Have a lot of red nail polish left over after the holidays? You may use it for Valentine’s Day nail art, which is great news. Of course, the hue remains timeless all year, but with love in the air and hearts serving as the major emblem of the mushiest day of the year, red is the official colour of Valentine’s Day and thus a perfect choice for commemorating via manicure. (In fact, it was difficult to locate Valentine’s-inspired nail art that didn’t include red or pink, but don’t worry; we succeeded – goths, too, deserve to celebrate love.)

When we say red or pink Valentine’s Day nails are a safe bet, we don’t mean you have to adhere to a single colour when it comes to cupid’s birthday. Work those colours into heart shapes or French tips; add kiss prints or a love-struck Helga Pataki; and use glitter or matte to represent your excitement or understated acknowledgement of this celebration. These inventive nail painters express their feelings with basic polish or manicure embellishments such as rhinestones, jelly polish, and gold foil.

The Valentine’s Day nail designs below aren’t just for people who are in love; we’ve also found festive inspiration for those who are heartbroken. Consider melting hearts, crushed hearts, and, if you truly want to express yourself on this holiday, Ghostface from Scream.

There are so many cute and inventive nail art ideas out there – some are simple enough to do yourself, while others you’ll want to screenshot and take to your favourite manicure expert. We’ve gathered some of the cutest Valentine’s Day manicure ideas to inspire you to paint your heart on your nails. Continue reading to fall in love with this cute Valentine’s Day nail art.

Gold-Dipped

valentine day nails

Welcome to our favourite kind of manicure: one that looks professional but is simple to do at home with the appropriate tools. Tessa began by applying a coat of her favourite sheer base polish, Orly’s Rose-Colored Glasses. She next applied a half-layer of Kinno gold foil flakes, which are meant to appear abstract and uneven. She then added a mix of white and red hearts with a heart stamper before finishing with a glossy lacquer. This look is for people who can’t paint freehand.

Ace of Hearts

valentine day nails

With this design that resembles a deck of cards, nail artist Betina Goldstein reminds us that finding love is all about the luck of the draw. She painted the numerals and suits in this instantly recognisable tribute using a classic red polish from Essie’s 2021 Valentine’s Day collection (now out of stock, but this year’s Love-Note Worthy blue-toned red will do wonderfully as a replacement). You may also use this design for the World Series of Poker. 

Half-Moon kiss

valentine day nails

If you find it difficult to let go of your festive nail art after the holiday in question, try Miss Pop’s Valentine’s design. The nail artist used a striping brush to paint pink and purple kisses above a soft-pink background, leaving a translucent half-moon that will transform into a waxing moon as your nails grow, so you can keep this manicure on until St. Patrick’s Day.

Festive French

valentine day nails

Aside from looking great with a Valentine’s Day cake pop, this reversible French (not to be confused with reverse French, which will be covered later) is a great option if you like both colours equally. Begin by applying two base layers in alternating colours to one or more accent nails. “Once dry, use a detail brush to apply the thin, red tip to the top of the nail, staying near to the edge and following the form of the nail,” explains Savanna Galvan, a nail technician at Los Angeles’ Bellacures manicure salon. “Once the nails have dried, apply the opposing colour to the ring finger.”

Chrome Hearts

valentine day nails

These modern French tips pay homage to the season of love without the use of red or pink paint. Jessica Washick applied a base coat of Essie Fairy Tailor, a sheer light pink, accentuated with a chrome silver polish from Models Own, a U.K.-based polish brand. With the French tips in place, she finished the look with heart-shaped gold pendants.

Cut-Out Hearts

valentine day nails

Emily Zheng, a nail artist, knows there’s no need to pick between French tips and festive hearts. She hand-painted that exquisite heart if you can believe it. Her strategy is as follows: “To make the top of the heart, I drew two dots adjacent to each other. I filled in the V I sketched below the dots with a tiny detail brush.” Simply ensure that your base coat is dry before applying the heart on top (and yes, that also works as a relationship metaphor.)

Get Your Groove On

valentine day nails

The retro vibe here is reminiscent of a lava lamp, or at the very least, takes a trendy design and incorporates cupid’s favourite colours to match the theme. Dayanna Issey, a nail artist, explains how she created the beautiful stripey shape: “I used a detailer brush with red paint to make the swirl,” she tells Allure. She traced the red with pink, coral, and purple tones once it was totally dry, being sure to maintain the breadth of each swirl as equal as possible.

Hot Pink Tips

valentine day nails

“This was my flirtatious twist on the classic French tip design,” reveals Allure nail artist Cecily Ellis. “The vibrant pink and Swarovski accents keep the nails basic while adding a little of edge.” To achieve this look at home, make V-shaped tips with a fine-line brush and a bright pink lacquer like Orly’s Neon Heat. Then, on the nails of your choice, add two glittering appliqués.

Rainbow Heart Tips

valentine day nails

Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to red and pink nail polish. This fanciful design by Lucy of The Nail Room Chats & Co. in London is simple to replicate at home using colours from your own collection. Begin by painting your nails with a nude or ivory varnish, and then design your heart tips with the use of a stencil (such as this one). To add shine and prevent chipping, apply a glossy topcoat.

Kiss-Print Accents

valentine day nails

Cierra Carlini-Day Smith’s Valentine’s manicure is easier to make than you think. If your nails are short, get some long coffin-shaped acrylic nails (like these) and paint them with whatever beige and crimson paints you have on hand. Simply paint some red-and-pink lip-shaped decals (such as these ones from Etsy) to the accent nails of your choice.

Glitter in Red Jelly

valentine day nails

This fuss-free red manicure is ideal for those who prefer low-maintenance nail art. “When it comes to these ruby slipper-inspired sparklers, there’s certainly no place like home,” adds Messick of this Wizard of Oz-inspired nail style. “First, apply a brilliant red polish, then two coats of multidimensional red glitter polish.” Morgan Taylor’s Nail Lacquer in the colour Rare As Rubies is her recommendation.

Combination of Shiny and Matte

valentine day nails

Although red or pink nails on Valentine’s Day may be expected, nail artist Nikoleta Szalak employed some surprising pairings to create a super-cute manicure. For the delicate, matte pink nails, she used Indigo Nails’ Mineral Base in Natural, and for the glossy red nails and the charming little hearts at the cuticles, she used the same brand’s gel lacquer in the shade Fireman.

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