The struggle is real to find the ultimate manicure and nail designs. We have all been there for the fails. The color did not look like it does in the bottle, it chips or smudges within hours (…er, minutes) of painting it on. You go in for some nice acrylics or gels only to have your real nails damaged underneath. It is 2018 for gosh sakes, why are we still dealing with this?!
50 Unique Shellac Ideas To Get Your Nails On Point
If you are new to shellac polish then you are in for a treat. Shellac is half gel, half polish product by Creative Nail Design (CND) that is a staple of any nail addict. A Shellac manicure is a 3-step process (base coat, color coat, and top coat) that is set with UV or LED light which makes it instantly dry. You may have heard of a “gel manicure” (not to be confused with “gels” which are a type of fake nails). A “gel manicure” is actually just a manicure with Shellac nail polish!
When it comes to new nail trends a CND Shellac manicure can’t be beaten. It gives you the best of both worlds because it provides a durable, glossy manicure that lasts up to 14 days like the best artificial nails but doesn’t thin and damages your natural nails like fake nails can. Unlike acrylics or gels, CND Shellac can’t make your nails longer, but it will give you a gorgeous life-proof manicure on your natural length.
Shellac nail polish is available at the nail salon, and you can get it for DIY home manicures too. Whether you are at home or at the salon try to opt for LED light to reduce your UV exposure which can cause age spots and skin damage on your hands over time.
Ready to get your nails done? Here are 50 awesome Shellac nail design ideas to inspire your manicure style for 2018.
1) Cobalt Blue Squoval Shellac Manicure
A medium-length “squoval” (square-oval) shape is the perfect canvas for a bold, bright hue like this cobalt blue color. A color this vibrant makes a statement all by itself, no kitschy accents or nail art required!
2) Lovely Pastel Pink and Purple with Snowflakes
Since the colors in this manicure are light pastels, it is a great way to try something a little daring without being too loud. The baby pink and delicate lavender color alternate nails, with a matte purple accent nail on the ring finger with snowflake nail art. Perfect for any winter princess!
3) Classic Airy Pink Neutral Nails
This look will simply never go out of style. A barely there shade of pink is one of the nude nail colors that always look polished and professional for every occasion. This is the perfect everyday manicure fallback because it goes with everything in your life and in your closet!
4) Deep Red Shellac Polish with Glitter
This shade of garnet red is beautiful for the holidays, and if you are lucky enough to have a favorite sports team with garnet as a color then you will have many more occasions to rock this look! The glittery red strikes the perfect balance of festive and sophisticated.
5) Purple Short Nails with Glitter Accent
This purple manicure gets an extra dose of fun with the glittery accent nail. The pretty purple is flattering on any skin tone. The shade of glitter stands out in all the right ways with tiny flecks of blue and silver. This is a fun manicure for a teen…or for a vacation!
6) Short Classic Red Nails and Heart Design
Lovely classic cherry red nails are offset with a white accent nail complete with a decorative heart. This cute manicure is a fun and easy way to try nail art if you are new to the trend. The colors and accent nail are simple enough that they will blend with most ensembles.
7) Handful of Shiny Nude Nail Colors
If you love multi-colored manicures but work or go to school in a more conservative setting, a rainbow of nude colors is a really fun way to express yourself! These shades of Shellac include a grey-lavender color, a pretty sand color, and a fleshy peach shade. The shape and muted hues make this look suitable for work.
8) Vibrant Violet Stiletto Nail Manicure
This long nail design look is not for the faint of heart. Dramatic, long stilettos nails combined with a unique shade of violet demand attention. This color just screams summertime pool party. Pair it with some dramatic shades and a matching bikini and you’ll be good to go!
9) Shimmery Copper Bronze Stiletto Nails
A beautiful, warm bronze color lights up with micro glitter. This manicure has the Stiletto Nail shape, but the rich coppery bronze is one of those shellac colors that could easily work on any nail shape and length. The coppery bronze color is beautiful for autumn or as a summer metallic.
10) Pretty Nude Nail Art Designs with Glitter
Blush pink short squoval nails are accented twice in this cute manicure. The first accent nail has white base polish with thin horizontal silver micro glitter stripes painted across from top to bottom. The second accent nail has a gorgeous iridescent finish over silvery-white glitter. Simply gorgeous!
11) Pretty in Peach Shimmery Polish
This medium length combined with square shaped nails look great in a shade of peach with just a touch of silvery shimmer. This look would be so great in springtime and summertime with a nice floral dress! With just a little more color saturation than a true neutral, it is a nice seasonal shade.
12) Blue, Chevron, and Glitter Shellac Nail Designs
This manicure screams team spirit! Make a statement with short nail designs using a bright shade like this almost neon blue alongside accent nails. One finger has gold confetti glitter and the other has a white base with three stripes of gold glitter painted in a chevron pattern.
13) Romantic Dark Red for a Sultry Night
A drop-dead gorgeous shade of crimson red that works especially well on a romantic night if you want to impress your date. Pair your nails with a little back dress for a seducingly feminine and stunning style. Given the benefits of shellac, you don’t have to worry about worn out polish ruining your outfit. Just enjoy turning heads throughout the night!
14) Barely There Baby Pink Manicure
This is one awesome nude shade of pink. It is just opaque and saturated enough to color the whites of the nails, but it is an almost perfect match to this skin tone as a pretty pink nude. Combined with the understated oval-shaped nails and you have got yourself a reliable manicure staple.
15) Edgy Punk Rock Fashion Nails
This is rock and roll glam style at its very best. Jet black Shellac nails get a signature glossy finish with the gel manicure process. A silver glitter accent nail shimmers like a disco ball next to a white nail with shimmery silver stripes and a black heart. Now you are officially ready to rock!
16) Dusty Rose Nude Nails with Glitter Gold
The combo of the muted rose color and the gold accent nail is amazing for a special event, or just celebrating life! This is a classic, universally-flattering nude shade for most skin tones. The gold accent nail is glitter at its finest – textured, glitzy and oh so very shiny.
17) Purple and Gold Glitter shellac nail polish
Perfect party nails? Check! This short nail designs look combines three colors that compliment each other beautifully. The light pastel purple is contrasted next to a jelly boysenberry polish with subtle shimmer. The look is topped off with hexagonal glossy gold glitter on accent nails.
18) Elegant Charcoal Designer Nails and Silvery Shimmer
Squoval nails painted a slick shiny charcoal grey is the best. It is totally classic and effortlessly chic. It is the manicure equivalent of a well-tailored pantsuit. The addition of a silver shimmer glitter accent nail makes this manicure an awesome choice for a black tie affair or special celebration.
19) The Little Black Dress of Manicures
Black nails are not just for goth gals and glam rock. Black is actually a neutral and this manicure proves it. The key to an all black mani is to keep the nail shape simple. The short square shape of the nails is perfect. With the dark simple nail color, your accessories like rings and bracelets will really pop.
20) Neutral Nail Colors with Gold Nail Art
Classic ballerina pink is the perfect muted color for the day-to-day style. A minimalist take on nail art adds a point of interest to this basic mani. A simple sequence of shimmery gold dots along the base of the ring finger nail is like a little bit of jewelry on your nails.
21) Nude Ombre Nail Designs with Diamonds
Divas only, please. A warm, peachy nude is the base for this glam manicure of nail designs with diamonds. The main nails have a gold ombre over the peach base, creating a gorgeous patina that really shines and has an interesting finish. Accent nails on each hand are framed with a line of tiny diamonds.
22) Bouquet of neutral nail colors
Bring on the spring with an assortment of coordinated neutral nail colors on every finger. A pretty sandy beige starts the look. A light lace pink creme nail color is used as the highlight shade. Finally, a gold chrome rounds out the bouquet as a single accent nail on each hand. Perfection!
23) Perfectly Prim Ombre Nude Nails
Precision ombre makes this unique manicure understated yet stunning. The base color is a warm coconut shade that is perfectly matched to the skin tone. The ombre from the tips is a light smoke grey that gently blends into the nude base. If you love French manicures this is a nice riff off of the traditional look that is still simple and chic.
24) Pink, Grey, and Glitter Shellac Nails
Cloud grey and blush pink in a creme finish are the two main colors in this manicure. The colors are accented with a silver foil glitter on a single finger. A second accent finger has geometric nail art. Two crisscrossed pinstripes of white are angled on a pink nail, with a third, thicker parallel stripe of silver foil glitter creating a sort of minimalist plaid pattern.
25) Creme Ivory and Gold Chrome
This is a stunning and unexpected neutral manicure for 2018. Start with short, squoval shaped nails. Everything but the ring finger is painted with a pretty, warm creme ivory color. The accent nail is done up in reflective gold chrome. The colors coordinate perfectly to create a classy neutral manicure with a healthy dose of cool.
26) Ballerina Nails, Pearly Pink, and Gold Glitter
We love this super feminine manicure! The ballerina nail shape is one we think will get more popular this year. It is more practical than the stiletto shape but is still long and elegant. This manicure combines a pearly salt pink and a gold glitter accent nail for a look that is sweet and a little bit sassy.
27) Rose Gold Glitter and Pretty Basic Cremes
Rose gold glitter is a lovely departure from more traditional silver and gold shades. This manicure puts shimmering rose gold to expert use next to eggshell creme, cloud grey, and baby pink polish shades. This is a really pretty springtime manicure but could certainly be worn at any time of the year.
28) Traditional French Manicure with Shellac
A classic, classy French manicure never goes out of style. Shellac nail polish just makes it last that much longer! The Shellac French starts with a basic powder pink on squoval shaped nails. Then you just add that classic white line at the tips. The white line can be thicker or thinner depending on your personal preference and the length of your nails.
29) Turquoise and White Colorful Nail Designs
This manicure reverses the traditional accent nail trend. A turquoise mani is injected with a stark white accent nail and the result is really fresh and bright. It is a cool look that is perfect for spring and summer months. Keeping the nails short balances the vibrant color so it stays trendy, not overwhelming.
30) Mauve Mani with Textured Accent Nail
This is advanced manicure technique at its best, folks. It all begins with the rosy mauve shade. An expertly coordinated shade of textured glitter colors the accent nail. The sparkly textured rose accent nail looks spectacular and keeps the neutral color palette alive. So perfectly pretty, this might just be the best accent nail around. We could wear it every single day!
31) Unique Rosy French with Glitter Tips
Nontraditional French manicures is one of the new nail trends that we just love. This rosy take on the French mani uses an opaque creme rose pink for the base. The tips are done with a rose gold glitter. The effect is both subtle and sparkly. It is a creative way to mix up trendy nails with traditional style.
32) Simple Pink Nails for You
A simple pink creme manicure is always fresh and fabulous. Shellac polish makes this style easy and long-lasting. This particular shade is a muted bubblegum pink, but you can adjust by a few hues to get to the shade that works best with your unique skin tone.
33) Jelly Sand Colored Almond Nails
This is one of the best neutral nail colors we have ever seen. The jelly Shellac colors give a wash of watercolor look to the nails. The almond shape of this manicure combined with the sand-colored polish is the perfect combination to elongate the fingers. Best of all, it is an easy look to achieve.
34) Chic Neutral Designer Nails
Shellac nail designs are a great way to try something new because all your hard work will last for up to 2 weeks! This is a beautiful muted salmon shade of polish to start with. The special accent on this manicure is at the base of 3 nails. A peachy gold glitter triangle design goes from the nail bed a third of the way up the nail.
35) Pink Power Colorful Nail Designs
Hot pink and cherry red blend together in a girl power combo that is just the best. There is just something about hot pink nails that makes you feel fearless! Rock this color combo on your next vacation, or whenever you could use a little pick me up.
36) Bold Navy Blue and Silver nail colors
This manicure is understated but with just the right amount of edginess. A sleek navy blue nail color is a fun spin on more traditional grey or black. The accent nail in silver glitter really brightens up the entire manicure and brings out the blue undertones of the navy polish.
37) Soft Frost and White Creative Nails
Your fingertips will be the main attraction with this set of creative nails. This unique manicure starts with a ballerina shape. In this case, the base nail is a silver-to-teal glitter ombre. The accent nails are white creme with silver glitter ombre. Finally, a teal frost polish pull the entire look together.
38) Easy Peasy Cherry Red
A classic red nail is one of the most timeless manicure types around. There is a reason this look has been around for decades. The problem with a basic flat red polish is that when it chips you can really tell. Shellac makes it easy to do a bright cherry red mani that won’t chip and stays bright and glossy for days.
39) Short Pink Everyday Gel Manicure
You are probably noticing a trend with pastel pink. It is simply one of the very best basic colors and it is so versatile that you can use it in combination with nearly every accent and glitter color. If you need to trim your nails short (or you just like them better short) this is a great color to use.
40) Precious Periwinkle Glitter and Creme Manicure
If you are looking for long nail designs this one is fit for a princess. The pastel periwinkle creme base color is so lovely all by itself. This one has got a neighbor that likes to party! The accent nail is a multicolored glitter with flecks of purple, teal, gold and white. We love glitter!
41) Cranberry and Gold Holiday Manicure
Wear this manicure for the holidays, or whenever you need to feel the holiday spirit. The rich cranberry red color is flattering on nearly every skin tone. The creme finish on this polish is just absolutely delicious. Just add some glittery gold trimmings with an accent nail and you’re out the door.
42) Black and Blush creative nails
Any nail addict will love the combo of trendy styles in this manicure masterpiece. Blush pink and raven black glossy creme polish are the canvas for this look. Gold glitter ombre blends down from the tips over the black polish and up from the base over the pink. The finishing touch? A string of gold microbeads across the base of the pink nails finish this opulent look.
43) Creamy Dreamy Heather Nails
If you are thinking of trying some more colorful nail styles this polish is a great gateway from neutrals to bolder hues. Heather is a gorgeous shade of purple that is borderline mauve, which is one of those shades that you can wear anytime, anywhere. Welcome to the color wheel!
44) Neutral Heather Ballerina Nails with Diamonds
This glamorous style is a combination of three of our favorite manicure types: ballerina shape, heather purple color, and diamond accents. We have hit the trifecta! This manicure is so girly, feminine, and fun. The creme heather color is simple enough that it is colorful yet understated, and the diamonds are just the right amount of bling.
45) The Sexiest Taupe You’ve Ever Seen
The greatest nail styles have personality. Even muted colors can have moxie, and this chocolatey taupe is a great example. The color itself is totally appropriate for work while also being sleek and fashion-forward. The almond shape of the nail really tops this look off. If you are looking for an alternative to grey or pink, these may be the nails for you.
46) Glossy Lipstick Red Short Nails
Who says short nails can’t be chic? You do not need long, dramatic nails to have a fantastic manicure. Case in point: the popular look of lipstick red short squoval nails. The beautiful shade of bluish red looks like it was just made for those short nails. This shiny manicure is totally unstoppable.
47) Wine and Shine: Your Not-so-basic Red
Wine reds are another interesting stop on the nail polish color wheel. This shade falls between brown and red, and its one of those that is simple and classic. You could easily add gold accents to this manicure to dress it up if you wanted, but if you like the simple elegance of the glossy wine color then this one’s for you.
48) No Holds Barred Purple Glitter
Look out – diva coming through! Make way for this purple glitter mani. Stiletto shaped nails are to be expected with such a dramatic shade of glitzy purple. The glitter itself is multidimensional but set in a gloss so that it is smooth and bright. This manicure doesn’t need an accent nail or an introduction, it speaks for itself.
49) Easy Powder Blue Manicure
Powder blue is one of those nail colors that got trendy and everyone loved it so much that it stuck around. This color just shouts springtime from the rooftops. A Shellac gel manicure like this is really straightforward – just base coat, color coat, top coat and you are out the door. If you are pressed for time for just want to mix up your neutrals this is a great option.
50) Mahogany Jelly Shellac Manicure
Mid-length square nails are a timeless shape that makes the fingers appear long and elegant. The translucent mahogany color lengthens the nail and the fingers for a lovely finish. This manicure could easily be worn every day, or for a special occasion. Mahogany is a deep red that is dark without being edgy and it works with many different styles.
50 Stylish Shellac Nail Design Looks You Can Make Your Own
With so many nail styles and shapes, nail designs, and nail art designs you’ve got a year in manicures laid out for you! Don’t hold back. Experiment with different colors. Try shaping your nails a new way. Add a fun accent nail with glitter or nail art. Fashion is all about finding the looks that you love and that make you feel wonderful. Your manicure is no different! If you want to spring for the best artificial nails, great! If you want to use your natural nails and shape, try the CND Shellac polish as an alternative.