For the fashionista who wants to combine a love of manicures with a love of texting, emoji nails are the answer. Thanks to the ever-expanding library of emojis, you have plenty of inspiration when searching for new, fun shapes to incorporate into your next mani. Whether you choose to draw them on with nail art pens or prefer the ease of stickers, nail painters of all skill levels can master this look. If you don’t feel like doing the hard work yourself, head to your local salon and let them work their magic.
50 Unique Emoji Nail Ideas to Revive a Boring Manicure
Emoji nail designs come in a wide variety of options. You have the classic look, which features smiley faces painted on top of a solid color. Yet there are so many more choices! You can choose whatever expression fits your mood. Maybe today you’re feeling the winking emoji and tomorrow the heart eyes. Or maybe you don’t want to use a smiley face at all. Unicorns, rainbows, and even the ever-popular poo emoji have all been used for emoji nail art before. If none of those strikes your fancy, create your own emoji design! Use nail art pens to draw in whatever shapes and expressions you want.
While blue or purple is a great color for an emoji manicure due to its high contrast with yellow, you can use anything from glitter polish to matte white. A translucent yellow polish or acrylic nails can work with the yellow of your smiley faces without obscuring them. Start with a color that seems the most fun to you, and then pick your images based on that color scheme. Mix and match two or three colors, or try a different color for every finger! This look is so versatile and allows you to experiment to make it your own.
Make your emoji nails last for weeks to come by following proper prep and care instructions. For an at-home manicure, start with clean, trimmed nails and push back your cuticles with a rosewood cuticle stick. Prime the nail with a clear base coat and let it dry fully before starting on your manicure. Let each layer dry completely before adding the next one. We know it’s tempting to rush — but don’t! You’ll end up with uneven or even bumpy polish.
Once your base color is complete, add your design or nail decals. Use a hair dryer on a low setting to make the stickers more pliable and to smooth out any bubbles. Now you can add a glitter coat if desired. Finally, finish off with a layer of clear top coat to seal it all in. It’s tempting to skip the top coat, but it’s crucial for a long-lasting manicure. Plus it gives you an extra layer of shine that will look super professional in the Instagram snaps of your new nails!
Now that you know how to prep and care for your manicure, it’s time to get to the emoji nail ideas! The following fifty ideas are all super pretty and cover a wide range of styles. You’re sure to find one you love!
1. The Classic Emoji Throwback Look
Add a little nostalgia to your manicure with a throwback to the classic emojis. Heart eyes, kisses, and peace signs are well-recognized symbols from the early days of emojis. And if you really want to get a few laughs from your nail art, throw in the pooer, we mean the “chocolate swirl” — for fun!
2. Simple Yet Filled With Sass
Short on time? Looking to make your nails fun yet still professional? Emoji nails don’t need to be over-the-top. Try the always easy French manicure with a single emoji on each hand. Pick your favorite, or pick one to reflect your mood. Can we say eye roll, anyone?
3. Easy Yet Creative Pastel Colored Cuties
Be creative! A cute set of pastel-colored emojis looks totes adorbs for any situation. Really show off your style by making the design your own. Create a variety of expressions to keep your manicure interesting and playful. Or choose whatever expressions best match your mood.
4. Poppin’ with High Contrast Colors
We’re all about layering, and your nails are no exception! Start with a solid base color (dark blue is a nice contrast with the traditional yellow smiley) and then pick two or three nails on each hand to layer up on your emoji design. Overlapping designs look the best. Then add a single smiley to your remaining nails for a coordinated look.
5. Cash Rules Everything Around Me
Proud of your latest side hustle? Show it off on your nails! A green base color, whether a light pastel or a dark, forest green, looks excellent when paired with your own rendition of the money emoji. Choose a single nail from each hand to sport your art, or layer them on all your nails to show you’re rolling in the moola.
6. Matte Black Plus Neon Emojis Equals Glowing Perfection
One of the newest trends in nail polish is the matte look. And what better way to accent your matte manicure than with some neon emojis? Choose bright colored nail art pens and trace only the outlines instead of filling them in. It will give your art a liquid chalk look.
7. Tons of Fun in the Sun
With the variety of emojis out there, you’re sure to find ones that fit your current mood regardless of the season. Start a trip to the beach with a sky blue manicure, then layer on some summer-themed art like a beach umbrella or a smiling sun.
8. All That Glitters is Yellow (Emojis)
Get a little wild with your emoji manicure. Paint your smiley faces upside down, sideways, or even split them in half like in this snazzy look. Add some glitter polish either over all your nails or only on the non-emoji ones to give your look that extra sparkle.
9. It’s Getting Too Hot in Here
This flaming hot manicure makes use of beautiful blue glitter polish and some contrasting orange flames. Add in some angry faces and devil emoji stickers for a look that says “I’m too hot to handle.” The bright colors and glitter are what really pull everything together for a finished look.
10. Long, Strong, and Got It Goin’ On
Nails for days! Go all out with a long, sparkling manicure complete with 3D emojis in all shapes and sizes. These extra long nails leave plenty of room for all the smiling, laughing, and winking faces you could want. The 3D effect really makes it pop.
11. The Reverse Frenchie (Manicure, That Is)
You’ve heard of the French manicure – but have you tried the reverse? Leave a sliver at the base of your nails unpainted — or try a clear or skin-tone color for a subtle yet still shiny effect — and then paint the rest of the nail a bright color. It creates the perfect base to use nail pens and sketch on your favorite emoji faces.
12. Pretty in Pastel Pink and Sparkles
Pastel pink is another great background color that really makes your smiley faces pop. Mix it up with other simple shapes like flowers and hearts for an extra cute look. For a super fab touch, add some glitter polish on top of a few shapes, such as a pink or purple polish over your hearts.
13. I Choose You! Cartoon Throwback
Who says you can’t mix up your emoji love with some of your other favorite throwbacks from childhood? We love this emoji nail idea that uses a cute little Pikachu! He may not technically be an emoji, but his color scheme certainly fits right in! Any childhood cartoon is fair game for creating a whimsical manicure.
14. Surprise Hint of Color with a Black Manicure
If you like emoji nail ideas using a black background for your manicure but want to add a little extra shine, paint one or two nails on each hand with an extra bright metallic or glitter polish. Pink is an excellent color to keep your nails from looking too dark.
15. Translucent Yellow Acrylic Smiley Face Nails
Acrylic nails can get in on the emoji trend too. A translucent yellow base is perfect for adding your favorite smiley expressions on top of, whether you choose to use nail art pens or stickers to create your look. With fake nails, you won’t have to worry about your color chipping away over time.
16. Complementary Colors Equal Lots of Compliments
Complementary colors aren’t just for art school! With all the yellow used in emojis, purple is a great choice for your background polish color. It’s yellow’s complementary pairing so it really makes the design stand out. Choose a pastel purple for a subtle effect or a dark purple for something more daring.
17. Black and Red Tapered Nail Design
What’s black, red, and yellow all over? This stylish tapered manicure! Heart emojis over a black, glossy polish paired with a bright red accent nail makes this look super chic. Bright and bold, it shows you mean business For longer nails, taper the sides to create a unique shape instead of the traditional square.
18. White Doesn’t Have to be Bland
While matte black makes yellow pop, matte white is the perfect background to show off your artistic skills. Break out the nail pens and add the shading and details that will bring your emojis to life. Thanks to the white background, every detail of your artistry will be visible. Those with a creative side will especially enjoy trying their hand at this look.
19. It’s Hip to be Square
Who says emojis have to be round? Use your yellow nail polish for the background and draw their tiny faces right on top — no outline needed. This turns your entire nail into a face and makes your stylish manicure visible from across the room. Emoji nails like this design provide a great alternative when the classic emoji design is a little too goofy for your taste.
20. Put It All Together Now
Why choose your images at random when you can choose your favorite words or phrase instead? A black or white fine tip nail pen makes it easy to write out words underneath the appropriate emoji. One or two words per nail mean you can fit up to a ten-word phrase on one hand alone. It works well when you really need to get your message across.
21. The French Manicure with a Rainbow Twist
This beautiful take on a classic French manicure uses a different color to paint the tip of each nail. It’s a colorful way to have some fun with your nails without going too wild. Bright, neon colors match the playful feel of this emoji nail design. This look screams pretty summer vibes.
22. Glam! Flash! Bling! Emojis
To dress up a simple look, try a French manicure and add some white stars or sparkles to your nails. Paint them on with a nail pen so you can vary the size to create that “just had my photo taken” flash effect. Everyone will be seeing stars — but in a good way.
23. Playing Around with Shades of Purple
This manicure is too cute! It combines some of the best ideas for emoji nails all in one: complementary colors, glitter, and matte white. By varying between matte white, regular purple, and sparkling purple for the base colors, you create an awesome and trendy look. Those who fear to commit to just one style will find this look is their soulmate.
24. Get to the Point Already!
If you’re going with an emoji nail design, don’t hold back! Bling it out with glitter polish, sequins, and pointed nails. It’s a look that’s both gorgeous and daring. Emoji devils are the perfect finishing touch to this mischievous manicure.
25. A Fun and Fruity Twist
Get a little playful with your emoji manicure and add some foods. From the infamous eggplant and peach to tasty treats like the lollipop, adding food emojis is a cute way to incorporate emojis into your design without using any faces.
26. Race to the Checkered Flag
Emojis look so cute when paired with red, white, and black. Have fun with patterns by doing a white and black checkered look across one or more of your nails. If you’re a NASCAR fan (or just like fast cars!) add a car emoji in bright red.
27. Stylish, Sleek, and Oh So Simple
Sometimes simple is beautiful. If you want to keep your manicure natural but still add a creative touch, try a French manicure with a single emoji on each hand. Pick whatever expression or symbol fits your mood that week. Instead of a mood ring, you’ll have mood nails.
28. Yellow Nails for Days and Days
Who says you can’t pair yellow with yellow? By choosing a semi-transparent bright yellow acrylic nail set, you can add your emoji designs on top without them blending in too much. The longer your nails, the more tiny faces you can fit on them!
29. Keeping It Classic in Black and Yellow
What’s black, yellow, and buzz-worthy? No, not a bee! It’s this simple emoji manicure. Bright yellow nail polish provides a base to draw on little emoji expressions with a black nail art pen. This is so cheap and easy to do!
30. Ready to Get Your Sparkle On
Dress up the heart eyes emoji with some cute little red hearts on your other nails. This look uses a simple yellow background, red hearts, a single emoji sticker, and some colorful glitter polish in a contrasting blue color to add a playful feel. Simple designs like this work great on short nails.
31. Perfect Purple Polka Dot Pairing
This manicure might only use a few colors, but it finds a different way to use them on every nail. One finger sports a French manicure with a colored tip instead of the classic white. Another is half clear, half purple with an emoji centered in the middle. The other two make use of emojis and polka dots to add more interest. Instead of drawing out all those details yourself, use a nail art sheet to stick on your design.
32. Right on the Tip of My Nails
This French manicure uses the classic white tips but dresses it up with colorful emojis and hearts. Painting them only on the tips of your nails blends fun with a chic look. Paint the white of the tips wider than normal so you have extra space to work with.
33. Nails Full of Fantasy Fun
What goes better with emojis than rainbows? The answer is nothing. Try a glittery rainbow gradient on your nails and pair them with unicorn emojis. If you’re loving the fantasy theme, add in an alien for good measure. And of course, this is the perfect design to add a rainbow-colored poo!
34. Pretty in Pink and Chevrons
You don’t have to do anything complicated for a cute design. These emoji nails use a light pink base coat and layers emoji and chevron stickers on top. It’s easy and fast; you can even add it on top of an existing manicure!
35. Robins Egg Blue Emoji Nails
These light blue nails make a beautiful background for adding an emoji sticker on top. Paired with lots of confetti-style glitter polish, it makes for a funky look perfect for any party.
36. My Little Friend in Red
This classic red manicure is dressed up with sparkling clear nail polish and the most adorable little cartoon figure! You can use a nail art pen to create your own artwork. By choosing only one finger to paint it on, you’ll save yourself some time.
37. In Some Deep Gold Poo
The poo emoji: classic, hilarious, and…stylish? This all-glitter manicure in gold shows that anything can look chic when it sparkles! A monotone color scheme like this looks sophisticated and stylish.
38. Feel a Craving Coming On
If you’re a foodie, then you’ll love these food-themed emoji nails. Matte pastel pink, blue, and green serve for a scrumptious background to layer food emoji designs on top. Whether you’re a sushi lover or a taco nut, you’ll find a sticker to match what you’re craving.
39. Low Prices and Bright Smiles
Take a cue from Walmart’s old logo with cheery, smiley face emoji nails. A basic bright yellow and a sticker or black nail art pen makes for quick smileys that will have you smiling back every time you see them.
40. Keep Your Head in the Clouds
Your dreams are as high as the stars! Show off your imaginative nature with these cloud and stars emoji nails. Depending on your mood, you can add rain clouds, umbrellas, or rainbows to this weather-themed manicure.
41. Face It — The Nail Design is Adorable!
Emoji nails like these let you get creative with your smiley faces look. The cartoonish take on the traditional faces makes it so adorable! The little devil emoji, in particular, is too cute when drawn in such a playful style.
42. Seeing Pink Polka Dots for Days
We have another bright pink emoji nail design and the polka dots really make this one shine! Instead of simply outlining the emojis in black, try glitter polish instead. It gives your look a cool, almost 3D effect without any extra work.
43. The Luck of the Irish
Whether it’s St. Patrick’s day or you simply want to show off your love of green, try a deep grassy green polish for your base. You can paint the entire nail or leave the base clear for a reverse French manicure. Yellow emojis go great with green.
44. The Cat’s Out of the Bag
A basic design can say a lot when you use the right image. These adorable cat emoji nails are both playful and sassy all at once. Best of all, you can color coordinate them to match your own feline companions.
45. Color Inside the Lines (and Stripes)
If you want more emoji nail ideas that still look sophisticated, consider this geometric manicure. The combination of varying muted colors along with stripes and grids makes looks awesome yet chic. Diagonal lines would also look cool with this design.
46. Instagram Famous Emoji Nails Design
For nails that will turn heads, try a colorful gradient reflecting the Instagram logo colors. Layer emoji confetti on top, and include an Instagram logo if you really want to show your love for social media. To match the colors, start with a deep purple at the base of your nail and transition into pink, red, orange, and yellow in that order. A makeup sponge works well to blend the colors while the polish is still wet.
47. Lost Deep in the Depths of Space
Feeling torn between a matte black and a glittery black? Why not choose something in between? This classic black polish has just a hint of shine that makes it playful yet still classy. It’s the perfect background for adding emoji stickers on top.
48. Simple and Fun with Clear Polish and Confetti
Who says your designs have to be complicated? Top a clear nail polish with this confetti-style polish filled with fun shapes from the classic smiley to hearts and stars. Add a clear top coat to seal in all those little pieces and ensure a long-lasting manicure.
49. Feeling Pretty in Bright Pink
We’ve covered several matte colored emoji nail ideas already, including black, white, and purple. If you’re not feeling any of those though, check out this beautiful deep pink! It pairs well with the yellow emojis yet adds a unique splash of color. By keeping the base color matte, you let the art take the spotlight.
50. Sparkling Like the Stars at Night
The matte black look gets an upgrade with this sparkling background. While it still gives you a nice, dark background to really make your artwork pop, the added glitter adds an extra layer of pizzazz to your already out-of-this-world look. You can buy your nail polish with glitter in it or purchase a separate, clear coat of glitter so you can choose which nails to add it to and which to leave as-is.
Top 50 Playful Emoji Nail Design Ideas and Art for the Manicure Obsessed
These fifty emoji nail ideas highlight some of the best emoji manicures on the internet. From polka dots and stripes to glitter and matte polishes, there is an emoji nail look to match every style and personality. Whether you need a subtle, chic look for the office or want to go wild with color, one of these is sure to be the perfect fit the next time you’re itching to break out the nail polish. No time to do it yourself? Save your favorite photo and let the professionals at your nearest nail salon work their magic.