Gel nail designs have risen in the ranks, becoming one of the most popular artificial nail applications. There are a plethora of nail designs to choose from including understated, simple designs that exude classic elegance or trendy, high voltage colors and shapes that will tantalize your tips. Regardless of your preferred design aesthetic, you are sure to fall in love with these best nail styles of 2018.
49+ Dazzling Ways to Create Gel Nail Designs to Delight
Gels have recently become the hottest nail trend to hit the beauty scene. They are a terrific alternative to other fake nail applications. Acrylic nails can be extremely damaging to the natural nails, leaving them weak, brittle, prone to breakage, and peeling worse than an onion. While gels are a nail enhancement, meaning they are applied to the natural nail, they do not produce the same damage. This makes them an easy and popular method of creating lasting nail art designs that are beautiful and gentle.
While the term fake nails typically elicit images of long claws that take hours to apply while costing an arm and a leg, gels offer an affordable and safer way to create popular and creative nail art. The sky is the limit when it comes to decorating your gel nails. Take a glance at the vast array of artful designs we’ve compiled, to see how fun and easy it is to create a stunning look on your fingers.
1. Wintergreen Nails with Snowflakes Accents
This earthy nail design consists of short, round nails with mixed topcoats and lots of sparkly highlights. The multicolored manicure features a mix of sage green and sparkly creme base coats. Freestyle snowflake decals serve as seasonal inspiration. We love the powdery hues and light-reflecting elements. It is one of those looks where length isn’t the defining element.
2. Autumn-Inspired Green and Red Nails
This two-toned nail design consists of solid dark green, sage green, and berry-red foundations. Short yet point stiletto tips make for a sexy, functional foundation. Plus, one finger on each hand features details that look like old-school quilt patches. A glossy top coat serves as yet another welcome detail. These country-chic nails are perfect for the holiday season.
3. Nude Almond Nails with Sparkles
The medium-length almond nails feature a nude base coat with a generous sprinkling of pearly, hexagonal glitter. A glossy top coat seals in all the delectable details. The gorgeous manicure concept is perfect for casual and formal settings. The metallic look pairs well with just about everything.
4. Candy Cane Red Nails with Snowflakes
Spiff up that classic red manicure with some wintery details. These rounded nails have glossy holly berry-colored topcoats. There are offset snowflakes on each of the ring fingers. We love the artful placement of the seasonal details. It will get you in the holiday spirit!
5. French Stiletto Nails with Mini Hearts
Some style experts say that stiletto nails are for lovers. That’s surely something that could be said of this tipsy French manicure. A creamy pink base coat gives way to unusually arched white tips. These naturally blend into the contours of the sharp tips. Each ring finger boasts a tiny heart-shaped cuticle embellishment. The cherry-red details are sweet yet subtle. Keep this exquisite look in mind for next Valentine’s Day.
6. Celestial Pink for Everyday Angels
This gorgeous look relies on a frosted pink shade fit for an angel. Instead of just using the same color on each nail, this option switches things up by adding a frosty top coat on several nails. The artist then kicks things up a notch by adding nail tape and sponging on a matte pink over the ring finger. By adding a few simple details, an ordinary nail look becomes a heavenly one in mere minutes.
7. Frosted Candy Coated Ombre Nails
Ombre color palettes aren’t just for hair. This idea translates to a perfectly posh gel nail idea. While this version uses a blend of pretty pinks, you can try this with any number of hues. Try using several shades of one color or a mix of three or four different ones to create a kaleidoscope effect. This classy nail art is suited for both short nail designs and long nail designs.
8. Everything’s Coming Up Metallic Roses
Flowers are a timeless choice that can be updated to create a cool, chic look by implementing a metallic color choice. We love the ability to select lacquers in a variety of neutral shades to allow this design to go from daytime to nighttime effortlessly. The addition of gold baubles lends a techno vibe to this trendy nail art selection.
9. Rose Gold Tips Fit for a Queen
Rose gold is no longer just for jewelry. This versatile design is effortlessly awesome in so many ways. It’s simple enough for the office yet bold enough to add some spice and pizazz to your evening as well. Best of all rose gold is a universally flattering shade that works on every skin tone from the palest porcelain to the deepest ebony. Both rose gold nail designs, and glitter nails add a touch of whimsy sure to delight and impress. This eye-catching nail color is one of the most popular and sought-after new nail trends.
10. Unique and Understated Geometric Elegance
Whether you are short on time or after a lower key gel nail art design, this is a lovely choice. White triangles pop against darker colors making this one of our favorite simple yet colorful nail designs for short nails. This is also great for anyone after a nude nail design. Simply replace the darker hue with a neutral pink, beige, or tan.
11. Dazzling Pink and Glitter Nails
This ultra-feminine selection blends glitz and glamour to produce nail art that is perfect for any true nail addict. A delicate blush pink is complemented by a rich, luxurious silver-toned glitter. These designer nails are sure to impress as they glint and glimmer whenever they catch the light. This look takes artificial nails to the next level.
12. A Neutral Take on Mandalas Perfect for the Office
Selecting a nail art design that is both cute and appropriate for work is easy with these creative nails. This design blends a pallet of neutral nail colors with an accent nail delivering a look that moves effortlessly between day and night. You will look professional while still showcasing your personal style and flair, making it one of 2018’s top manicure types. It is sublime for anyone after simple nail designs for short nails as well.
13. A Minimalistic Look That Still Packs a Punch
Sometimes, a simple design can have a greater impact than one that is overly busy with many components. For this look, glossy ballet shoe pink gel nails take center stage. A single gold band on the ring finger is perfectly placed to show off an engagement ring or any other diamond or gemstone ring.
14. A Twist on Ombre and French
This look offers a fresh perspective on an older and well-beloved nail trend, the French manicure. The gel nails have been painted with an ombre in purple shades ranging from a light lilac to a deep, midnight plum. The tips have been swiped with black to complete the design.
15. Blue Half Moon Gel Nail Art
The lighter half circle at the base of the nail is called a lunula, or a half moon. This bold gel nail design plays on the anatomy of the nail by highlighting this area with a neutral shade. By painting a bold blue on the rest of the nail, you can achieve one of our favorite trendy nail polish design options that pulls double duty by elongating your fingers.
16. A Hint of Glimmer
If you are looking for a subdued gel nail idea, these are the nails for you. This look blends lighter, trending nail colors with a dash of sparkle. You can take this look from the office to date night, with its mass appeal, making for some of the best artificial nails available.
17. Classy Baby Boomer Nails
An outstanding nail polish design, baby boomer nails have surged forward as one of the most requested new nail trends. A subtle ombre of pretty pink hues makes for a timeless, simplistic look. These nails exude understated elegance. You could even add crystals on top of this versatile paint job to achieve a fancier look, as nail designs with diamonds are also peaking in popularity.
18. A Sassy Fade to Black
This option can be achieved in nearly any color pallet. By slowly fading into black, ordinary nail polish designs take on an edgy and fierce persona. Seen here in plum, you could try any number of hues from blues to reds to greens to compliment your skin tone and personal preferences.
19. Glitter Gel Manicure Perfectly Suited for Autumn
Decked out in sparkles featuring warm hues complementing autumn, this gel mani is perfect for picking out a pumpkin or enjoying an artisanal latte. These warm tones remind us of creamy caramel that is not only eye-catching, but super complementary to all skin tones. The addition of a dash of glitter keeps this set of fake nails looking trendy and fresh.
20. Unique Pink Take on the Classic French Manicure
French tips in a sparkly glitter pink make this a festive look for date night or Valentine’s Day. This nail art design is a gorgeous idea that can also be pulled off in any color scheme, whether you choose a glittery version of the same nail shade or get funky by mixing things up. This version of a French nail design takes this timeless trend and breathes new life into it.
21. Three-Dimensional Gel Nail Art
Nail design goes high tech with this fun 3D offering. By once again switching traditional French tips for a fun pop of red, this mani is flirty and playful. Adding an accent nail with 3D roses brings everything together, creating a cool look perfect for any nail addict or nail newbie. You can swap the red out for any color to personalize this fierce set.
22. Romantic French Tips with a Hint of Glamour
This set of gel nails takes the traditional French tip look and updates it with a little bit of pizazz. If you are new to experimenting with nail designs with diamonds, this is a lovely way to get your feet, or fingers, in this case, wet. This nail design would be a fantastic choice to highlight a new engagement ring.
23. Pink and White with Shimmer and Shine
These trending nail colors create a lovely statement that is sure to be seen and adored. Mixing things up with alternating pink nails and dazzling glitter nails creates a balanced effect of embellishment without going overboard. You are sure to stand out from the crowd with this creative set that delivers elegance and glitzy glamour.
24. Neutral Nudes with Some Sizzling Sparkle
The elements of neutrality and glitter play off one another beautifully with this selection. The result is an utterly complementary gel manicure that works wonderfully to showcase and highlight your artificial nails. These nails are perfect for work or play and will look dazzling on long nails or shorter ones as well. Best of all, this color pallet works with nearly any skin tone.
25. Getting Bold with Aqua and Gold
A slight coffin shape, or ballerina slipper shape for those that don’t like the more morbid term, is accentuated with a bold aqua. Pushing the boundaries one step further is a gorgeous gold accent nail with a clear half-moon. Gold nail designs can tend to get somewhat gaudy if they aren’t balanced with other design elements. We love this look as it provides just enough flash to be interesting without becoming tacky or overbearing.
26. Wearing Your Heart on Your Sleeve and Nails
We love this nail art option since it breaks the typical girlie heart motif. By selecting an amazingly unexpected nail color, this set becomes anything but ordinary. An accent nail left clear with an addition of a small, strategically placed heart adds a touch of whimsey. If you want to show off your sweet side in an exciting way, these are the perfect nails for you.
27. Pastel Winter Sky Sparkle Nail Design
Pretty pastels reminiscent of a snowy morning sky have become one of our go-to nail styles for any time of year. An accent nail in silver glitter creates an impactful statement. Whether you are off to a holiday celebration complete with hot cocoa and snowmen or a summer luau with snow cones, this look is delightfully dazzling.
28. Versatility with Nude, Black, and Gold Nails
Picking a mixture of nude, black, and gold nails creates versatility in your nail art designs. This blend of hues makes for a look that is suited for a night out with the girls, date night, or a big meeting a work. Delicate gold nail art tape creates an exciting and elongating detail. The addition of negative space chevrons makes your digits appear longer and thinner as well. A tiny small golden dot adorns two fingers giving this look some extra richness.
29. Glitter, Chevron, and Nudes, Oh My!
Perfect for ladies wanting to blend edgy nails with more subdued tones, this option works for both short nail designs and long nail designs. Chevrons are all the rage, especially when they are placed next to a sparkling accent nail. Copper glitter nails look lovely next to golden tape over white nails. This results in just the right amount of sparkle without going over the top.
30. Fancy Florals Add Life to a Black Backdrop
Updating black nails is easy with florals. Hand painting on roses, peonies, or any favorite blossoms over a background of black is an awesome way to romanticize your nail designs. This look is easy to accomplish with tiny nail art brushes and a variety of nail lacquers or acrylic paints in your favorite floral shades. Finish the design by sealing your artwork with a shiny, clear topcoat for flowers that won’t wilt or die after a few days.
31. Jewel Tones with Added Sparkly Richness
This deep, rich turquoise nail polish design is perfect for adding a pop of jewel-toned elegance. An accent nail with strategically place glitter gives this design depth and personality. This option is perfect for anyone new to nail art that wants to ease into trying out the sparkling trend of glimmering nails.
32. A Hint of Glimmer Livens Up the Blues
Midnight blue nail polish designs are breathtakingly gorgeous on their own. By adding a pop of glittery frosting complete with delicate crystals, this look achieves on-trend status. Crystals are easy to apply with a small dab on nail glue. Seal your art with a clear, shiny top coat to protect your baubles from falling off.
33. Free Hand Chevron Stripes Are Actually Easy
Combining a nude nail design with a dash of glitter is an excellent way to add drama to an everyday design. Nail art strips make free hand painting stripes a no-brainer. Directly apply the strips over dry lacquer, leaving free space where you want to paint. Carefully apply your polish in between the lines and allow it to dry completely. Once its dry, remove the strips slowly. Finish things off with top coat, and you’re good to go.
34. Understated Nudes with an Unexpected Surprise
Everyone loves a good surprise. These elegantly nude nails are wonderfully suited for work or play. They are guaranteed to match any activity or attire. Adding a half circle of golden dots lends a surprising twist on understated elegance. If gold isn’t your thing, you could use silver or try a pop of color with green or blue.
35. A Blushing Fade to White
This look is a lovely bit of inspiration for nail novices or nail art connoisseurs. Romantic pink fades into white with a delicate ombre technique. The result is a graceful and beautiful set of nails. If you are seeking a little flair, you can add a little sparkle with some embellishments near the base of the nails.
36. Perfectly Pink and Polynesian Inspired
Choosing a 3D design allows you to let your creativity take center stage. This design blends several trends by adding white half moons to the base of French nails. Stunning pink crystals adorn the base of a blushing nail. Finally, a Polynesian inspired three-dimensional design graces several nails. This is a look that Disney’s Moana could rock any day.
37. Going Green with Vivacious Vines
Pastel green nails add a pretty pop of color against white nails. A delicate vine adorns two nails adding an environmentally friendly decoration. These nails would look lovely for Earth Day or a springtime tea party. Best of all, these colors will add to any outfit you choose.
38. Sassy Sparkle Compliments Captivating Coral
The combination of three fun and feisty colors equals a dashing and exciting design. With sparkle, shine, and bright shades you have the best of all worlds in this set. Cool coral stands out against the glittering backdrop and creates a look that is lovely for spring or summer.
39. Jewel Tones and Geometric Shapes
The rich tones of emerald sit prettily next to nude and pistachio painted nails. An accent that relies on geometrics combining both color and negative space lends a futuristic look. The graphic design lends an architectural quality perfect for a board meeting or happy hour.
40. A Beautiful Blend of White and Rose Gold
White nails are perfectly balanced in this nail art design. Rose gold glitter adorns the pinkie, while the ring finger is home to a subtle strand of leaves. The simplicity of this option is still stunning and is sure to compliment and outfit you pair with it.
41. A Kiss of Sparkle
Dark nails stand out even more when paired with several in a light, creamy pink. A dash of well-placed glitter adds a dramatic flair to this set of nails. These colors will look perfect against any skin tone from light to dark.
42. Going Half and Half with Shimmer and Shine
If you can’t decide between a shiny, natural look or a standout sparkle, why not go with both? Each nail blends the best of both worlds with a polished, healthy looking base topped with some seriously gorgeous gold glitter. What’s left is a delightful design that is beautifully balanced.
43. Gorgeous Galaxy Holographic Nails
Holographic nails have become increasingly popular. To create an out of this world look, you’ll need holographic powder. After applying a base coat, you will use foam eyeshadow applicators to buff the powder onto the nail surface. Seal the design with a shiny ultraviolet top coat and a quick trip into a UV or LED light. You’ll be left with a look that will be the envy of everyone in the universe.
44. Pastel Perfection in Sherbet Shades
This pretty and posh look is one of our favorite perfectly colorful nail designs. Each almond-shaped nail packs a punch with a different shade. This is a lovely choice for a spring or summer trip to the ice cream shop and will match any attire you can dream of.
45. Parlez Vous Francais?
Even if you don’t speak French, your nails can. We love this classic French nail design. With a blushing pink and a whisper of white, these chic nails will be the envy of all your friends.
46. Nautical Nails for Starfish Wishes and Mermaid Kisses
You’ll look like a mermaid with these nautically inspired digits. A seaworthy blue is a perfect backdrop for a starfish crafted from golden, sandy glitter. You will be the envy of any sea siren with these ocean ready nails.
47. A Golden Gilded Heart
Pair blush painted nails with a golden heart for a romantic and modern style. Painting a heart on a white nail helps your design to really pop. If hearts aren’t your thing, try a star or a diamond. This vibrant design is a great way to show your inner hopeless romantic.
48. French Noir Nails
Another fun update to the French manicure, this option takes a dark turn. A deep black tip adds a touch of surprise and mystery to your nails. These creative nails add that little something extra to any outfit.
49. Add Flair and Drama with Black and Gold
This cute design makes the most of a simple, clear nail. With triangle of black decking out the tips and a glimmering gold triangle at the base, these nails are anything but boring. This look is also fast and simple to accomplish, while still appearing fancy enough for a special night out.
50. No Gloomy Grey Here
This gray is far from gloomy. This look adds a touch of romanticism with dainty hearts. A full coat of sparkling glitter accents and results in one of our favorite manicure types. This easy to pull off look works for any outfit or occasion.
51. Unexpected Texture Creates Stand Out Nails
This look blends pink and grey together to achieve a gorgeous look that plays with both feminine and masculine tones. The middle and ring fingers are decorated with a sandy texture that’s glittery and rough at the same time. Playing with different texture techniques is a wonderful way to create an edgy and fierce look.
52. Stripes and Sparkle Make White Nails Sing
These designer nails sing out with effortless glamour. This would be an excellent option for a bride on her special day. Silver nail art tape takes out the guesswork of applying perfect stripes that would be almost impossible to paint. Combined with gorgeous glitter, these nails exude charm and grace.
53. Float Like a Butterfly with Cool Coral
Coral nail lacquer is one of the most sought-after trends. Depending on your skin tone and personal preferences, you can rock coral-hued nails that tend to be more orange or pink. The addition of a hand-painted butterfly allows you to express your creativity and femininity. The result is a dainty yet bold look perfectly suited for a spring trip to the zoo or a nature walk.
54. Lovely Lilacs Grace Lavender Nails
Floral prints are a timeless trend sure to tantalize your tips. Painting delicate lilac flowers on a white nail background allows the design to pop without detracting from the pretty shade of your other fingernails. This look is well suited for work, brunch, or even high tea.
55. Pink and Silver Sparkle is Sure to Please
Pink nails are a classically romantic look well suited for any occasion. The addition of a glittering silver nail adds a sense of dramatic flair. Paint a small silver triangle on your thumb to tie the different shades and textures together. The result is a fun and feminine option that goes from day to night.
The 49+ Most Alluring Gel Nail Designs to Create the Fanciest Fingers
As you have seen, there are enough amazing gel nail art design options available to make your head spin. When you add your own personal touch, pretty nail colors, and creative flair, the possibilities are truly endless. We hope this article helped you discover some new and exciting trends to try for your next manicure. Taking a small risk can pay off big time in helping you achieve your best artificial nails ever. Leave us a comment below with your favorite ideas to decorate your digits.
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