The Best Nail Art For Short Nails

Rachel Adler
Paintbox Nail Art

Image via @BeautyHigh Instagram

While loud and obnoxious nail art may be on the way out, subtle and sophisticated nail art still has a strong hold on the industry – from simple stripes to negative spacing and ombre effects. But, for those with short nail beds and the constant struggle to grow their nails, figuring out which nail art option to choose can be hard. Many of the designs don’t always look as good on shorter nails, resulting in a manicure where you can hardly see the artwork that cost a good amount of money (and a fair amount of time).

We talked with Christina Quercia, manicurist with the newly opened Paintbox salon in NYC, to find out what the best options are for ladies with short nails. This way, you can still enjoy the fun benefits of nail art but don’t need to struggle with a decision of the right pattern for your length. Read up on what Christina says below (she also recommends some cute designs that you can pick from Paintbox specifically, or base your style off of elsewhere) so you’ll know what to choose the next time you head to the salon.

Beauty High: If I have short nails, what nail art shapes typically work the best?
Christina Quercia: For shorter nails, I always recommend to go round or oval with shape. This helps your nails and fingers look longer.

MORE: Nail Designs: 5 Manicures You Can DIY

Paintball/Crown Jewel

Paintball/Crown Jewel

Do you recommend adding beading, or limiting the amount of extra elements? Any trends that don’t really work on short nails?
I like to add a little something even for a shorter nail, without overdoing it. Adding too many “accessories” will draw attention to the nail length – or lack thereof – making them look even shorter. A stud or jewel per nail (vs. a full fledged multi-component design) is just the right amount of statement making though – something like our “Paintball” or “Crown Jewel” designs.

Inner Circle/Divide & Conquer/Weekend Update

Inner Circle/Divide & Conquer/Weekend Update

Other flattering Paintbox looks for short nails would be “Inner Circle” – the negative space is a hot look right now, and having that at the base of nail gives the illusion of a longer nail; “Divide and Conquer,” since the design features a vertical line which gives the look of length. You also can’t go wrong with anything glitter a la “Weekend Update” – glitter looks good on everyone.

Are there any polish colors you would avoid?
In terms of color, I would avoid a chalky white out white – it can get dirty easily and make short nails look nubby or stubby. Otherwise, all colors are fair game. I do recommend a darker color or sheer neutral – it looks chic and modern on a shorter nail. Some of my favorites include Zoya Cho [neutral], OPI Samoan Sand [neutral], Sephora Formula X in Enigma [darker teal] or Morgan Taylor in Sweater Weather [dark gray].

Images Courtesy of Paintbox