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My teenage years were defined by bands like My Chemical Romance, black nail paint, and oversized stripy shirts. Yup, I was a hardcore emo, and loved nothing more than wearing my huge boots and hanging around music venues looking… miserable. Over the years, I have left a lot of this subculture in the past, but it still has an impact on my fashion sense. So, from time to time, I love getting my black nail polish out and embracing my gothic roots.
I wanted to write this article on black nails inspiration and ideas. Black has evolved out of the emo and goth subculture in regard to nail art, and we can create sophisticated and modern looks that are based on this color. Black goes with everything, looks chic, and allows us to experiment with trends and patterns.
Black Nails Up Front
I love all the different takes on black nails, there are so many different ways we can wear this color! My favorite on the list has to be the tattoo black nails. I am a fan of traditional-style tattoos, and these nails give me big vintage vibes. I also am in awe of the talent of the nail artist to hand-paint the design.
My other top picks include:
- Simple Short Black Nails
- Checkerboard Black Nails
- Black French Tip
- Love Heart Black Nails
- Gold Swirl Black Nails
- Negative Space Black Nails
- Short Black and White Nails
- Swirly Black Nails
- Long Black French Tips
- Black Coffin Nails
- Long Black Nails With Gemstones
- Black French Tip Swirls
- Nude and Black Nails
- Black Nails With Flames
- Black and White Flowery Nails
- Galaxy Black Nails
- Spacy Black Nails
- Cut-out Heart Black Nails
- Splatter Black Nails
- Abstract Black Nails
- Black Nails With Neon Stars
- Matte Pastel Tips and Black Nails
- Matte Black Nails With Pink Glitter
- Pastel Rainbow and Matte Black Nails
- Green, Zebra, and Black Nails
- Mushroom Black Nails
When picking what black nails to include on this list, I wanted to showcase the different trends and designs that use this color. From more gothic looks to modern sophisticated trends, there is so much fun to be had with black nails!
I have included a lot of designs that can be recreated at home, but have included some more complex manicures, too, for those of us who like going to salons to get our nails done. I made sure all the manicures included are done at the highest standard by the best nail artists around!
Short Black Nails
Let’s start by looking at some short black nails that are perfect if you are wanting a bold look, but can’t go too long with your manicure!
Simple Short Black Nails
Honestly, I feel that there is nothing as iconic as a simple black color on the nails. It goes with every outfit and looks sleek and chic. This short black manicure is stunning, and I love the shiny top coat used.
Checkerboard Black Nails
Checkerboard nails are super popular right now, I feel like they are constantly filling my Instagram feed! I love this manicure that uses black and nude for the checkerboard design, matching the black with block color nails. It is very chic and modern, and perfect if you want to mix up your black manicure a little bit.
You can recreate this design by using nail art tape to section off the different squares in the checkerboard design. This allows you to create clean, straight squares with your nail gel.
Black French Tips
French tips are always a popular choice when it comes to manicures as they are simple and sophisticated. These French tips are very subtle, creating a modern design for the manicure. If you are wanting to replicate this design at home, get yourself some French nail tape that allows you to paint a clean tip onto your nails.
Love Heart Black Nails
How cute are these?! The nail artist has kept things pretty simple by applying black on most of the nails, leaving one without paint. They have then added a little black heart on the natural nail. I really like the look, feels like a little nod to my glorious emo days!
Gold Swirl Black Nails
Another design that has a little twist on the simple black manicure, these nails feel sophisticated and glamorous. I really like how subtle the gold swirl is, it doesn’t overwhelm the design.
If you want to recreate this design at home, apply a black gel coat and cure it. I will always apply two or three coats of gel in order to get a block color. Then, get a gold gel nail pen and paint on the swirls. After curing the gold swirls, apply a top coat. A simple but stunning manicure!
Negative Space Black Nails
I am all about the negative space nail art trend. Leaving some of the nails without gel creates interesting and unique designs, and there are so many different things to try out with the trend.
I really like this take on the negative space trend that uses a black gel to add swirls on the natural nails. If you are wanting to recreate this at home, make sure you take your time adding the swirls! I feel if done quickly, this manicure might just look like your nail polish is chipping…
Short Black and White Nails
This manicure is very cool and modern. I love how the black and white come together to create gray, it feels fun and innovative!
Swirly Black Nails
Another swirly black nail look! I love a monochrome nail moment, and this manicure is very chic. Again, if you want to recreate this at home, be careful when adding the swirls! Take your time painting the design onto your nails.
Or, you may want to get some nail art stencils. These can be put on the nail before adding the gel, then removed after curing. A great way of getting different designs if you are not that steady with a nail art brush!
Long Black Nails
Long black nails are quintessentially gothic. They are bold, daring, and sleek. So, what are my favorite long black nail picks?
Long Black French Tips
I am not going to lie, I really prefer the curvy French nails to the straighter ones. I feel they look better, and really like how they add length to the nail. I really like how deep this curve is, going halfway down the nail. It looks extra glam!
Black Coffin Nails
I am a big fan of the coffin shape of nails, although never could have them because of my work (typing all day might be hard). However, it doesn’t stop me from looking at coffin nails and getting major envy!
These black coffin nails are so beautiful, and I love how the nail artist has used a nude color as a base. They have then used dramatic angles for the French tip style design, creating an edgy and striking look.
Long Black Nails With Gemstones
These stiletto long black nails are totally extra, with a dramatic pointy tip and stunning 3D gemstones. Nails like these are my fantasy nails. If I could get away with them, I totally would!
Black French Tip Swirls
I love the mixing of matte and shine in these nails. This is a really interesting trend I am seeing a lot of when it comes to black nails, and I think it is super cool! The nail artist has used a matte black color for the French tips, then painted on the swirls. I presume they have used a clear, shiny top coat for the swirls, contrasting it with the matte black. A very cool design that I am definitely going to try out soon!
Nude and Black Nails
This is another stunning manicure that uses a nude color with the black, and it looks amazing! I love the detailing on the nude nails, using lines and gemstones.
Black Nails With Designs
Let’s look at some black nails that incorporate different designs and trends into their look. Some might be a bit difficult to recreate at home, but they are all fabulous!
Black Nails With Flames
Ah, the iconic flame design. It is probably one of my favorite nail art trends at the minute, with its nostalgic feel and interesting look. These flame nails are super cool, using a nail art brush to paint on the black flames. The nail artist has then added white dots and stars onto some of the nails, taking the look to the next level. I love the final result!
Black and White Flowery Nails
I really like the matching nails in this design, using a white gel as the base on one hand, and a black gel as the base on the other. I like the size of the flowers and the neat square shape of the nails.
Galaxy Black Nails
Not going to lie, I am obsessed with anything space-themed. I am all about watching documentaries about the weird planets in the universe and checking out all the spacey science news! So, of course, I love it when two of my great loves (space and nail art) collide. These galaxy nails are amazing, using black, gray, and purple hues to create a stunning design. The detailing on the nails is fab, with dots and stars scattered on the nails.
Spacey Black Nails
More space nails! I could totally have a whole article about my love for space-themed nails (soon!). These are more stripped back than the previous nails, using a black base with white designs. I love the constellation designs on the nails, and how every nail is different!
If you are feeling particularly arty, get yourself some nail art gel pens and have a go at creating these at home!
Cut-out Heart Black Nails
This is such an innovative design, and I haven’t really seen anything like it! The nail artist has created a cut-out design, using a nude color as a base. I love the mix of the white and black gel colors, it feels properly chic and sophisticated! A very cool manicure.
Splatter Black Nails
Another really interesting design, I love the splattering effect on three of the nails. A fun take on nail art, mixing it up and using negative space in the design!
Black Nails With Other Colors
Black is a great color to match with other shades, allowing you to add a bit of brightness but still keeping the manicure bold and sophisticated. Let’s look at my top picks for black nails with other colors.
Tattoo Black Nails
Okay, I am in LOVE with these nails. They give me vibes of traditional tattoos, using a black as a base for the art. I cannot believe that they are hand-painted, the nail artist has amazing talent! A stunning, vintage feel manicure that is a work of art.
Abstract Black Nails
Abstract nails are everywhere right now, and take inspiration from abstract art, playing with dots, lines, and shapes. This is a fun abstract nail design, using black to tie everything together.
Abstract nails are really fun to try out at home, because you can’t really mess them up! It is a great way to express your creativity and get some cool nail art.
Black Nails With Neon Stars
This manicure is definitely reminding me of my emo days, and I am here for it. The neon ombre effect used on the stars is super cool, and the stars are so neat!
Matte Pastel Tips and Black Nails
Woah, these nails are stunning! The matte black and pastel tips are very cool, and I love the dramatic point on the tips. The bronze line adds another layer of sophistication to the design, creating a sleek, slick look.
Matte Black Nails With Pink Glitter
Matte black always looks slick, and this manicure is no different. The nail artist has opted to have a pink glittery design on the little fingers, which goes so well with the matte black. Gothic and girly at the same time!
Pastel Rainbow and Matte Black Nails
This manicure is incredible! The shiny pastel ombre design is stunning, and I love the drip designs on the nails. This nail artist has massive amounts of talent.
Green, Zebra, and Black Nails
Animal prints are in right now, and there is nothing cooler than mix and match nails, too! The bright green color really goes with the black and white designs of the rest of the nail, and I love the cut-out effect on the pointer nail.
Mushroom Black Nails
I am a big fan of the goblincore aesthetic, which incorporates different aspects of nature into the look. Mushrooms are big in goblincore, and this manicure pulls it off perfectly. I can’t believe the level of detail on the mushrooms, using a neon green on the stems. They are super cool, and I wish I had the talent to recreate these at home!
Black Nails FAQs
Let’s look at some questions you may have about black nails.
Answer: Black nails are in style in 2022 because of their classic and sophisticated look.
Answer: Yes! A sleek matte black is a great look if you are wanting something sophisticated.
Answer: Black nails look great all year round. It depends on your own personal style and what you want from your nails!
Are You Ready for Black Nails?
I hope this article has helped you find your perfect black manicure! From girly to gothic, long to short, there is so much to choose from when it comes to black nails.
Which manicure is your favorite?