Valentine’s Day nails can be cheesy, but these designs from nail pros Chelsea King (Revlon’s nail ambasador) and Simcha Whitehill aka Miss Pop (Creative Nail Design’s new nail guru) are anything but (well, minus the pizza nails, which are literally cheesy).
1. Pretty Pastel Tips
1. Paint on a pale peach base color. Skip applying a base coat and opt for a formula that has one built in. Chelsea used Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy in “Up in Charms” here.
2. Swipe a diagonal line across your nail on the left side. Using the brush that comes with the bottle, paint a diagonal line using a pastel color of your choice. Chelsea used a mint green shade here. “To make this as easy as possible, start with a thin diagonal line and gradually add layers to make it thicker,” she says.
3. Pick another pastel hue and create another diagonal line on the left side. Allow the left sides of your nails to dry before going back and painting the right sides to avoid smudging any of the lacquer. Try choosing shades from Deborah Lippmann’s Sweets For My Sweet Pastel Nail Polish Set.
4. Choose two or three pale polishes and alternate them on the right sides of your nails. When you’re creating the diagonal line on the opposite side of your nail, allow the shades to overlap ever so slightly to finish the look. (If you need to steady your hand, rest your elbow of the arm you’re painting with on a table.)
Finally, swipe on some top coat and Insta your nails to show off your chic design.
2. Dreamy Dripping Heart Nails
1. Sweep on two coats of a pretty pastel pink base color, then create tiny hearts. Again, skip base coat if the formula comes with it built in. Chelsea used Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy in “Lucky in Love” here. Next, with the smaller end of a dotter tool, dip the tip into a purple metallic polish and create the outline of a heart. If you don’t have a dotter tool handy, you can use the bulbous tip of a bobby pin as an alternative. You can either leave the hearts with negative space or fill them in based on your liking.
2. Choose another polish and create more hearts. Using the same technique as step one, draw on two more hearts (about four or five hearts will fit on one nail, depending on how large you make them). Try a gold like Dior Vernis Long Wear Nail Lacquer in “Vibrato.”
3. Clean the dotter tool off with nail polish remover, and use a tiny bit more of the purple polish to create the dripping effect. To do so, gently drag the polish from the heart downward.
4. Wipe the dotter tool off again and repeat step three with the polish you used in step two. Again, repeat the dripping effect with the technique from step three. P.S.: Chelsea chose to do this look as an accent nail, but you can also do it on all of your nails if you’re really into the design.
Finish with top coat and voilà: super-cute tips!
3. Pretty Pizza Nails
1. Lay down a blue base. After you apply basecoat, apply two coats of a neon aquamarine blue on your nails. Charlotte used Essie Nail Polish in “I’m Addicted.”
2. Create triangles for the pizza slices. With a striper brush, on your middle fingers, make two triangles that touch and single triangles on your pinky and thumb fingers using an opaque yellow polish, like CND Vinylux in “Bicycle Yellow.”
3. Create cheese drippings and the crust. Using the small end of a dotter tool and yellow polish, make tiny teardrops to mimic cheese dripping off the slice. Then, dip the large side of a dotter tool into black polish and dot it along the top of the triangle. Try Orly Nail Polish in “Liquid Vinyl.” This creates the base for the crust so it looks outlined when you top it with taupe polish later.
4. Outline the pizza slices with black polish using a striper brush.
5. Make pepperoni pieces with a red nail polish and the small end of a dotter. Try RGB Nail Polish in “Too Red.”
6. Create two dots with the smaller side of the dotter and connect them with a V. Then, fill in the triangle to make a heart above the pizza slices. Then, use the same technique to create a single heart on your pointer and ring fingernails.
7. Top the black crust with a taupe polish and the small end of a dotter tool. Charlotte used Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in “Fashion.”
8. Let your artwork dry and add topcoat to seal everything in.
4. Chic Heart Nail Art
1. File your nails into a slight almond shape. That way, the heart will appear more heart-shaped when you apply the polish onto the tips of your nails. After filing your tips into shape, apply a base coat.
2. Stroke the brush once to the left, making the top of the heart rounded and dragging the brush to the center tip of your nail. Brooke used Deborah Lippmann “Love in the Dunes,” which is a purple-gray shade. Give the polish a few minutes to dry before moving on to the next step to keep the polish from smearing.
3. Stroke the brush once to the right to complete the heart. Wait a few minutes and then use a topcoat to finish off your look.
5. Pale Pink Marble Tips
1. Post-basecoat, paint your nails with two coats of a pale pink hue. Isabel used Essie Nail Polish in “Fiji.”
2. Apply a pearlescent pink polish on to the corner of a makeup sponge. A sponge will impart just the right amount of sparkle onto your nail to create the same look when light hits marble and subtly glistens. Isabel used O.P.I. Nail Lacquer in “Pedal Faster Susie.”
3. Dab the sponge on a couple of spots on your nails, and then let them dry.
4. Creates veins similar to ones that marble contains with thin pink lines. Using a toothpick or striper brush, dip your tool in a bubblegum pink polish, like NCLA in “Like…Totally Valley Girl,” and drag it in different directions on your nail. The more your hand shakes, the better this will look, so don’t make the line perfectly straight. Finish with topcoat and then take a nail selfie, aka nailfie.
6. Lipstick Mark Mani
1. Paint on two coats of a pinky-nude polish. After applying one layer of basecoat, paint on a pinkish nude shade like O.P.I. Classic Nail Lacquer in “Samoan Sand.”
2. Apply topcoat to your nails and then draw lips using a striper brush and red polish. You have to work on one nail at a time with this look, so you can manipulate the red polish to make the lips look real. Layering on topcoat allows you to move the red polish around more easily in the next step. Apply Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat first, then draw the lips on with Dior Vernis in “Rouge 999.”
3. Take the small end of a dotter and etch vertical lines in the lips to make them look realistic. Wipe off the dotter in between with a tissue to get excess product off; that way the lips don’t look gloppy.
4. Wait a hot second for your nails to dry, then add more topcoat to seal in the look.
7. I Love You So Matcha Mani
1. Apply basecoat and then top your nails with two coats of a pastel blue polish. Helin used Essie Nail Polish in “Borrowed and “Blue.” Allow it to dry for a few minutes.
2. Draw an eye on your pinky nail. Using a striper brush and black polish, create an almond shape for the eye and give it lashes. Use the large end of a dotter tool to give it an eye color, and then the smaller end to give it a pupil using the same black polish. Helin chose a bright blue. Try Wet n’ Wild Wild Shine Nail Color in “Black Creme” and Zoya Nail Polish in “Cecilia.”
3. Create a heart with pink polish on your ring finger using a striper brush, and then a “U” with black lacquer. Clean the striper brush off with acetone polish so you don’t mix the two colors. Use the black polish from step two and a pink polish like Lauren B. Beauty in “Clueless.”
4. Write “SOOO” on your middle finger with black polish and a striper brush.
5. Draw a coffee cup on your nail in white polish using a striper brush. With white opaque polish, create a circle as the top of the cup and add a horseshoe shape to the bottom to create the actual cup. Fill in the horseshoe, then draw a handle on the cup. Once that dries, add some pastel lime polish as the matcha tea. Try Nars Nail Polish in “Ecume” and RickyColor in “Hudson Valley Getaway.”
Next, create the saucer by drawing another circle under cup, and outline the outer corner of it in black polish with the striper brush. Use the same black polish and striper brush to create eyes and a mouth on the cup, as well as steam lines coming out of the matcha tea.
Finally, clean off your striper brush and use the pink polish from step three to give the cup some blushing cheeks.
6. Draw “Bae” or your significant other’s name on your thumbnail in black polish.