We knew quarantine really escalated when self care took on a literal meaning and we had to DIY everything, including our nails. For most of us, no amount of YouTube tutorials could replace our favorite nail salons. But, salons are starting to open back up and we know you’re looking for the hottest nail designs of 2021 to inspire your next appointment.
(That’s this list of nail designs, in case that wasn’t clear.)
With options for all nail shapes, these new nail trends cover everything from simple swirls to sassy snakeskin. Get ready to screenshot away and make some room on your Pinterest boards, because it’s going to be way easier to show your nail tech a picture than describe with words how to make cute cow print nails. (Trust us.)
30 Cool Nail Designs for 2021
1. Swirl Nail Design
Swirls are taking over this year! There are so many variations of this design and it looks good on just about every nail shape. Keep it classy (or at least the appearance of classy) with these white swirls on a nude base.
2. Pink Yin Yang Design
Of course you could go for the classic black and white yin yang nail design, but adding bright colors is an easier way to break out of your comfort zone than bungee jumping.
3. Negative Space Designs
We can only find positives about this negative space 2021 nail trend.
4. Cow Print Nails
Like Doja Cat said, “B*tch I’m a Cow!” And this cow print nail design? Legend-dairy.
5. Glitter Stripe Nail Design
Add a little razzle dazzle to your boring mani with a glitter stripe up the middle. And if glitter isn’t flashy enough, add in an animal print, too! Yes we just called pink boring. Fight us.
6. Line Art Nails
You probably can’t afford a Picasso in your home, but you can have one on your nails in 2021. The Guggenheim says that’s totally the same thing. Please don’t call them to verify that.
7. Polka Dot Nails
A manicure that even Cruella would love. Although this is a fairly simple nail design, it sure is easy to spot in a crowd.
8. Smiley Face Nails
Since no one can see how much you’re not smiling behind a mask, let your nails show how “happy” you are. Everything is great, thanks for asking!
9. Snake Print
Even if you have to be able to type on your keyboard to do work, a trimmed-down version of this stiletto nail design is still a great aesssthetic.
10. Floral Decals
Enjoy fresh flowers all year long with this 2021 trend. The watercolor style adds an artistic element that confirms that you did indeed pass the third grade. (Or at least the person who painted your nails did.)
11. Marble Nail Design
Forget trying to match your nails to your shoes, the new hotness is matching your kitchen counters.
12. Colorful Swirl Lines
More swirls for the girls, but this time: Add color! This is perfect for summer or a tropical winter getaway. Google Maps adventures count, too!
13. Green Drip Nails
“Came through drippin’ drip, drip.” Good luck getting that out of your head with this groovy pattern.
14. Pink Cow Print Design
Proof that strawberry milk comes from pink cows.
15. Matte Meets Glossy Nail Design
Added bonus: these part matte, part glossy square nails can double as an opener for all your Amazon packages.
16. Purple French Tips
A French tip on a pointed nails screams “I was born before 1990!” Add a different color on the other hand to make sure they heard you.
17. Pastel Nails
For your spring nail designs, keep the colors in a pastel palette to make it look more “Easter chic” and less like the Easter bunny got sick on jelly beans.
18. Negative Space French Nail Design
With so many variations of the French manicure, this one may take the cake for most unique. It can come back with it anytime.
19. Colorblock Nail Design
We’re going absolutely mod over this Mondrian color block design. This is when it really comes in handy to have someone who can paint inside the lines. (Again, that’s not us.)
20. Negative Space Hearts
Tell us you’re emotionally unavailable without telling us you’re emotionally unavailable.
21. Flame Nails
This design is more lit than Elon Musk on a podcast.
22. Knit Sweater Nail Design
Who did it better: Chris Evans in Knives Out or this winter manicure?
23. 3D Manicure
Nothing says “extra” like a nail design that literally pops off your nails.
24. Birth Year Nails
If those quarantine birthdays really hit you hard, then go all out in 2021 with these statement nails. And don’t worry about about giving away your age – most people stopped doing mental math 15 years ago.
25. Designer Nails
Designer bags? So 2019. Designer nails like these Chanel ones? That’s the vibe of 2021.
26. Butterfly Nails
Butterflies are meant to roam free, but we’ll make an exception for this manicure. Come here little bug!
27. Neon Stars
You’ll be seeing stars with this mani. Pair multicolored stars on a neutral nail color for a ’80s punk rock look.
28. Astrological Design
For this celestial manicure, add golden nail stickers to a marble nail base. Sneak in your zodiac sign for a subtle message on your next date. Unless you’re a gemini, then maybe don’t.
29. Horizontal Stripes
Using a combination of thick and thin stripes keeps this nail design looking chic, and less like that blue and black dress. Don’t start with us, white and gold people.
30. Checker Print
If you still haven’t gotten over The Queen’s Gambit, this nail trend is for you. Pick your favorite color and then get ready for your best “hands under chin stare” to intimidate anyone eyeing your brunch table.