17 Simple Nail Designs Even a Nail Newbie Can Do
by Luna Ward
Just because you’re new to nail art doesn’t mean you can’t rock decked out digits. We know 3-D nails and freehand masterpieces can look intimidating, but with the right tools and tutorials achieving these on-trend nail looks doesn’t have to be hard. We rounded up our favorite easy nail designs for no-hassle pro results.
Ombre Neon Nails
With a white backdrop and fluorescent ombre, this look by Ze Chaudron Magik is a nail newb’s go-to summer mani. It may look hard, but with a little tape, two neon polishes and a sponge, this triangle gradient is a breeze.
Easy Daisy Nail Art
Daisies are hot for summer. Play up the trendy flower with this simple nail art look by Sammy of The Nailasaurus. All you need is a dotting tool. If you don’t have one, Sammy says a bobby pin will work just fine.
Polka Dot Tips
If you’re not in the mood for florals, try dotting on this mani by Chalkboard Nails. Use your dotting tool to create super easy polka dot tips. This look is fresh, and since there are no lines to perfect, it’s easier than your average French mani.
Rays of Glitz Mani
Chloe of Chloe’s Nails knows glossy black polish looks better with rays of glitter. This clean line design may look hard, but strips of tape make it easy, so grab a roll and your favorite glitter polish and create this glam look.
Cloudy Day Nails
Nail newbs and pros alike will love these cloudy day nails. All you need to complete this whimsical nail art is a dotting tool and white and blue nail polishes. Wanyachu, the nail blogger behind In Pursuit of Polish, says if you can create blobs, you can create clouds.
If you know anything about nail art, you know 3D nails are huge this season. We love these over-the-top digits, but they’re often pro-level–with the exception of these embroidery floss nails by Glitter She Wrote. These friendship bracelet-esque accent nails are a nail newb’s BFF.
Cubism Nail Art
Striping Tape Nail Look
Striping tape once again creates a pro-effect in I Feel Polished’s tutorial. The tape comes in tons of colors, so for a last minute mani, use the tape to create a design and seal the look with a topcoat. Or you can use it like I Feel Polished and paint over the tape with a glitter nail polish then remove the strips to reveal a perfect pop of color.
Pastel Nail Art
Neon Tips Nail Look
Lackfein gives herself the perfect tips without tools or tape by painting only the top of her nails. If you’re attempting this easy nail design, use contrasting colors, like Lackfein’s slate gray and neon yellow, for stand-out tips.
Easy Floral Freehand
If the term “freehand” gives you serious jitters, you’re not alone. But nail art newbs, let go of your preconceived notions. Nail Art Couture’s vintage flower mani will calm your nail nerves; she uses a gel pen to turn polish blobs into flowers.
Gold and Neutral Nails
Take neutral nails from lifeless to lux with gold accents. Coewless Nail Polish Blog’s nail design takes a few minutes and even less effort. Nothing is easier than adding a coat of gold flecked nail polish to an accent nail.
Glitter Chevron Nail Look
If you prefer colorful glitter, add glitz to neutral nails with carefully arranged multicolor flecks. We admit, Wacky Laki’s chevron look takes some time, but with the tutorial and the right tools (Wacky Lacki uses a toothpick), even a rookie can create this look.
Some of the best (and least expensive) nail tools hang out in the office aisle. Anna Norman Birchbox contributor, uses reinforcement stickers to perfect her half-moon mani. Norman’s nail look, while a gorgeous manicure on its own, is also a lazy girl’s dream. When we don’t want to completely redo our nails, this is the go-to nail art to hide chipped tips.
Glitter Gradient Mani
Smashley Sparkles uses a small nail art brush and uneven strokes to create this can’t-mess-up mani. With a black base and bright glitter gradient, this nail look isn’t only forgiving, but reminds us of the aurora borealis.
Cuticle Tattoo Nail Look
Inspired by the black fingertips Lorde rocked at the Grammys, this season’s nail art has gone over the edge. Cuticles no longer define the boundary of the nail game. So Nailicious takes easy nail art out of the box with cuticle tattoos.
Try Nail Decals
If you want elaborate nails with rookie skills, nail stickers are your go-to solution. From cute designs to your favorite celeb’s face, the Internet is full of these inexpensive decals. Chickettes uses a dotting tool to add a few decretive touches to her water decal mani.