The Best Nail Art Ideas

Hands of a young woman with a rainbow manicure.

Buying Guide for Nail Art Ideas

Beautiful girl with the golden makeup and gold metal nails.

Why buy nail art?

Nail art is a fun form of self-expression that can take even the most basic of manicures to the next level. While you can attempt bold looks using freehand tools like brushes, there’s now a wide range of items designed for the at-home manicure newbies. These tools include stickers and transfers, which work as a goofproof alternative to trying to freehand more complex looks.

What should you look for when shopping for nail art?

  • Difficulty Level: Not all nail art kits are created equal. Think about your comfort level with creating freehand designs versus opting for premade designs that can be easily applied thanks to sticker applications.
  • Applications: Similar to experience level, also think about whether you want a kit that will allow you to achieve multiple applications or a single-use one. There’s no right or wrong answer, but if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, a multiple applications nail art kit will be a better solution.
  • Design: Of course, the design also matters. Some nail art designs are simple, like crystals, small stickers, or press-on, whereas others are full-nail designs. Think about which options appeal most to you and pick accordingly.

What are some tips for making your nail art last long?

First, you want to prep your nail beds to ensure your nail art has a good foundation. Choose a nail length you are comfortable with to avoid any breakage. Remove any nail polish, buff out your nail bed to make it smooth, and then file it to your preferred shape and size. Wash your hands with an exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin, and apply lotion to moisturize your cuticles. Start with a base coat of polish, and then use a top coat to keep your nails extra protected.

Our Picks for the Best Nail Art Ideas

Pros: For those who don’t want their creativity to be limited by a lack of supplies, this pack of massive 12-shape nail art stickers from Lyouci is a great investment. You’ll get two separate boxes full of colorful butterflies and semi-clear iridescent shapes. With a range of sizes and shapes, you can create a wide variety of unique nail looks.

Cons: While the brand calls these stickers, it’s essential to remember that they’re not. For these to be applied, you must use them after the final color coat but before applying the top coat. Additionally, this set doesn’t have the necessary tweezers to apply them carefully.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for the perfect accent for even the most basic of manicures and want a wide range of options, you can’t go wrong with this two-pack set of iridescent nail art stickers.

 

Pros: For those who love texture, this massive set of crystals in different hues is a great way to create versatility with your manicure. Each crystal measures 1.2 millimeters in diameter and has an iridescent finish. Better still, you can choose from a wide range of colors. If you pick the clear set, this allows the color of your nail polish to shine through.

Cons: Similar to some of the other picks in this roundup, you will need additional tools to apply these rhinestones to your nails successfully. Additionally, you’ll need rhinestone glue to ensure that they adhere properly to the nail’s surface.

Bottom Line: Those who love a bit of shimmer and sparkle will appreciate these versatile crystals and the fact that you get a wide array of them.

 

Pros: If you struggle with tools like nail tweezers, dip powders, or gel applications, these easy-to-use pens are a great alternative to play with creativity on a much more shallow learning curve. While promoted as a kid’s product, we think that any newbie will appreciate the easy application process these nail pens and true nail stickers provide.

Cons: While incredibly goofproof, many people may find that the color options, as well as sticker variety, are somewhat limited.

Bottom Line: True nail art newbies, as well as younger manicure fanatics, will appreciate this low-stress entry into the world of nail art.

 

Pros: If nearly microscopic crystals aren’t enough to satisfy your need for bling, these larger AB rhinestones are a solid alternative. Because they’re intended for your nails, you’ll appreciate that the base features a curved design for better adhesion. Note that you’ll get a total of 48 stones, with two sets to choose from.

Cons: Unsurprisingly, these larger stones are not self-adhesive stickers. So, you’ll still need to invest in good rhinestone glue to ensure proper adhesion.

Bottom Line: Those who crave serious bling will love the larger crystals offered in this kit and the fact that they’re safe for use on natural and acrylic nails with a curved base for easier application.

 

Pros: For those seeking a good starter kit that doesn’t just have the nail art but the tools for applications, you can’t go wrong with this comprehensive kit. It comes with 15 pieces, including the most common brushes and rhinestone applicators, nail tape, foil, and of course, rhinestones.

Cons: The included nail art accents aren’t the right color or as large as they look in the photos.

Bottom Line: While you might not love all of the nail art components that come with this pick, the wide selection of brushes and rhinestone applicators makes up for that.

Final Thoughts

Nail art can cover so much ground that it can be hard to find options that satisfy all tastes. Common options include crystals, stickers, and nail art pens. Meanwhile, you’ll still want to prioritize the basics—brushes and applicator tools. Whichever looks you prefer, creating the perfect nail art kit can help you save money and spark creativity.

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