On-Trend Nail Art for Adults

Fun, colorful nail art doesn't have to be just for teenagers and celebrities. We asked some of our favorite bloggers and go-to industry pros to tell all when it comes to nailing the latest trends in nail art. With just a few simple tips and tricks, we know everyone -- including your friends and your teenage daughter -- will be coming to you for style advice!

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Everything In This Slideshow

  • 1 of 13

    “Kiss Me Kate” Stripe

    Celebrity and fashion manicurist Deborah Lippmann took a style cue from Deborah Lloyd, President and Creative Director of Kate Spade New York, with this preppy and modern interpretation of the striped nail effect. "I set about complementing the poppy and graphic colors and patterns featured throughout the [Kate Spade] collection with a strikingly modern nail; a jet-black horizontal stripe popped against a crisp, white nail plate, creating its own graphic moment."

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  • 2 of 13

    Crop Top

    If the luxe look is what you’re after, try taking a tip or two from Elissa Schell, a manicurist at Paintbox nail studio in New York City. Her Crop Top design, which intentionally shows a bit of bare nail, thoughtfully incorporates a chic color scheme with negative space. “Using two colors on the nail can sometimes read too young, but incorporating negative space gives it a cleaner, more sophisticated feel. By choosing a deep, rich polish color, like a mustard yellow or hunter green, the look reads luxe."

  • 3 of 13

    Color-Block Half Moon

    Alicia Beazley, blogger at The Base Coat, created what she calls a "twist on a classic manicure," which "adds a pop of color to your work-appropriate nails." Plus, these are easy to re-create at home: Start with a neutral base color and then add a French tip guide at the base of your nail instead of at the tip. Then paint on your accent color, remove the guide, and finish with a clear topcoat.

  • 4 of 13

    The Glitterati

    Tracylee, a Sally Hansen Nail Ambassador, gives fresh edge to the classic glittered nail art effect. "Adding some glitter sparkle to your nails is a big trend this season. It's a great way for ladies of all ages to keep a sophisticated look and still have fun with nail art," Tracylee says. Match the effect on your own fingertips by painting your nails in several layers of glitter nail polish and finishing with a topcoat. The trick is to pick a high-quality polish and choose a color palette that suits your everyday style. When in doubt, a classic silver or gold metallic glitter is a sure bet. 

     

  • 5 of 13

    Abstract Painting

    Working in high fashion has afforded celebrity and editorial manicurist Jin Soon Choi a step up on the trends. Her “Abstract Painting” design, for example, feels modern and on-point, yet is simple to re-create at home. "This design also works for any color scheme, making it the perfect nail art for all age groups and occasions,” Choi says. “And best of all, any mistake you make while painting your nails becomes part of the design." (Photo: Ryubun Yamashita)

  • 6 of 13

    Layered French Tip

    As with many things in life -- especially when it comes to fashion -- less is more. Nina Werman, owner of Valley, agrees, saying, "A nude nail with a geometric or layered spin on a French manicure is chic and practical for the lifespan of your manicure, as well as a complement to anything in your closet." To bring the look to life at home, add angled blocks of color just at the tip of your nail, allow each color to fully dry in between, and top with a clear coat to achieve a glossy yet subtle finish. 

  • 7 of 13

    Touch of Texture

    You’ll never guess what Allison Beth Cooling, blogger at Quiet Lion Creations, used to achieve a tonal, textured look on her nails. After allowing her dark base coat to dry, Allison crumpled a piece of tin foil, flattened it, then used it to stamp on layers of metallic nail polish. She then cleaned up any excess on her cuticles with nail polish remover. "If you usually go for a nude or basic manicure, this will be a step out of your comfort zone -- in a good way! The slight texture provides a multidimensional look and feel," Allison says.

  • 8 of 13

    Animal Print

    "Leopard is always on trend and a perfect print to mix with other classics like plaid, denim, and leather," says Carly Hill, writer and Glitter Guide editor. Make this one your own by painting nails with a neutral-color polish, such as a nude or soft gray. Next, add metallic polka dots leaving a bit of space between each. Then dip a toothpick into black polish and apply around the polka dots to create your leopard design. Let your nails dry completely and finish with a topcoat.

  • 9 of 13

    Easy Ikat Nails

    "Ikat is one of my favorite prints for both fashion and home decor,” says The Budget Babe blogger Dianna Baros. “[The pattern] feels timeless yet on-trend." Achieve your own bright and graphic nail art with just a few calculated steps. Paint a base coat (in this case a light blue), and then paint on two or three wavy triangle shapes in an accent color, such as red. Next, add on smaller triangular shapes within the first set using a different accent color, like white. Finish by using a black nail art pen to outline the shapes and then paint on a clear topcoat to protect your work of art. 

     

     

  • 10 of 13

    Accent Nail

    Since time always is of the essence, tricky nail art might not seem doable. Happily, some tricks require just one extra coat of polish to achieve that “wow” factor. In fact, as Jamie Walker, of Ink + Adventure, explains, "Choosing a neutral color for your nails doesn't have to be boring.” She recommends a glittery topcoat on a single finger in order to, “bring in some sparkle and interest while still keeping things office-appropriate." 

  • 11 of 13

    Sassy Stripes

    In Ink + Adventure blogger Jamie Walker's experience, "stripes are always a classic, but bold colors and diagonal lines add some fun to this manicure." To complete, allow your base coat to dry and then use strips of Scotch tape to mask off diagonal lines for a second and a third color. By combining jewel tones with bright hues you can easily transition this look across all of the seasons.

  • 12 of 13

    Super-Fast Nails for Your Next Party

    Less than ten minutes until the doorbell rings? Our beauty editor shows you how to get party-ready nails in no time!

  • Next Slideshow Make Your Manicure Last

    Make Your Manicure Last

    Even the smallest chip can ruin an at-home manicure. Use these tips to help polish stay put.
    Begin Slideshow »
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