20 Super-Cute Valentine's Day Nail Art Designs to Fall in Love With


cutepolish/YouTube

Now that the 14th is approaching, they say that love is in the air ... why not have it at our fingertips, too? With sweet hues of pink and bold shades of reds -- oh, and let's not forget the sparkling glitter and cute lil hearts -- Valentine's Day is one of those holidays made just for nail art. Whether we're going to be celebrating the day with our true love, kids, BFF, or even ourselves (and a big box of chocolate, obviously), we deserve to have gorgeous V-day-inspired nails. 

Holiday nails are undeniably festive, and Valentine's Day nails truly just take the cake! They serve as a tribute to the cute and crafty Valentine's Day cards we used to trade with each other in grade school. Plus, I hear that fun and festive Valentine's Day nails are a great way to snag our crush's attention ... 

But on the real, despite whatever we have planned for Valentine's Day, treating ourselves to an adorable manicure is one of the best ways to remind ourselves that we're also our own Valentine and we deserve some TLC and pretty nails to boot.

While there are zillions of ideas floating around the Internet, so we've rounded up 20 of the coolest, cutest, and just a little unusual Valentine-inspired nail art designs. And don't worry -- some are a little more complicated than others, but anyone really can do any of these themselves! 

  • 1. Love at the Tip of Our Fingers

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    A subversive twist makes for a sexy V-day nail that actually wouldn't be too hard to do! To make the hearts even easier to do, try a nail art pen like the Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Pen. Or, watch this super quick tutorial to see how the WAH London nail artists do it!

  • 2. Conversation Hearts (Subversion Optional)

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    Haha! Of course, we can change the messages to suit our mood. Here's a great conversation heart nail art tutorial. Or, if we want them to be picture perfect candy hearts, we can try these nail decals.

  • 3. L-O-V-E Nails

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    Super cute and simple! We could simplify this even more by doing just a plain, pretty heart on our thumb. We can use any kind of letter stickers to spell out LOVE, like these inexpensive scrapbooking stickers, then be sure to use a top coat to seal the look. For in-depth instructions, check out this YouTuber's great nail art tutorial!

  • 4. Super Fancy Embellished Nail Art

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    Terrance Terry

    Terrance Terry -- Essie educator and brand ambassador, celebrity manicurist, and StyleSeat advocate -- created this gorgeous look. Here's how to recreate it (of course, we can always skip any of the designs that seem too hard and double up on an easier one!):

    Step 1. Give nails a mild, rounded shape by filing straight across to build the square shape and then gradually filing off the corners.

    Step 2. Polish all nails using a pale pink (like Fiji by Essie). Then apply a vibrant red (like Lollipop by Essie) to the middle fingers.

    Step 3. Now it’s time to create the accents using a small nail art brush. Paint a small heart toward the center of the ring fingernail using red. On the other hand, use black polish (like Licorice by Essie) to write “Love.” For the spiral damask-inspired design on the index finger, use the brush to create curvy strokes and scattered dots using red.

    Step 4. Create a dreamy ombré effect for the pinkie finger by applying both red and pale pink polish and mixing on the nail with a toothpick.  

    Step 5. Apply a top coat (like Essie's No Chips Aheadto the middle fingers and place rhinestones along the base of the nail while the polish is wet. Use a toothpick to guide rhinestones into place. (Tons of inexpensive nail rhinestones can be found at Walmart!)

    A top coat will keep everything shiny and strong. 

  • 5. Graphic Hearts

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    Jin Soon Choi

    Created by the amazing Jin Soon Choi, founder of the JINsoon nail lacquer line and Jin Soon Spas in NYC, this LOOKS ultra chic and ultra hard to do, but it's easier than it appears! Check out the next slide for the steps!

  • Graphic Hearts: Step by Step!

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    Jin Soon Choi

    Step 1: Apply a base coat like JINsoon Power Coat

    Step 2: Create the first zig-zag / step with a pale pink nude (Jin gives a sneak peak of "Doux" from her upcoming SS15 collection here!) --  drawing a zig zag line closer to the center of the nail and fill it in to the tip. (We should end up with what looks like two rectangles of different sizes joined together.) 

    Step 3: Using JINsoon Coral Peony, trace over the zig zag above the first one. (Make sure to leave enough negative space at the cuticle line.) 

    Step 4: Using JINsoon Coquette, draw hearts at the pale pink layer, then apply a glossy top coat like JINsoon Top Gloss to finish the look.

  • 6. Red and Pink Polka Dots

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    If we don't want to get literal and use hearts in our art, we can get into the Valentine spirit with red and pink polka dots. The easiest way to make polka dots is with a nail art tool (Butter London has a great nail art kit for those who are really into this stuff!), but a toothpick will work as well.

  • 7. Polka Dots & Hearts!

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    ... Or we could go for polka dots AND hearts! The variations in this nail-art look really make it cool. We can have fun with where we place the hearts, and paint one nail the same color as our other hearts, with a heart the same color as the base coat on the rest of our nails. Check out this fab little tutorial for some more guidance.

  • 8. Lots of Heart

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    Understated, but it has a lot of heart. (HA! GET IT?) Making the little hearts is easy with a little practice: Just put two small roundish blobs of polish right next to each other (so they touch in the middle). Then, using a nail art tool, thin brush, or toothpick, slide from the middle of the top part of the heart, gently pulling the polish down into a point to form the bottom of the heart.

  • 9. Negative Space Heart Nails

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    I love this negative space heart design -- very cool and different. To create those hearts, first paint them in with white polish, and then use acetone on a Q-tip to carefully remove all but the outline. Neat-o! Check out a great visual tutorial from Alice of One Nail to Rule Them All.

  • 10. Pop Heart

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    Another design by Jon Soon Choi that I HAD to include! Who says everything has to be pink and red? To create this look, Jin Soon used Jin Soon Pop Orange Nail Lacquer and Jin Soon Poppy Blue Nail Lacquer. Use a toothpick to create the orange dotted hearts over the blue base, and don't worry about making them perfect!

  • 11. Pretty in Pink ... and Baby Blue

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    I love the pop of the shiny red glitter heart against the pastel, retro pink and baby blue. Watch this easy half moon manicure tutorial to see how to work with the pink and blue. Then, use NCLA "Love Me" heart glitter polish for a picture-perfect heart on each nail.

  • 12. Heart Rate

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    Why stop at the heart shape for Valentine's Day nails? Try imitating Lily Ngo's heartbeat design! It's a super simple design to pull off too. Just use a nail art tool or toothpick and draw spiky triangles along the nail, like in the image. 

  • 13. Ombré Nails

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    Creating an ombré effect is super easy, all that's needed are three shades of polish, scotch tape, and a disposable makeup sponge! Check out this helpful YouTube tutorial by Lily Zhen.

  • 14. Scripted 'Love'

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    This manicure is so simple and chic. To get the look, just use a nail art tool and carefully write out a word like "love" onto the side of the nail, just like Courtney's Gel Nails did. To be honest, any word can be used!

  • 15. Roses Are Red

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    This rose manicure is super feminine, and also looks way more complicated than it really is! Two shades of pink (or red) and two nail art tools or toothpicks for the detail work are all it takes! Check out the tutorial by islaay.

  • 16. Marbled Hearts

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    Looking for a more psychedelic nail look? Try water marbled heart nail art! Drop pink, white, and red polishes into a small bottle cap filled with water, drag it into a heart (it's easier than one would think!), then let it dry into a decal. Use tweezers to pick it up, and gently press it onto a freshly painted nail, so that it sticks! Check out the tutorial by cutepolish on YouTube.

  • 17. The Anti-Heart

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    Not into cutesy hearts? Try this minimalist and sophisticated nail art look that's still very Valentine's Day–friendly! According to the YouTube tutorial by cutepolish, just paint one coat of a shimmery or glittery polish, then paint a solid color on top but not right next to the cuticle, which allows a little bit of the shimmer to peek through.

  • 18. Dragged Hearts

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    Get these melty swirly hearts by using a nail art tool or toothpick to add dots throughout the nail, and then drag the tool through the center of the dots to shape them into hearts. Check out the tutorial from My Simple Little Pleasures on YouTube.

  • 19. Dotted Up

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    After painting the nails a bright white, use a nail art tool or toothpick to create a bunch of dots in different shades of pink and red. For a fun twist, leave a white space in the shape of a heart, inspired by The Daily Nail

  • 20. Love at First Sight

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    How cute are these cartoon eyes? They're so easy to do with white and black nail polish, some nail art tools, or toothpicks. Julia Murphree certainly has an eye for detail.

nails beauty valentine's day

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