We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Nail Art?

Dana Hinders
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
BeautyAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At BeautyAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Nail art, the practice of painting decorative designs on your fingernails, is a fun way to brighten up your everyday look or accessorize a special occasion outfit. There are a variety of designs available, ranging from subtle and understated to funky and outrageous. For example, you could choose to paint flowers on your nails for a date or spell out the name of your favorite athletic team on the day of the big game. While the more intricate designs are best left to a professional, it’s possible to create simple nail art at home.

The key to any successful nail design is starting with clean and well-shaped nails. Nails should be neatly trimmed and filed before painting. Even the most accomplished artist can’t create an attractive design on nails that have been bitten down to stubs. If your natural nails are beyond repair, consider applying artificial acrylic nails before painting your design.

Once you’ve painted your nails with a neutral base coat, you can draw your design using a special thin-tipped nail brush. However, beginners may choose to improvise by creating their designs with a bobby pin or toothpick. Regardless of which application method you choose, it’s best to use a cotton swab and pure acetone to remove any polish application mistakes. Work as fast as possible, since nail polish dries fairly quickly. To save time, have a separate brush for each color of polish.

There are many different methods you can use to come up with nail art designs. Many beginners like to copy from pictures they have found on the Internet or in books. Some larger nail salons also offer classes for people interested in learning how to do their own art. However, even people with minimal artistic talent can learn to freehand geometric shapes or floral designs.

While most nail art designs are created simply using various colors of nail polish, you can add sparkle to your designs by mixing glitter into one or more of the polish colors before painting your nails. Using stick-on jewels is another great way to jazz up a simple motif. Tiny stickers can make it easier to create more elaborate designs.

Once you’ve finished your design, proper maintenance will help keep your nail art in top condition for as long as possible. Apply a coat of protective clear nail polish every two or three days for the duration of your manicure. Wear gloves when doing tasks that may damage your nails and resist the urge to pick or bite your nails.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dana Hinders
By Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to her work as a freelance writer. After discovering her passion for freelance writing following the birth of her son, Dana has been a vital part of the BeautyAnswered team. She also showcases her versatility by creating sales copy and content for e-courses and blogs.
Discussion Comments
By anon336369 — On May 28, 2013

How do you create nail polish designs on a plastic bag?

By anon268561 — On May 14, 2012

@MissMuffet: You can cut a plastic bag in half and do the design on there. Wait about three or four hours to dry and peel off with a set of tweezers.

By angelBraids — On May 04, 2011

@MissMuffet - I know exactly what you mean. Don't feel bad, this is a problem for a lot of women. I swear by nail art stencils, as they work equally well on both hands.

You just have to put one onto each nail, paint over it and then carefully peel it off! You may not have the same choices as if you did it yourself from scratch, but it's a good compromise.

By MissMuffet — On May 01, 2011

I tried to do some Halloween themed nail art myself last year, but it was a bit of a disaster! As I am right handed I found it nearly impossible to make a good job when I had to use my left.

Are there any tips for this problem? I would love to be able to do this properly. Somebody save me from endless salon treatments!

By ahain — On Apr 03, 2011

This is a fun hobby, especially if you're artistic. Another variant on nail art is 3D nail art -- just as the name sounds, it takes the adornments on the fingernails beyond just paint.

3D nail art usually involves creating tiny sculptures with polymer clay and gluing them to the surface of the fingernails, but nail art supplies like puffy stickers and self-adhesive rhinestones are also available to create a variety of effects.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to...
Learn more
BeautyAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

BeautyAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.