Better-Than-Basic White Nail Designs
by Leah Walters
A clean, white manicure is timeless and chic; it’s a great go-to. But when you’re ready to shake up your routine, white nail designs are the freshest trend. Whether your style is minimalist or feminine, classic or flashy, there’s a perfect white look for you. Get inspired by these modern manis for every season.
Geometric Accent Nails
Geometric prints are on just about everything these days. Naturally, they look great on nails, too. Take inspiration from this nail art by Nails by Cindy. Pick a few accent nails, and freehand-paint triangles over a solid white base; use tape for a more precise look.
Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls
This Day of the Dead nail art is too cool to reserve for Halloween. Youtuber HannahRoxNails carefully paints each sugar skull with a toothpick and shows you how to re-create the look in this video. The bright colors make this funky manicure perfect for a summer festival.
This all-white nail art is anything but bland. By stamping opaque white flowers over a shimmery shade, A Girl and Her Polish creates a multi-dimensional look that’s perfect for spring. The lacelike design is practically begging to be worn with a sweet sundress.
Sweet Script Nail Art
This manicure is clean and pretty. With a steady hand and a small brush, add dainty script to opaque white nails for a look that’s both girly and modern. This is the sort of nail art you’ll be sad to remove.
Glitter Leopard Print
Leopard print isn’t the easiest pattern to pull off, but this silver-and-white combo is subtle enough for anybody. Simply freehand-paint glittery spots over white nails for a playful design. We guarantee you’ll be wild about it.
Picasso-Inspired Nail Art
Create a mani-masterpiece on plain white nails. Picasso’s one-line sketches inspired these nails by Manicurity. She used a nail art marker to create museum-worthy graphics that would be the envy of any art enthusiast.
This minimalist manicure feels mod in classic black-and-white, but you could use any color for the stripe on the side of each nail. The high-contrast design is unexpected, understated, and really easy to create. Try it for yourself!
Gradient French Manicure
For soft, pretty nails, try a gradient reminiscent of a classic French manicure. Get the look by sponging white polish on the ends of your nails over a nude shade. This mani is perfect for brides looking for something special on their big day.
Black Border Nails
Can’t get enough black-and-white? A black border makes a lot of impact with little effort. Check out this video tutorial for tips on mastering the trendy manicure.
We simply can’t get enough of the marble trend. In the last year, it has popped up everywhere, and now you can create the luxe look on your nails. Love Aesthetics has the instructions you need to give yourself a marble manicure with white polish, two shades of gray, and a small brush.
If you’ve outworn your standard white mani, try painting just half of each nail white. These white diagonal nails are chic and easy. For a sharp line, use tape to mask off the bottom of each nail. And in no time, you’ll have a modern nail look that pairs well with any style.
Brighten up one or two nails with a colorful design, like this one that’s reminscent of a henna tattoo. Lucy’s Stash got this look by creating a decal with a nail stamp, but you could also put your artistic skills to use and paint the motif with a small nail art brush. For an extra touch, add studs to the plain nails.
Fashion ladies, take note: This nail art by Miss Ladyfinger was inspired by a look in the 2012 Maison Martin Margiela x H&M collaboration. The white-silver-and-black design is sleek and eye-catching. We love it.
Feather Nail Art
This feather nail art looks light and pretty, and it’s simple to achieve, too. One Nail to Rule Them All paints the delicate white feathers on a nude base with a small paintbrush and finishes with a topcoat.
Metallic Marbled Nails
Water marbling has been a trendy nail art technique for a while now, but we particularly love this simple gold-on-white version. Nail artist Ane Li shows you how to re-create the effect in this video tutorial, so you can rock the shimmery look yourself.
Up your polish game with arrow art. Take direction from this design, and paint black arrows every which way, or create matching arrows on each nail with a black nail art pen. The possibilities are limitless.
For an eye-catching nail masterpiece, paint a bold design on a couple of accent nails and leave the others white. For this mani, Nail Cake took inspiration from an art print and re-created the abstract flowers for an edgy spring look.
We’re loving metallic manicures right now. Lackfein’s look has just the right amount of shine for an everyday look. Start with an opaque white nail, and then carefully add French tips with your favorite metallic polish. Copper is a fresh option, but go for the gold if it’s calling your name.
Snow White Glitter Nails
Frigid temperatures may be off-putting, but who doesn’t love the look of freshly fallen snow? Channel the season with these white glitter nails; the texture and subtle sparkle make them the perfect winter accessory. You won’t even want to hide them in gloves!
Stripes with Nail Art Tape
For the perfectionist—or artistically challenged—nail art tape makes delicate manicures a piece of cake. They’re easy to apply, and they come in a variety of colors and styles. Use your imagination, or re-create this clean, modern black-and-white look.
For a delicate design, use a lace pattern nail stamp. Procrastinails perfected the look with a nude base polish and white stamping polish; it’s intricate and subtle at the same time. Try it out for a formal occasion, and you’ll feel like the belle of the ball.
Two-Tone Stipple Manicure
Take a stab at these two-tone stippled nails. Start with a white base, and then use a dotting tool to add a pattern with any colors you like. For an even easier mani, use a couple of Sharpie markers to create the stippling effect. Nail art doesn’t get easier than this.
White with Stripes
Add a pop of color to white nails with stripes. For this look, nail blogger Katy used a small striping brush and tape to make lines across the middle of each nail. Add a fine glitter for a little sparkle, or try topping off your masterpiece with a matte topcoat for a look that’s all your own.
If you’re handier with a marker than a brush, tackle tricky nail art with a Sharpie. White nails are a blank canvas for anything you conjure up, so get creative or take a stab at these birds. Don’t forget to finish your manicure with a topcoat!
Dotted French Mani
This playful twist on a traditional French manicure is easy to re-create and subtle enough to match every look in your closet. The Polished Perfectionist started with a nude shade and then used a dotting tool to add white spots to the tips.