If you’re looking for low-key manicures that still make a statement, minimalist nail art designs are a perfect choice. Simplicity can speak volumes with pared-back designs and embellishments.
“With the clean girl aesthetic on the rise, we’ve seen many of our clients gravitate towards more minimalistic nail art designs,” says Bellacures manicurist Hayley Dang. “A few of the designs we’ve seen trending in this space are micro Frenchies, classic Frenchies, chrome overlays, pearl embellishments, and stone embellishments.”
Minimalist nail art is often characterized by clean lines and features geometric shapes, negative space, and muted colors that create a chic, understated look.
Meet Our Expert
Hayley Dang is a nail artist with Bellacures salons.
If you’re eager to try minimalist nail art, we’ve got you covered. Here, a duo of nail artists share an array of manicure designs that will inspire you.
“My favorite color combo for fall is deep burgundy with navy blue,” says Goldstein. “I use Chanel Le Vernis in Rouge Noir and Chanel Le Vernis in Fugueuse." To perfect the line at the tip, Goldstein uses Doublemoss’ Arte 2 - Detailer Brush.
Shades of Pink
The different swirled shades of pink in this minimalist design add a subtle, yet eye-catching twist to this manicure. "Pale pinks will always be loved," says Dang. "My favorites are OPI Strawberry Margarita, OPI Mod About You, and Dazzle Dry Paparazzi Pink because they look good on a variety of skin tones. To recreate this look, add different shades of pink to the ring finger for a simple touch."
We love an unexpected take on a traditional French manicure. This simple black design is great for a minimalistic look. "Black nails are timeless, and so are French nails," says Dang. "Add a little spice to this classic look by adding razor-thin lines to the border of the ring finger and pointer."
Inspired by a summer sunset over the ocean, this manicure emulates the warm glimmer that reflects over the water. To achieve this look, Goldstein used Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Phénix and Chanel Le Gel Top Coat.
The white dots punctuating these shimmering pink nails add a playful element. To recreate this look, "apply two coats of glittery baby pink polish," says Dang. "When this has dried, begin by taking a dotting tool to your fingers with white polish. Then, take a thin brush and draw a straight line down the center. To top off the look, apply a topcoat for maximum shine, and finish off with some cuticle oil."
Hint of Sparkle
Blending a nude manicure with subtle sparkly tips and accent nails captures minimalist elegance and proves that less can be more!
This subtle swirl adds an unexpected touch, making it a perfect choice for those who appreciate simplicity with a hint of artistic flair. “To achieve clean, understated nail art, always remember that less is more,” says Dang. "This goes for design and color."
Tip and Base Embellishments
"I love this minimalist nail Frenchie because it is perfect for the holiday season. The elegant natural tone blends perfectly to achieve a timeless look," says Dang. "A polish I love to recommend is Dazzle Dry Self-Made. This long-lasting, fast-drying nail lacquer is perfect for our clients during the colder months as it only takes five minutes to dry fully."
Black Sheer Pantyhose
“To create this look, first apply Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Ballerina to all nails and let it fully dry," says Goldstein. "Then, mix a couple of drops of CND World Black Pool into a base coat and apply two even coats. After they're fully dry, use Doublemoss’ Arte 3 - Striper Brush and CND World Black Pool to trace the free-edge of the nails. To finish, allow them to completely dry and apply a top coat.”
"For this look, take a dark brown polish and evenly coat the nails with two coats, leaving the ring finger bare. For the ring finger, do the same steps with a nude shade of polish," says Dang. "Once these coats of polish are dry, apply the dark brown polish with a thin brush and draw some sparkling stars." Pro tip for getting the stars down: "Draw two curved L's on one side of the nail, and make a parallel shape upside down to connect the two."
These thin chrome tips infuse a modern edge to this design, creating a subtle yet impactful finish. The mixed colors effortlessly complement any outfit, too. Though, because the line is so thin, you'll really want to make sure your nails won't chip. Goldstein says the key to long-lasting nail art is adding an extra coat of thick top coat, like Chanel Le Gel Coat Longwear Top Coat. “This will help protect the polish from chipping or fading,” she explains.
The minimalist black dots on this nude manicure add an intriguing element. This design can easily be achieved using any neutral base color, like Chanel Le Gel Top Coat, with an onyx shade like Chanel Boy De Chanel in Black for the dots.
Gilded With Polka Dots
The subtle contrast between the lustrous gold and precise black dots creates a simple but chic look.
Adding negative space to your manicure allows a striking balance between simplicity and style, with the bare sections creating a captivating effect. The great thing about this minimalist half-moon design is that it works with any nail polish.
Because this design runs lengthwise on the nails, these subtle strokes can create the illusion of longer nails while adding visual interest to your mani.
Soft Silver Tips
This design offers a refined twist on the classic French manicure, bringing subtle shimmer to the nails.
When creating minimalist nail art designs, you can keep it simple by opting for stone or pearl embellishments. However, to keep it truly minimal, size placement and quantity are key. “I like to only add embellishments to one to two nails on each hand,” says Goldstein. If you have shorter nails, opt for a smaller-sized embellishment.”
This psychedelic nail design is the perfect blend of playful and refined. The intricate pattern and vibrant colors are confined to a small nail area, maintaining the elegance of a minimalist aesthetic.
All the Neutrals
We love that this minimal design uses various shades of neutral tones for a soft finish.
A simple heart outline is a shortcut to minimalist elegance. This charming design adds a touch of romance without overwhelming the nails.
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