Minimalist Manicure Trends for Short Nails

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Those of us with short nails may not have room for intricate or overly complex nail designs, but we can rock minimalist looks like no one’s business. Here are some of our favorite manicure trends for short nails that you can do from the comfort of your own home!

Half Moons

(image via pinterest)

The half-moon manicure is the French tip’s darker, edgier sister. It is a beautiful look for any nail shape and can be achieved with a striping tool, a dotting tool, and a steady hand. For a reverse half-moon manicure, paint your nails a bold color; once dry, apply a binder-reinforcer sticker to the base of the nail, then paint over the sticker and the exposed area of your nail with another shade. Finally, peel the sticker off and finish with a glossy topcoat.


(image via artist hue)

Watercolors look great with gel polish, but you can re-create the look with classic formulas. Simply paint your nails with a white or nude base coat and pick out your “watercolors” (varying polish shades). Using a thin nail brush, drop some water onto the nail, then dip some polish into the dot. Repeat, letting the colors swirl around one another until you get your desired look. Finally, use a napkin to dab any excess water off and seal it with a matte or glossy topcoat.

Abstract Shapes

(image via cosmopolitan via @thehangedit)

Abstract nail designs like this typically require little more than a dotting tool, and the finished result can be unique! Play around with shapes and colors, and if you’re feeling extra fancy, outline your designs with a striping tool in a contrasting color to make your nails pop!

Line Art

(image via pinterest)

Line art for nails is super-easy to accomplish – all you need is a striping tool. It’ll have people thinking you spent much more time on your nails than you actually did! Don’t overthink the placement of your lines and squiggles (there’s no right or wrong here); just have fun with it!

Just a Dot

(image via pinterest)

Here’s a look that’s truly foolproof! It’s a simple design, but it looks classy and elegant – especially on short nails! To make the dots more purposeful, use a coat or two of nude polish underneath. For a little more oomph, use a sparkly topcoat!

Twinkle Twinkle

image via popsugar via @jessicawashick)

This nail design is deceivingly elaborate, but all you’ll need is polish, a dotting tool, and a thin nail brush to achieve it. Start with a dot of polish on the area of the nail you want the sparkle, then pull polish from the top, bottom, and left and right. Don’t overdo it! If the dot is too thick, it won’t dry; if it’s too thin, it won’t have that tapered sparkle look as pictured above. If you make the latter mistake, dip your thin nail brush into the color and clean up the lines.

Do you have a favorite minimalist manicure trend for short nails? Share with us in the comments below!

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