All That Glitters: Gold Nail Designs We Love
by Abby Gilman
Gold is a girl’s favorite color, right? From accent furniture to jewelry, gold has made a major comeback in recent years, and there’s no better way than a fresh manicure to show our love for the warm color. Get out your tools, and give these gold nail designs a try.
Rich Gradient Design
Gold works with so many colors, but perhaps our favorite pairing is with rich jewel tones, like this vampy, deep red from Dior’s Winter 2013 collection that So Nailicious used. Paint all nails with two coats of the base color. Once dry, apply a champagne gold to the nail tips to create a gradient. Finish with a glossy topcoat.
Beaded Nail Design
This nail design looks complicated but is super-easy to re-create following Wink and Blush‘s tutorial. Start by painting all nails with a coat of glossy black polish. Once dry, take a nail art brush and two shades of gold to create the herringbone art on a few nails. For the beaded nails, take a dotting tool and drop a dot of topcoat on the nail; place a bullion bead onto the wet topcoat using a different dotting tool dipped in water. You can add flatback crystals to the remaining nails or leave them black. Finish with a topcoat to seal the design.
Flash Tat Nails
This Flash Tat nail art fueled our obsession with the temporary tattoos to an almost unhealthy level. (Is that even possible? We say nay.) Not only does it look really cool—it’s extremely easy to re-create. Choose a base color, paint all nails with two coats, and allow to fully dry. Next, peel off your Flash Tattoos of choice and stick them into designs on your nails. Finish with a topcoat, and flaunt them nails, girl!
Evil Eye Nail Art
This evil-eye nail art takes a bit more skill and concentration, but it’s totally doable for beginners. Start with a clear base coat; then paint a French tip with metallic gold polish. At the base of those nails, use a nail art brush dipped in white polish and draw a half moon. Use a thin nail art brush to outline the half moon with gold polish, and use a third color—we love the deep, sparkly blue used in this photo—to draw a small circle in the middle for the iris. You can do this design on every nail, or opt for contrasting designs on other nails like the white-with-gold outline.
The list of materials for this look may be a bit on the long side, but the one-of-a-kind outcome is worth it. Start by painting all nails with a base color of your choice. Once dry, put a drop of gold paint on a paper towel, dip scrunched-up plastic wrap into the polish, and lightly dab onto your nails. This tutorial goes into depth about how to achieve the stone look using a droplet of black nail polish and water.
Honeycomb Nail Art
A shiny metallic base coat gives this fun nail design extra dimension. Taryn Multack of Miss Lady Finger started by painting all nails with a rose gold metallic polish. Once dry, use a dotting tool—the end of a Q-tip or toothpick will work in a pinch—to create the honeycomb layer. Place a few drops of a baby blue and a pale pink nail polish onto a paper towel, dip your tool so it’s lightly covered, and place dots in a row on your nail. Finish with a clear topcoat for added sheen.
Red & Gold Tartan Design
If you can draw a straight line, you can create this trendy tartan nail art. (Hell, this design looks good even if you don’t have a steady hand.) Pick out three colors—we love the red-black-and-gold look from Beauty Ill—and paint all nails with a base. Next, use a nail art brush to draw a grid like a tic-tac-toe board. Finish with a gold accent line or two and a topcoat for gloss.
Gold on Gold on Gold
Edgy ladies, this nail art is for you. Start with a nude color as the base coat, and let dry. Next, tape off a triangle with the base at your cuticle and the top point a little less than halfway up your nail. Place three stripes horizontally in the triangle. Leave the triangle empty, and fill in all space above the tape with a shiny gold polish. Next, take a thin nail art brush and carefully fill the spaces with sparkly gold.
Pretty Pink-and-Gold Nails
These elegant nails are the perfect touch of femininity whether you’re attending a wedding or just sitting at work. We love the combination of baby pink and sparkly gold, but a nude or white would work as a base coat as well. Paint two coats of your chosen color on all nails save for an accent nail—one coat of an opaque gold glitter polish on this nail should do—and finish with a topcoat to seal. Leave as is, or add rhinestones for more embellishment.
We’re obsessed with these playful, graphic nails. This pop-art–inspired design is for manicure mavens looking to spice up a tired routine. If you’re feeling brave enough, gather eight nail polish colors plus a topcoat, striping tape, and an array of nail art brushes. Skills a little rusty? Check out these equally cool—and way, way easier—nail art stickers.
Simple Striped Nails
This striped nail design can be formal or casual. For a classic vibe, keep to the simple black-white-and-gold color scheme, but feel free to mix it up with some jewel tones or pretty pastels. Use striping tape and nail art brushes to keep the look sharp and clean.
Gold & Colored Glitter
This manicure is super-easy to create and takes little skill and time. Simply start with a base coat, such as black or navy. Once dry, paint one coat of a large glitter nail polish. Add another coat of glitter polish, and seal your design with a clear topcoat. The polish Katy used is no longer available, but this glitter from OPI looks just as good.
Add a bit of glitz and glamour to a typical black mani with this ombré nail art. We recommend a gold glitter polish with a range of fleck sizes for the best effect. Start by painting all nails black and allowing them to dry. Next, take a little of the glitter polish on one side of the brush and cover about a quarter of each nail, starting from the free edge. Check out the full post for how to layer on the glitter for an ombré effect.
This intricate update to a French manicure is perfect for every occasion; plus, it’s relatively easy to re-create. Start with a nude base coat on all nails. Once dry, apply a light color, such as the light blue that Chelsea used, to the tips for a French manicure. (Tip: Use a circular sticker or piece of paper if you’re unable to create a clean line.) Next, take a gold polish and place a few drops on a paper towel. Using a thin nail art brush, paint uneven meandering horizontal lines on all nails. Go back and connect the horizontal lines with random vertical lines to achieve the reptilian design. Extend your mani’s life with a clear topcoat.
Polka Dot Nails
This polka-dot nail design is fun and flirty but looks totally age-appropriate for us working girls. You’ll need a dotting and a striping tool, as well as gold, black, and gold glitter polishes to re-create this tricky-looking nail art. But don’t worry—it’s so easy.
Upgraded Half-Moon Mani
Half moons have been a hit on the mani scene for the past few years, which means it’s time for an update. Give your manicure a makeover by adding triangular lines with a striping brush. To get the look, paint all nails with a base color—we love the charcoal brown on gold, but vice versa would look just as good—and create a half moon. Next, take a striping brush and paint two lines starting from either corner of the half moon and ending at a point at the free edge of your nail. Finish with a topcoat for a look that lasts.
Golden Glitter Gradient
This mixed-metal glitter adds a whole lot of shine to the edgy nail design. A Polish Addict used an off-white nail color for a warm, soft base and overlaid a coat of Deborah Lippmann Boom Boom Pow to add a golden sheen. To create the gradient, she applied a thin coat of TiNS The Spicy Pinheel to her nails and used a sponge to concentrate the glitter on the ends.
This French manicure-leopard nail art mashup is sassy yet sophisticated. To get the look, place striping tape in a triangular shape and paint your tips with a matte black. Using nude, black, and metallic gold polishes, create a leopard nail design below the striping tape. Remove striping tape, and add gold nail tape along the base of the French tip. Once all nails are dry, seal it all in with a clear topcoat.
Foil Nail Art
Sammy from The Nailasaurus started this nail art by applying Essie Good as Gold on all nails and sealing with Essence Better Than Gel nails Fast Dry Top Sealer. Once dry, she placed striping tape to mark off the design where she wanted the gold to show through and applied a coat of Barry M Guava and removed the striping tape immediately. For the accent nail, she applied two coats of Sally Hansen Big Money over the Essie gold.
This red-and-white striped nail design works for any occasion: Christmas, Fourth of July, even a day at the beach. Coat an accent nail in a textured glitter polish, and seal with a topcoat. Use striping tape to create sections and fill in, alternating red and white. Remove tape while nails are wet, and use a nail art brush to line each stripe with gold nail polish. Seal with a topcoat.
Combine a little bit of everything with this inspiration from Instagrammer @_bombshellnails. The trick to making this nail-design look work is keeping the colors simple and consistent. A nice pale pink tones down the overall manicure. You’ll also need glittery gold and glossy black polishes, striping tape, and nail art pens. Create the chevron design by taping off sections with striping tape once the base coat is dry and filling in the voids with gold glitter polish; remove the tape while polish is wet. Watch this tutorial to achieve the leopard art.