Nail art is a huge trend — but who has an hour or more to dedicate to bedazzling every digit? We scoured Pinterest for over a dozen of the cutest nail designs that you can use as a single accent nail to save time, polish, and still wow a crowd.
Class It Up
Give yourself a French mani, then take a black polish pen and draw on a classy handlebar moustache where the white tip meets the rest of the nail. If you’re really feeling fun, draw some other facial hairstyles on the other nails — horseshoe, pencil, and painter ‘staches, to name a few.
Use a base coat in a color of your choice, then add stripes of two different colors starting from the tips and working back to the halfway point of your nail to create the base of the cupcake. Use a third color to create the fluffy frosting, then end with your favorite decorations — a cherry on top, colorful sprinkles, or gems.
The Butterfly Effect
Use any color base coat on your entire nail, then paint a thin, black wing outline and dot the corners with white accents to pay homage to the North American Monarch butterfly.
Begin with a tan or nude basecoat, add a thick red stripe at the base that covers roughly 1/3 of the nail to make the hate, and add a white French tip for the beard. Finish with the white fringe detail of the hat, two beady eyes, and a pink jolly nose.
Fruit of Your Labor
With a base coat of bright red, add three green triangles at the base of the nail for the leaves, then finish with several yellow or black dots over the red to form the seeds. Also try creating a pineapple, apple, kiwi fruit, or watermelon nail!
Light as a Feather
Use a base coat of your choice (we recommend a neon), then use a black polish pen to carefully draw lines up and away from the bottom left corner of the nail. Make the lines at the base thicker and longer and gradually thin and shorten as you work your way up to create the look of a feather. If you want more razzle-dazzle, add some rhinestones to the center of the feather detail.
This is a great, edgy “night out” look that uses a black base coat and tiny metal beads for accent. Using tweezer, place them onto the wet base polish, then top with a thick clear coat to keep them in place.
Paint your pointer, middle, and pinky finger in a deep, glossy red and keep your ring finger and thumb nude. On the tip of your ring finger, use the same red to create the two bumps of the top lip and paint a single red swoop on the tip of your thumbnail for the bottom lip. Once dry, bring your thumb and ring finger together to pucker up!
Matte Vs. Gloss
Try this style in any color that has both a matte and gloss version, but don’t be afraid to switch up the colors — although we think staying monochromatic looks lovely! Paint the nail with the matte color first, then experiment with stripes, dots, chevron, French tips, or whatever design tickles your fancy.
This takes a steady hand and more than a little patience, but we have faith in you. Start with a stark white base coat and paint a thin tip royal blue, skip a thin section to leave white, and paint another thin stripe red. For the finishing touch of the anchor, we recommend using the tip of a toothpick, dipping it into some metallic gold polish, then dotting on the design.
Choose a basecoat of your choice and two to five other complementary colors. Once the base is dry, lightly dot on the other colors — alternating as you like — and overlapping. You can try filling up your entire nail, just dotting the tip, or anywhere inbetween.
We’ve seen these map nails everywhere, so here’s how to nab the look: Use a white or cream base coat, then soak your nails in alcohol for five minutes. Press your nail for a colored map and hold for 30 seconds. As soon as you peel it off, paint over your nail with a clear top coat. Also try this with scrapbook paper, your favorite book, or newspaper. How neat is that?
We definitely have to try this one. Choose a pastel base coat, and before it’s dry, dab some metallic powder just above the cuticle and blow it onto the nail. Cover it with a clear top coat once it dries and marvel at how professionally done your nails look.