Short nails are often overlooked for their longer counterparts with intricate designs and sparkling crystals., but who says short nails can’t rock trendy nail art, too? In fact, short nails look just as good with nail art and they’re way more functional than long nails.
Once you switch to short nails, it’s hard to go back to the long ones — so, consider this your sign to opt for a short manicure. Keep reading to see the 30 best nail colors and nail art ideas that give short nails a run for their money From metallic French tips to milky nails and more.
1. Geometric Nails
Looking for nail art that feels modern and fresh? Start with a neutral background and paint shapes onto short nails in different vibrant colors to pack a punch. The results rival modern art and pair color and design in the most wearable way.
2. Marble Nails
With a look that is swirled to perfection, marbled nails have been making the rounds on social media and we’re swooning. Marble nails look great with bright shades as the mix with white creates a gorgeous pastel wash of colors. So, next time you’re thinking about a light pink manicure, switch it up and go for marbled pink short nails.
3. Rainbow NailsNo better way to celebrate Pride than to use your nails as a canvas to share a message for equality. Feel good about your rainbow nails every time you look down to see the symbolic wash of bright hues.
4. Galaxy Nails
Galaxy nails have dazzled our social media feeds for so long, you can’t help but admire their out-of-this-world look. Take your love a step further and achieve galaxy nails at home — with a simple sky colored base, stars and glitter, it’s easy to customize this viral design for short nails.
Think of cloud nails as a daytime upgrade for galaxy nails. Opting for a blue base color and adding fluffy clouds to your short nails offers a whimsical design that feels light and dreamy.
6. Stacked French Tips
Why opt for French tips in one color when you could have two? Stacked French tip nails are a chic and playful way to add a twist to this timeless nail look. Try using a bright color on the tip and a contrasting shade above it to add a bit of edge to your short nails.
7. Metallic French Tips
Ready to go against the grain? Metallic French tips are perfect for those looking to make a statement. A nice change of pace from the classic pink and white style, a metallic French mani includes trendsetting shimmer or glitter for an edgy look that won’t go unnoticed.
8. French Tips With Half Moon
Upgrade your French tip manicure with a half moon design at the base of your nails. This design is sure to highlight your short and sweet nails while creating wearable nail art that still looks fresh as it grows out.
9. Smiley Faces
Adding smiley faces to your manicure is a great way to lighten the mood. Go for all over smiley faces or choose a few as an accent to add a playful vibe. Regardless, you won’t be able to help but smile when you look down at your trendy, short manicure.
10. Two-Tone Nails
Can’t pick a color? Two-tone nails just may be the nail design for you. This trend flaunts two shades worn side-by-side for just the right amount of contrast. Go for two variations of the same color like light blue and dark blue for a wearable dose of short nail-friendly art.
11. Floral Nails
We won’t say florals for spring are groundbreaking, but you can’t deny how pretty flowers are on short nails. From sunflowers to intricate rose detailing, this nail design leaves room to bloom with creativity.
12. Metallic Zebra Print
Animal print nails are here to stay and we’re making a case for zebra print — take that a step further and make it metallic zebra print. Adding a metallic or shimmery polish to your zebra print will create a light catching shimmer that looks chic for any occasion.
13. White Nails
There’s a lot to be said about the classic white manicure. It’s neutral, it pops on all skin tones and it makes for a super-flattering look on short nails. The bonus — it makes the color picking process a breeze.
14. Neon Nails
Spoiler alert — neon nails always hit. Sometimes you wanna go for something bold and short, neon nails are just the way to make that statement. Pick one shade of neon for a monochromatic look or wear a different shade of neon on each nail for a vibrant look you can’t help but admire.
15. Black And White Nails
For short nail colors that are simplistic and stylish, you can’t go wrong with a classic black and white combo. This color mashup features a black base with white art, or vice versa. The bold contrast is a great canvas for highlighting your nail art.
16. Pearl-Embellished Nails
We’ve seen pearls take over the hair world, so it should come as no surprise that it’s trending on nails. Equal parts sophisticated and luxurious, a pearl-embellished short manicure is an excellent pick for days when you’re looking to embrace your glamorous side. Lucky for you, this luxurious manicure is pretty easy to achieve — all you need to do is stick pearls on your nails with a little nail glue to get the look.
17. Ombré Nails
Ombré nails are always a win but we have a new take in mind. Typically, ombré nails feature a wash of transitioning colors from light to dark on each nail. Instead, pick a color and choose five shades ranging from light to dark and paint each nail accordingly. The end result — an updated version of ombré nails that look great on a short canvas.
Swirls are gracing social media manicures at every twist and turn and we can’t complain. This gorgeous design is so simple yet looks so good in any color and especially on short nails. We can’t help but think about how good this whimsical design would look for wedding nails.
19. Snake Print
Snake print easily proves that nail art that looks good on long gel or acrylic nails can look just as good on short nails. Typically achieved with two colors, snake print nails resemble a geometric print, similar to checkerboard. Pick two complementary colors for a more subtle look or go for a bold contrast and pick two contrasting hues.
20. Mix and Match Designs
Many nail art lovers are electing to upgrade their short manicure with indie nails, which features a different design on each nail. Think different textures, colors and prints that all work together to complement each other for swoon-worthy end results. It’s a great way to express yourself with a custom manicure no one else will have.
Hearts are a go-to for Valentine’s Day but their versatility makes them worthy for any time of year. To wear hearts after the day of love, try them in shades of blue, purple and green to create the perfect accent on any short manicure.
22. Colorful French Tips
Opt for a fresh, fun take on the classics and rock a colorful French tip manicure. It’s equal parts polished and fun, and a great way to experiment with color on short nails. From red French tips to rainbow French tips — they’re all effortlessly cool and you’ll always get compliments.
23. Geometric Glitter
Making the case that glitter does in fact make everything look better, We’re loving a geometric glitter design on a neutral base for something subtle and sparkly. This design makes glitter on short nails totally wearable for day time and it’s a great choice if you’re looking to spruce up your nails for a special occasion.
24. Milky Nails
Milky nails play a fundamental role in the clean girl aesthetic that’s making the rounds on social media. Basically, a light white or pinky hue gives your nails a clean and manicured look fit for any occasion. While this trend seems simple, it’s easy to get hooked because whether your nails are new or two weeks old, the milky hue keeps them looking fresh and brand new.
With a sweet nod to Y2K trends, cherries are so fun and playful on nails. Whether you add them to every nail or as a simple accent, this aesthetically pleasing fruit is just the thing to sweeten up your short manicure.
26. French Outline
Meet French tip nails’ shy, younger sister — the French outline. Instead of a normal French tip, an outline is a subtle way to get the look with a fresh, modern take. Go with classic white or choose a pop of color to refresh the whole look.
Contrary to belief, rhinestones are not reserved for long nails and they do a great job of adding bold sparkle and 3D texture to short nails. If you want something bold and glamorous, grab some rhinestones and your nail glue. Rock them day or night for an eye-catching manicure that shows off some personality.
It’s hard not to fall in love with chrome nails the second you lay your eyes on them. This high shine, eye-catching finish rivals glitter but appears smooth and metallic. Whether you dress every nail in chrome or use it to create a design, be prepared to collect compliments.
Think of strawberries in the same way you think of cherries — both are quirky, aesthetically pleasing fruits that make a great addition to your manicure. Add them to every nail or as an adorable accent to add some oomph to your short, summer manicure.
30. Different Colors On Each Hand
It’s easy to be indecisive when it comes to nail color because the choices are plentiful. If you’re stuck between a couple of shades, don’t feel like the color of your nails have to match. Choose complementing shades and do a different color on each hand. It’s a simple way to upgrade your short nails and it doesn’t require any extra time in the chair.
Edited by: Reece Andavolgyi, Photo credit: Mari Tee, @nailrmoon, Design by: Crystal Simone
Discover more tips & tricks