Forget flowers, chocolate, and expensive jewelry — Valentine's Day is all about the aesthetic. What better excuse to go all-out on an elaborate manicure? You don't need a professional for these, either; if you're fairly confident in your nail art skills, these looks can all be achieved at home. So whether you're happily loved-up or single and thriving, celebrate the right way this Valentine's Day by taking style inspiration from some of these Instagram-worthy looks.
Who doesn't love a sparkly nail polish? It's not like we've ever needed an excuse to reach for the glitter, but Valentine's Day is a great one, regardless. Metallic colors like silver and gold are perfect for achieving that subtle yet eye-catching effect. If you're looking to go a little more elaborate, try painting a few hearts on top in a contrasting color.
What's cuter than these polka-dotted digits? You can start with a red or pink base for this one, or do both if you're feeling daring. This design can be as uniform or as varied as you like, depending on your preference, or mix it up a little by leaving some nails unpatterned or alternating colors. And don't worry if you don't have the steadiest hand — if your polka dots turn out to be different sizes, you can just say you were going for whimsy!
While there's no denying that red is the signature color of Valentine's Day, who says you can't shake things up by going seriously pink? This pastel design is as sweet as any candy and perfect for those who prefer a more demure look. Add a bit of interest with some simple patterns on a couple of the nails, or keep it unadorned if that's your thing.
If you want all eyes on you this Valentine's Day, why not go above and beyond? Forget blending in — this style is all about standing out from the crowd. Think sparkles, beads, and stick-on gems; for bonus points, try decorating each nail with a different design. And don't be concerned about going overboard; with this look, there's no such thing as too much.
For something less elaborate, but just as fancy, take a classic French manicure as your inspiration. If that feels a little too basic, take your look to the next level with a few embellishments. A row of gems or stickers really elevates this traditional manicure for a chic yet dramatic finish.
For something that breaks the mold, how about these striking black nails? The matte texture keeps them from looking too dark and gloomy, while the subtle heart design keeps things firmly in Valentine's Day territory. This one is a must-try for anyone seeking to get into the spirit of the holiday without having to stick to the tried-and-tested red and pink.
Everyone hopes for a romantic embrace on Valentine's Day — but why wait around for Prince Charming when you can have the perfect kiss right at your fingertips? A simple white background keeps the focus where it should be, on the bold lipstick-red design. Not sure you can pull this one off? Look for ready-made nail art stickers to complete the look.
This gorgeous look is a little more complicated, but the finished result is worth the effort. Again, if you're worried about neatness, nail art stickers are your best friend here — you want the end effect to imply a romantic note, not a messy scribble. If you're confident in your DIY abilities, we recommend hunting down a fine-tip nail pen for this one, and probably sticking to your non-dominant hand!
For a more modern look, try bucking the red and pink trend altogether. Pair a solid color like purple, blue, or yellow with some multicolored hearts for a super cute look that you won't want to take off after Valentine's Day. For really fine lines on the heart decorations, you can use a nail art pen or even an ordinary sharpie!
The K.I.S.S. rule applies to nails, too. For an understated but really effective look, keep your ornamentation confined to a single nail. This sparkly free-form heart pattern stands out enough to justify leaving the other nails plain. The trick here is to pick a soft, neutral color as a base — anything pastel is perfect.