Short Nail Designs That Prove You Don’t Need Length to Have Fun

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Getty Images / Design: Jo Imperio

Short nails are neat and practical and are one of the biggest nail trends in 2022, but they don’t really help nail art. Fingernails always provide a small canvas, and without expansion and significant natural growth, space is even more limited. Some nail art ideas can’t be done with a well-arranged nail plate.

Still, you don’t have to live a plain life just because you’re focused on shortening your nails. The internet has an infinite number of short nail designs that you can try and use as a reference when you go to the salon. If you don’t have much length to work with, here are some nail designs that are great for short nails. (Related: Winter nail design that can be completely managed at home)

Two-tone French manicure

French manicure features a sliver with a small accent and is suitable for short nails. To get the classic multicolor update above, follow these steps from Le Mini Macaron co-founder and CEO Christina Kao.

  1. Prepare and shape your nails as needed.

  2. Apply a light pink polish twice and let it dry (or cure if you are using a gel polish).

  3. Soak a Le Mini Macaron Liner Nail Art Brush (Buy It, $ 13, asos.com) or a similar detail brush in a hot pink polish. Draw two diagonal lines at the tip of each nail and fill the gap in the center of the tip of each nail to draw a curve. If using gel polish, allow it to dry or cure.

  4. Apply a top coat and dry or cure if gel polish is used. (Related: Olive and June topcoats have transformed my home mani game)

Glitter overview

Even if the nails are very short, there is plenty of space for each nail to add a fine contour. As shown above, you can use a clear coat accented with black polish and glitter, or try the technique in two contrasting matte shades. According to Shelena Robinson, Global Education Manager at OPI, once you’ve made your choice, we’ll show you how to achieve a short nail design.

  1. Prepare and shape your nails as needed.

  2. Apply the base coat and let it dry.

  3. Soak a detail brush (Buy It, $ 4 for three, amazon.com) in a black nail polish. Draw a straight line on the side of each nail to outline the nail. Alternately create thin lines with each finger across the tip of the cuticle or nail. Apply a second coat if necessary. Let it dry.

  4. Soak a clean detail brush in a glitter polish and follow each black line. Let it dry.

  5. If necessary, use a detail brush soaked in nail polish remover to clean the lines.

  6. Apply a top coat and let it dry.

Side french manicure

If you’re not inspired by regular French nail polish, consider flipping the design so that the color flows to the sides of each nail instead of the tip. Throwing unexpected color combinations such as red and black can have really eye-catching results. Read on to find out how Pear Nova Studio nail technician Melinda Carrillo created the look above.

  1. Prepare and shape your nails as needed.

  2. Apply the base coat and let it dry (or cure if you are using a gel polish).

  3. Apply 1 coat of light pink polish and let dry or cure.

  4. Soak the detail brush in a red shade such as Pear Nova Truth Oar Dare Gel Lacquer (Buy It, $ 21, pearnova.com) to create a thin moon-like shape on the sides of each nail. Let it dry or cure.

  5. Soak the dot tool (Buy It, $ 5, $ 5, amazon.com) in black polish and carefully add thin lines across the red stripes to create an abstract design. Let it dry or cure.

  6. Apply a top coat and let it dry or cure. (By the way, you can also use these dot tools to copy Sydney Sweeney’s cute spring manicure.)

Foil tips

Foil is an underrated nail enhancement option. “You can apply [foil] Jennifer Bell, Senior Marketing Manager at Bellacures Salon, said: Paint without the load of skill. This appearance is best achieved by using gel polish. “

  1. Prepare and shape your nails as needed.

  2. Apply a base coat and let it dry or cure if you are using a gel polish.

  3. Apply two nude nail polishes such as OPIPut It In Neutral (Buy It, $ 11, amazon.com) in the photo above. Dry or cure after each coat.

  4. Cut about 1 square inch from a roll of rainbow foil (Buy It, $ 10, amazon.com).

  5. Apply nail foil glue (Buy It, $ 7, amazon.com) to the area where you want the foil to appear. Immediately press the foil against the glue and remove it from your nails. You can push it down as a stiff piece or pull it quickly and remove it several times to achieve the look above.

  6. Continue this process on all nails and cure or dry if gel polish is used.

  7. Apply a top coat and let it cure or dry.

Mix and match

Can’t choose between solid color, French nail polish or swirl? Put all three together with this take of mismatched nail art. Whether you use two shades of the same color as shown above or determine complementary colors, the end result is visually appealing. According to Kao, here’s how to get rid of this nail design for short nails:

  1. Prepare and shape your nails as needed.

  2. Apply a base coat and dry or cure if gel polish is used.

  3. Immerse the detail brush in a bright nail polish shade and line up the tips of your index fingers to create a French nail polish design. If using gel polish, allow it to dry or cure. Repeat with the other index finger.

  4. Use a detail brush and light polish to draw a curve along one side of the ring fingernail. Please fill in the shape. Repeat with a dark color on the other side of the nail. Repeat with another ring finger to dry or cure.

  5. Apply the remaining fingers twice, alternating light and dark. If using gel polish, cure between coats.

  6. Remove mistakes with a detail brush soaked in acetone.

  7. Apply a top coat and let it dry or cure.

Checkers nail art

Checkered nail art like the design above can be reduced to reduce the length of the nails. The important thing is to use a 7 mm long detail brush. This gives you more control when drawing small squares, says Robinson. (A 9 mm brush can cover a wider area faster, which is sufficient if you have long nails.) Below, Robinson’s tips for achieving this are incorporated into a cute, short nail design. increase.

  1. Prepare and shape your nails as needed.

  2. Apply the base coat and let it dry.

  3. Drop a drop of pink polish such as OPI All Your Dreams in Vending Machines (Buy It, $ 11, ulta.com) on a pallet or aluminum foil. Details Drag the brush through the lacquer from the base to the tip, rotate the brush and repeat 2-3 times to evenly cover all the brush bristles. Draw two lines to create a grid pattern on your nails.

  4. To create a checkered design, fill each nail with two diagonal squares. Dry and repeat.

  5. Apply a top coat and let it dry.

Jewel accent

A nail sticker is included and a jeweled version can be applied to complement the glittering stack of the ring. You can stick a sticker on your favorite nail color, use French nail polish as above, or choose a clear coat underneath. According to Kao, the best action plan for the success of this short nail design is: (Related: 2022 nail trends that you want to bookmark to show to nail technicians)

  1. Prepare and shape your nails as needed.

  2. Apply the base coat and let it dry (or cure if you are using a gel polish).

  3. Soak a Lumini Macaron Liner Nail Art Brush or similar detail brush in a white polish. Draw two diagonal lines at the tip of each nail and fill the gap in the center of the tip of each nail to draw a curve. If using gel polish, allow it to dry or cure.

  4. Stick 3-4 Jewel Nail Stickers from Le Mini Macaron Nail Play! Nail art set with tweezers (Buy It, $ 18, leminimacaron.com).

  5. Apply a top coat and dry or cure if gel polish is used.

Heart accent

If you’re looking for a short and simple nail design, consider scribbling a heart on some nails. All you need to copy the above design is the selected two colors, a detail brush, and a stable hand. According to Kao, this is exactly the way to get it done. (Related: Valentine’s Day nail design that will be hard this year)

  1. Prepare and shape your nails as needed.

  2. Paint on two coats in shades of pale pink. If using gel polish, cure or let it dry for 30 seconds between coats.

  3. Soak a Lumini Macaron Liner Nail Art Brush or similar detail brush in a dark pink nail polish. Outline, fill the two mini hearts, and cure if using gel polish. Repeat every other one.

  4. Apply a top coat and let it dry.

Skittles manicure

It’s not a short nail design in itself, but skittles manicure, that is, using different colors for all fingers, is more dynamic than using the same color entirely. In addition, skittles mani can be achieved even if the claws are bitten quickly. “We can see that this trend is changing more subtly this spring,” says Bell. “Instead of reaching for a bright pink mix, you’ll find lots of neutral, soft, subtle skittles. Think of olive green, gray blue, or nudity.”

  1. Prepare and shape your nails as needed.

  2. Apply the base coat and let it dry.

  3. Apply nail color twice to each nail and switch to a new color for each nail. A third coat may be required for lighter shades. Let it dry.

  4. Apply a top coat and let it dry.

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