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This Negative Space Nail Art Makes Your Manicure Last Longer

Simply Cool

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Manicures that incorporate a clear background, aka "negative space" manicures, have been majorly trendy for a few years now. If you haven't gotten a chance to try them yet, don't worry, because they're not going anywhere. That's probably because the trend wins points in both the style and practicality departments.

"Negative space nail art expands on the idea that less is more by cutting away any distraction and pulling the focus toward clean lines and graphic shapes," explains Teresa King, lead technician at Chillhouse in NYC. "Like peep-toed shoes, it boldly shows just a hint of what lies beneath and the flesh tones of the natural nail will never go out of style. It also can make your manicure last longer because it won't look as grown out as a solid color does." Keep scrolling for serious nail art inspo.



Photo: @chillhouse

Star Power

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This white and clear star design by @thisisvenice feels minimal and fun at the same time. Plus, the neutral color scheme ensures your mani will match any outfit.

Photo: @thisisvenice

Ladylike Lace

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@Nailsbymei's delicate lacy design is perfect for a formal occasion—or anytime you just want to feel fancy.

Photo: @nailsbymei


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This geometric design by @vanityprojects is a great way to go metallic without going OTT.

(Want more minimal manicure inspo? Scope these simple nail art ideas that will make you feel zen.)

Photo: @vanityprojects

Taste the Rainbow

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For color lovers, this rainbow-brite design by @chelseaqueen is sure to appeal. The sleek lines of the colorful stripes keep things feeling classy, while the vibrant color scheme is sure to draw the attention of everyone you interact with. Get ready for *all* the compliments.

Photo: @chelseaqueen

Line & Dot

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If you don't want to show quite as much natural nail, a design like this one by @sohotrightnail is a great choice, with just a sliver of clear polish or gel close to your cuticle. Not into hot pink? Ask your nail artist to swap it out for another color.


Photo: @sohotrightnail


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This fun retro-feeling design by @mpnails was inspired by a taxicab, proving that you can take pretty much anything and make it into nail art.

(Including your workout! Check out the best sporty nail art on Instagram to see what we're talking about.)

Photo: @mpnails

Metallic Waves

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A wavy manicure like this one by @nailjob is actually relatively simple to paint if you have a toothpick, nail art pen, or extra-thin brush on hand, which means you might be able to DIY the design at home if you're so inclined.

Photo: @nailjob

Make It Metallic

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Super simple but with maximum impact, this @paintboxnails half moon manicure is a classic. Try it with literally any color on the spectrum—but we love this light purple metallic version.

(Related: Metallic Workout Clothes to Make You Feel Like a Fitness Star)


Photo: @paintboxnails

Sparkly Ombré

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Sometimes, you just need a little glitter in your life. Luckily, the negative space idea can be easily incorporated into ombré manicures, which work particularly well with glitter polish. Case in point: this seriously cute mani on @hannahbronfman.

Photo: @hannahbronfman

Get Graphic

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The great thing about this design by @misspopnails is that you can pick any color combo your heart desires.

Photo: @misspopnails

Simple Geometry

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This simple geometric idea by @chillhouse is all kinds of chic. If you want to try out nail art but work somewhere with a conservative dress code, a style like this is your best bet.



Photo: @chillhouse


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