22 Bold Black Nail Designs
by Lauren Anderson
Rocker chick, floral goddess, classic beauty—you can change your nails as often as you change your mind. No matter what title you’re aiming for, black nails are the way to achieve it.
Subdue the severity of solid black nails with delicate buds to create an eye-catching contrast. Use @lieve91‘s peeking pink roses nail design for inspiration.
Sammy from The Nailasaurus went edgy with studs with inspiration from Michael Kors‘s fashion line. After laying the base in black, she strategically placed gold caviar beads in rows before finishing her work with a clear top coat.
Fade to black with nails that reflect the ombre trend. Coat the thumb or pinky in a bleak black moving to murky gray with each finger, as Chloe’s Nails did here. Apply two to three coats for vibrant colors that maximize the effect of gradually lightening shades.
Get ready to have a good time with funky, festive nails. Layer two or three coats of glitter paint over a deliciously dark shade for a pop of sparkle. Steffels used a dark purple-brown color as a base and topped it with complementary silver and purple glitter for a spunky look.
All you need is love—and maybe this nail art how-to! Create this design by first coating nails with a pink-and-orange gradient and following @lieve91‘s model for the silhouettes.
Turn heads for a closer look by creating braided fishtail black nail designs. Ruth from The Adorned Claw created hers in a fashion similar to braiding hair by taking turns using each color to overlap the previous one.
This houndstooth design paired with a matte pink color from Modnails puts an exciting twist on a classic. Try it yourself by starting with three pink nails and two white accent nails of your choice. Paint small squares on the white nails, and add tiny lines on the corners of each box with a dotting tool to produce a houndstooth replica print.
If you have been looking for an idea others won’t be able to duplicate, this is it! No black nails (or any color!) will be the same with metal-infused polish that uses a magnet to create a unique pattern. Follow a light coat with a thicker one. Then hold the magnet on the cap of the bottle to the nail, moving it back and forth to reach all parts of the nail. Pull the magnet away to reveal a fashion-forward look. Magnetic polish comes in many varieties, but Ruth from The Adorned Claw used Magnetic Force for her manicure.
Space-scene nails are a relaxed way to follow the huge galaxy-print trend. Aubrey Hannah used one particular picture to inspire her before starting with solid black nails. She used a chunk of sponge held by tweezers to add deep blue to two opposing corners. Moving inward, she added dark green and purple. White and gold were added with both the sponge and a dotting tool as a final step to simulate stars. A top glitter coat is optional for even more sparkle.
This checkerboard-inspired black nail design will have friends asking for your secret to a flawless matte finish. After laying a regular black base coat, Chloe’s Nails used tape to create sharp lines when layering on Essie Matte About You at two opposing corners. This special polish will change any polish from glossy to matte.
An easy application process will make others jealous of black nails that look like they took hours. Nail foils can be applied by covering a base coat with adhesive paint (often included with the purchase of foil) on the area of the nail you wish to cover. Once the adhesive has dried, the back side of the foil can be applied to that part of the nail. Here, Raquel on Beautylish layered various foils and painted the adhesive unevenly to create a messy look at the tips.
The pebblelike hues of these mosaic-surfaced accent nails will help them pop like @lieve91‘s. After creating the illusion of cracking with crossing lines from a black nail design pen, fill each section with white and shades of gray.
Reverse French Manicure
Add some sparkle to plain black nails with a reverse French manicure. It’s an easy twist on a favorite classic. Find Michelle’s full tutorial here.
Sass up a black mani with contrasting leopard texture. Simply paint all nails with a black satin polish; allow to dry. Next, take a small nail art brush and freehand-draw the spots using black polish. Add a top coat for a smooth finish, or forgo for a raised textured effect. Check out Chalkboard Nails for the full tutorial.
Black-and-white doesn’t have to be boring. Start by painting your nails white and two accent nails black. Then use a nail art brush, and dip into the contrasting color. Use your creativity to create different designs on every nail. Check out Chelsea Queen for more nail ideas.
Cristina of Let Them Have Polish created this shimmery look using Cirque lacquer. Start by painting two nails with a white polish and two nails with a black polish. On the white nails, tape off a half moon and create a gradient effect going toward the tip. Add golden sparkles to nails for a finishing touch.
We love animal print everything, and this matte black zebra mani is no exception. Create the look by swiping a coat of black polish on each nail; then go over it with a nail art brush to create the zebra stripes. Add studs to the base of your thumb as an accent. Check out Katrina’s Nail Blog for more inspiration.
Put a new spin on the crackled nail art trend with this shattering mani. It’s the perfect finishing touch for a creepy Halloween look. Nailed It blogger and Divine Caroline contributor Katy created a tutorial for the look so you can follow along step by step.
Lava Lamp Mani
Create this groovy manicure by painting all nails black and letting them dry. Then choose three colors to create the blob effect—we love the bright colors Katy used. Check out the full post on Nailed It for a tutorial.