Hitting the salon for a fresh set of beautiful nails can magically make a bad day so much better. After all, our manicures are a fantastic way for us to showcase our creativity and engage in a gorgeous form of personal expression. Judging on how far beautiful nail designs have come today, it’s not surprising that we let our hands do the talking.
Beautiful nail art has an impressively long and rich history. We may not know for sure when the first “manicure” ever took place, but we do know that back in ancient times, the Egyptians dyed their nails orange with henna. Then, during the Ming Dynasty in China, people who lived there came up with a recipe to color their nails using egg whites, beeswax, vegetable dyes, and Arabic gum. Meanwhile, the Romans used the remains of dead sheep to paint their nails pink. (Yuck! Aren’t you so glad we have modern nail polish today?) Many of the ancient cultures used these nail polishes as symbols of class and significance, and of course, their options were limited back in those times.
These days, we’re blessed to have a wide range of beautiful nail designs out there — and anyone who wants to can have impressive nail designs on their fingertips. From elegant French manicures and short acrylic nails to kawaii Japanese nail art, so many cultures have shared this type of unique beauty with the world. It’s no wonder why so many people are inspired to come up with creative and beautiful nail art of their own — and why we’re so excited to share some of our favorite beautiful nails you can find on the internet today.
Scroll down to find a photo of beautiful nails you love, then click on one of the circular buttons below the image to share it instantly with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!
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Butterfly Nail Art
There are few creatures in nature lovelier than butterflies, so that’s why we were so wowed by this beautiful nail art that replicates the pretty insect so well. Even the bug’s antennae are perfectly spot-on! The manicure posted by Instagram user @nails4cocktails gets extra bonus points for not matching perfectly on every single nail, yet still making sense as a whole.
Get the Look: A professional set of nail tools, like Sephora's Tough As Nails Deluxe Manicure Kit ($20, Sephora), is the key to nail upkeep. If you're inspired to paint your own manicure, protect the finished product with a quick-drying, chip-resistant top coat. Try out butter LONDON's Hardwear Shine UV Topcoat ($18, Amazon), which offers UV protection that prevents color fading.
Beautiful Nail Art
3-D Nail Art
These beautiful nail designs all come together to create an elegant look, complete with eye-popping flowers, small shiny stones, and a striking black shade. Posted by Instagram user @nailsbynatalya, this gel nail art provides a lovely long-lasting alternative to putting the same elaborate design on every single nail. The fact that it has 3-D elements to it makes it even more special and striking.
Get the Look: If you're painting your nails one color, make sure it's a color you're happy about wearing every day. Use the Julep Color Fan ($8, Amazon) as a blank canvas to swatch your nail polishes, so it's easy to identify which hue you actually want. Plus, you'll feel like a pro!
Beautiful Nail Designs
Shiny Nail Art
Between the sparkling stones and the shimmering glitter, we’re not even sure where to look first with these beautiful nails. We can only imagine all the time and effort that Instagram user @nailsbymztina must have put in while arranging all the bits and pieces of the unique nail designs together, making sure that not a single speck was out of place or out of line for the show-stopping look.
Get the Look: Once you've painted on a base coat, a crystalline look is only a few gems away. Apply iridescent rhinestones, like Zealer's Nail Art Mixed Flat Backed Rhinestones Gems ($5.99, Amazon), with nail glue.
Beautiful Nails Art
Neon Nail Art
It’s not super shocking that it was Instagram user @nailsbynadia_’s birthday when she debuted these beautiful nails. After all, the standout neon look is practically a party all over the hands! To achieve this colorful nail design, all she used was the Pipe Dream Polish Vegas Collection and a stamping head. Who knew that a few key colors like that could come together to create such an artistic fashion statement?
Get the Look: Love to experiment with all the hues of the rainbow? Switch up your nail color easily — or apply multiple shades at once — with the 24 vibrant nail polishes in SHANY Cosmetics The Cosmopolitan Nail Polish Set ($23.75, Amazon).
Beautiful Nails Mermaid
Mermaid Nail Art
We don’t know about you, but these beautiful nails are making us want to break into our own little rendition of “Under the Sea!” This talented Instagram user's pretty mermaid-inspired design showcases the lovely scales that the mythical creatures are known for in old tales. Not only do the shapes and sizes of all the scales look perfectly uniform and aligned with each other, they also boast a fabulous ombré effect, thanks to an artistic mixture of a few dreamy colors.
Get the Look: Create this summer look with Fiji Infinite Shine 2 Collection ($13, Ulta). Enjoy the calming, dreamy hue (literally) at your fingertips.
Beautiful Nails Purple
Purple Nail Art
If purple is your color, look no further than this beautiful nail design to suit all your favorite outfits and accessories. Posted by Instagram user @makeupbyannki, these beautiful nails came to be thanks to Kiss Products — and according to her, they lasted for more than two weeks straight and still looked pretty after time spent cooking, working out, and washing her hands several times.
Get the Look: A nail primer, like butter LONDON's Nail Foundation Priming Base Coat ($18, butter LONDON), prevents polish from staining nails and smooths out ridges. Beyond the aesthetic benefits, a manicure lasts longer with a primer base.
Beautiful Nails Sparkly
Sparkly Nail Art
This beautiful nail art is certainly not for the faint of heart! The eye-popping design, posted by @nailsbybabiee, is courtesy of some diamond dipping powder. We’ve never even heard of putting a product like that on our nails, but even the name sounds like the epitome of luxury. We’re sure these beautiful nails shine even brighter than some of the stars do after the sun sets!
Get the Look: For a sparkly sheen with a no-fuss application, brush on essie Luxeffects Top Coat ($5.70, Amazon) after you've painted your base nail color. The top coat comes in three glittery variations: rose gold, silver, and gold.
Beautiful Nails Mickey
Mickey Mouse Nail Art
It’s everyone’s favorite Disney character on some seriously beautiful nails — in sign language form! We would all recognize Mickey Mouse’s signature gloves anywhere, but we find it especially touching that they spell out the word “love” here. Posted by @nailsbyarelii, this beautiful nail art is especially striking with the pink background behind all the different glove shapes, making them stand out even more to anyone who catches a glimpse.
Get the Look: Nail stencil stickers, like eBoot's Nail Stencil Sticker Sheets ($7.58, Amazon), add fun patterns and shapes with little effort. Simply press a sticker over dried polish, paint nails again, and then peel off the sticker. Add a top coat, and you're all set!
Beautiful Nails Dessert
Dessert Nail Art
It’s a good thing that these desserts are on top of nails instead of plates, because they are way too cute to eat! To achieve this fabulous nail art, Instagram user @vicsnails used the Kawaii Emoji BM-XL323 stamping plate from Bundle Monster ($22.40, Amazon).
Get the Look: Nail stamping plates can be reused over and over again, so they're cost-effective in the long run. Check out the Nail Art Image Stamping Polish Steel Template Kit ($7.99, Amazon) to get started. One Amazon reviewer writes that the kit is "a great product for a beginner!"
Beautiful Nails Galaxy
Galaxy Nail Art
We’re huge fans of anything astronomy-related, so it should come as little shock that we’re left totally starstruck by these “galaxy nails.” To create this shining look, Instagram user @motivation_nails used two coats of shimmery blue and purple polish, then topped that with a couple coats of sparkle polish. It just goes to show that a little bit of mixing and matching with colors can truly go a long way!
Get the Look: For touchable nails in just a few minutes, add one to two drops of butter LONDON's P.D. Quick Dry Drops ($18, butter LONDON) to the base of each nail one minute after you apply polish. You'll be dry in no time.
Beautiful Nails 3d Flowers
3-D Flower Nail Art
Is it just us, or does this design remind anyone else of a lovely piece of jewelry? This creative Instagram user's beautiful nail designs practically guarantee "oohs and ahhs" from anyone who happens to see them. After all, if we caught a glimpse of these beauties on our nails, we’d be the first to say that we wouldn't be able to look away!
Get the Look: If you're constantly wearing polish, keep your nails strong and healthy with a strengthening treatment, like OPI's Nail Envy Nail Strengthener Original Formula ($17.95, Ulta). The nutrient-rich formula lets your nails breathe while strengthening and rebuilding. Plus, the neutral hue is positively gorgeous.
Beautiful Nails Burgers
Burger Nail Art
Who doesn’t love a good burger every now and then? This adorable nail art design, posted by Instagram user @wahnails, displays quite possibly the cutest burgers we’ve ever seen on an eye-popping pink background. For once, we actually don’t want to eat them and just want to admire them instead!
Get the Look: Use a glass nail file, like Sephora's Crystal Nail File ($10, Sephora), to gently shape your pointers. SuperNail's Cuticle Softener & Remover ($5.08, Amazon) also helps condition cuticles, so they're easier to push back and make way for a decorative manicure.