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How Do I Choose the Best Pretty Nail Design?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated May 21, 2024
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A woman may want to get her nails done professionally on a regular basis or for a special occasion, and nail designs can be added to basic polish for extra style. Designs can be painted or air brushed on a person's nails. Designs can be incorporated in manicures and on acrylic nails, gel nails and wraps. When a person is searching for a pretty nail design, she may want to consider the time of year and upcoming holidays or occasions, personal color and style preferences and the designs available in the method of choice. She also may want to consult the nail salon staff.

It can be overwhelming for a nail salon newcomer to choose a pretty nail design, because some salons have dozens of options. One way for a person to narrow down a design is by the time of year. Floral designs and bright designs tend to look best in the spring and summer seasons. During the fall and winter, a woman may want to choose a darker nail design with some simple stripes or lines, though a seasonal theme also might work.

The clothes in a person's closet also should be taken into consideration when picking a nail design. For example, a wardrobe that has a lot of blue may encourage a nail design with a lot of blue to blend. A wardrobe that has no purple may not support a nail design that does. A woman also should remember to take her career into consideration when choosing a pretty nail design, because some styles may look good on the sample but may not have enough of a professional look to fit in at the office.

Holidays also can help a woman to choose a pretty nail design. Many salons will put out special nail art options to match corresponding holidays. Cobwebs and spiders can be painted onto a woman's nails around Halloween. Christmas trees and snowflakes are often available as designs around the winter holidays. Women can choose to get a holiday design on all her fingernails or can limit the design to one or two nails per hand, with a corresponding solid color on the remaining nails.

A woman who is having trouble deciding on a pretty nail design should not be afraid to ask the nail salon technician for help. Many salons keep the newest and most trendy colors of nail polish readily available. The nail tech can show a customer which colors will work best with specific patterns. Some nail salons also keep fashion magazines in their waiting area. A woman can try looking through such magazines to find pretty nails designs that are in style.

Not all nail designs have to be loud and bright. If a person is getting a pretty nail design for the first time, then she can start out with a simple design in the low-key pink and white French manicure colors. A French manicure design can be dressed up for an event by adding silver nail sparkles.

Some designs also might lend themselves to a particular process, such as air brushing, while other methods might not translate the design as well. A person with a preference for a particular type of nail process — whether acrylic, gel or wrap — may first be able to narrow the nail design choices down to those available via a particular process and go from there. This method may eliminate several options, after which the other deciding factors can come into play.

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Discussion Comments

By pastanaga — On Jan 18, 2015

@irontoenail - I think it's partially a reaction to the idea that it's a bad thing to wear fake nails. There are so many pretty designs out there these days that I think it's a shame to not wear fake nails. It's just another kind of jewelry and one that can have more personality than almost any other kind.

As for how people should choose designs, I will often go with what a nail technician suggests, but I tend to like nice, simple designs, like two color polka-dots or a twist on French manicure or something like that. I don't have time to change them every day, so it has to be relatively neutral so that I can match them to my outfit.

Of course, if I've got somewhere special to go, I'll just paint them to match whatever I'm wearing to it.

By irontoenail — On Jan 17, 2015

@browncoat - I don't actually think it's all that pretty to have ultra-long nails anyway. I think it can make for some incredible art, but if the nails are supposed to be part of an overall style, I've always thought having them be very long just looks aggressive.

That might be what the person is going for, but I seem to see very long nails most often on women who are going for cute.

By browncoat — On Jan 16, 2015

One thing to keep in mind if you aren't used to having long, professionally done nails, is that it can actually be quite difficult to get used to them being on your hands. My sister gets her nails done fairly often and she still ended up very frustrated when she got a set of gel nails and they were too long.

This might not seem like much of a problem, but it's difficult to trim artificial nails on your own and pulling them off is very bad for the nail bed. So you need to make sure you're going to be comfortable with the length as well as the style before you get them done, or else be prepared to pay extra if you end up needing them trimmed.

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