I have always been impressed by people who can sport extremely long nails on a regular basis. However, my lifestyle means that short nails are much more practical and less prone to breaking. But short nails don’t mean boring nails! I am sharing with you three easy to do nail designs for short nails.

Before you start

If you want your manicure to shine, you need to take good care of your nails. If you want short nails to look good, you’ll need to give your cuticles some love and shape them just right.

Start by using a cuticle oil and gently, very gently, push back the cuticles with an orange wood stick. This will make your nails look much more elegant and will help your manicure last longer.

Short or long, nails look best when shaped with a glass nail file. You don’t need to do anything complex: a square or oval shape looks great on short nails. Just make sure they are all the same length so that your manicure looks even and no nail looks out of place.

The three easy nail designs for short nails below should be applied over a base coat that suits your needs. This will help you avoid smudges and make your manicure last longer.

So, with all the prep out of the way, it’s time to explore some manicure ideas for short nails!

A classic: French manicure

A French manicure is timeless and will make your fingers look longer, which is a nice bonus. It’s also office-friendly, even for most corporate environments. It is a natural-looking nail with the tips painted with white varnish.

Some people choose to paint the white varnish directly over a clear base, while others use a nude nail polish over the entire nail. Essie Ballet Slippers are very popular for this.

There are French manicure stickers that you can stick just below the free edge of the nail, right where you want the white section to start. It makes creating a crisp white so much easier! Or if you’re feeling adventurous, replace the white with a contrasting neon color, or even black.

Don’t forget a shiny top coat to take your French manicure to the next level!

geometric print

If you’re looking for something more vivid than a French manicure, nail stamping is a great way to get started with nail art. Stamping means transferring designs from metal stamping plates onto nails using a stamper. And it’s so much fun!

For short nails, a geometric pattern works best, as you may not have enough room for a cutesy drawing or other non-repeating designs. But experiment to see what you like best!

Some combinations that work great on short nails are gold stamping on a blue background, silver on black or red, and even a silver or gold glitter stamp on a nude nail polish base.

You’ll need some equipment here, but nothing too expensive. Nail stamping kits usually include one or more stamping plates, a stamper, and a scraper (or you can use an old credit card for it). It might take some practice to learn how to perfectly lift the design from the plate and stamp it onto the nail, but the results are salon-worthy.

alternate tips

This type of design combines the ever popular negative space trend with a colorful manicure. Choose two complementary colors, like red and gold, black and silver, or even two different finishes of the same color. For example, you can alternate shiny tips with matte tips.

Leave the bottom half of the nail bare but for a clear base coat, and alternate painting the tips in each of your two chosen colors. Quick and easy, but still eye-catching and will make your nails look longer.

And don’t forget to protect your manicure with a long-lasting top coat. Quick-drying top coats are perfect for nail art, as they minimize the risk of smudging all your hard work.

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