Just apply polish to the plate, scrape off excess, and press your nail onto the design. The pattern instantly transfers for perfect, symmetrical nail art.

Nail Shapes

When it comes to nail art, the shape of your nails is an important factor to consider. The most popular nail shapes for creative designs and visually striking looks include:


Square nails are exactly what they sound like – nails with straight, 90-degree angles at the tips. This classic shape works well for nail art because the broad nail beds provide ample space for designs. Square nails are one of the most popular shapes for creative manicures.


Almond-shaped nails are oval nails that come to a subtle point at the tip. The tapered shape is flattering on most nail beds. Almond nails are considered one of the most versatile nail shapes for nail art since the point leaves plenty of room for details while still looking clean and elegant.


Oval nails are rounded at the tips with curved side edges. They are longer than round nails but without an obvious point. The soft oval shape allows for small, delicate designs across the entire nail.


Stiletto nails are long nails that come to a dramatic point. The severe taper creates a striking, edgy look perfect for bold nail art. However, the extreme point makes stiletto nails impractical for daily wear.


Round nails have a curved, blunt tip that follows the natural shape of the finger. This classic look frames the cuticle area beautifully. However, the limited nail bed can restrict bigger nail art designs.

Nail Art Influencers

Nail art has exploded in popularity on Instagram and other social media platforms. Skilled nail artists are gaining huge followings by showing off their impressive designs. Here are some of the top nail art influencers and their signature styles:

Karen Gutierrez (Top 20 Nail Influencers on Instagram) is known for her intricate 3D designs and use of rhinestones and glitter on long, stylized nails. She has over 800,000 Instagram followers.

Alicia Torello (9 Nail Art Influencers That You Need To Be Following) does amazing nail landscapes featuring scenic vistas, forests, beaches and more using nude tones and neutral colors.

Britney Tokyo (Top 100 Nail Art Influencers in 2023) has a bright, funky style often using neon colors, pastels, and geometric patterns in her designs which have attracted over 1 million Instagram fans.

Stephanie Stone (Top 100 Nail Art Influencers in 2023) focuses on glittery, holographic nail looks that shift colors under light. She has over 550,000 Instagram followers captivated by her shimmery nail creations.

Lexi Martone (Top 100 Nail Art Influencers in 2023) is known for her popular tapestry nail art featuring patterns, characters from TV shows, and pop culture icons painted in minute detail.

Nail Art Inspiration

Nail art has come a long way and continues to evolve into even more creative and artistic designs. From simple patterns to elaborate 3D art, the possibilities are endless. To spark inspiration for your next manicure, here are some beautiful examples of nail art ideas:

Creative nail art incorporates unique colors, textures, and shapes to make a statement. Some design ideas include:

nail art ideas incorporate unique colors and shapes for creative designs

  • Watercolor or ombre backgrounds
  • Glitter or foil accents
  • Geometric shapes and lines
  • Floral and nature motifs
  • Quirky characters and doodles

Nail art can also depict sceneries, objects, and abstract concepts. Some examples include:

  • Landscapes with mountains, sunsets, beaches
  • Food, drinks, and desserts
  • Holiday themes
  • Pop culture and fandom references

Even short nails have lots of potential for mini works of art. From polka dots and stripes, to little drawings or gemstones, small canvases allow for precise details.

For some beautiful nail art inspiration, browse these photo galleries:
Creative Nail Art Designs,
Nail Art Design Images

With a little practice and creativity, your nails can become a fun canvas for self-expression and wearable art.

DIY Nail Art Tips

Doing nail art at home can seem daunting for beginners, but there are plenty of simple techniques and tools to try. Focusing on easy designs is the key to DIY nail art success.

Dotting tools are a beginner-friendly way to create fun polka dot and abstract designs. These tools have different sized metal balls on the tips that can create perfect little dots of polish ( Start with single colors or experiment with layering dots. Cleanup is easy with a toothpick.

Sponging gradient colors onto nails is another easy technique. Simply dab different colors lightly onto a makeup sponge, then dab onto the nail from cuticle to tip. This creates a faded ombre look that’s very on trend.

Striping tape allows you to paint clean stripes or geometric patterns. Apply striping tape where desired, paint over it, let dry, then remove to reveal perfect lines. Start with single color stripes or experiment with patterns.

Simple shapes like triangles, lines, and dots are perfect nail art for beginners without tools. Use a toothpick for dots, the brush for lines, and tape for other shapes. Let your creativity run wild!

Caring for Nail Art

Once you’ve spent time and money getting your nail art done, you’ll want it to last as long as possible. Here are some tips for extending the life of your nail designs:

Apply a top coat like Seche Vite or Essie Gel Couture top coat to seal and protect intricate nail art. The top coat creates a barrier against chips and scratches. Reapply the top coat every 2-3 days.

Use nail glue like UGLY Duckling Special FX Nail Glue around the tips of 3D designs to keep embellishments stuck on longer Be careful not to get glue on the surrounding skin.

When removing nail art, use an acetone-free nail polish remover and avoid rubbing too hard, which can damage the nail bed. Gently roll soaked cotton pads over nails to dissolve polish and lift off designs smoothly.


We’ve covered so many exciting nail art trends, techniques, tools, and influencers. From minimalist nude nails to maximalist chrome nails, nail art allows you to express your creativity. Advanced nail art requires specialized tools and skills, but simple designs can be achieved at home following DIY tips.

Nail art will continue to evolve as trends come and go. New products like gel extensions allow for more intricate designs. Expect to see innovations in 3D art, foil, flames, and hand-painted designs. Social media enables rapid sharing of trending looks.

The most important thing is finding a style that makes you feel confident and beautiful. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Nail art is temporary, so you can easily try new looks. Follow nail artists for constant inspiration. Most of all, have fun expressing yourself through your nails!

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