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Short Nail Designs for 2022

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While short nails are practical and neat, they are not conducive to nail art. Your canvas is limited by the small size of your fingers. Some nail art ideas are impossible to achieve on a tightly-trimmed nail plate.


You don’t have a right to live a life of solid colors if you want to keep your nails short. There are many short nail designs that you can find on the internet. You can also use these as inspirations when you go to the salon. Below are some of the most popular nail designs for shorter nails, if you don’t have much length. (





French Manicure Two-Tone


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French manicures have a slight accent that makes them suitable for short nails. Follow these steps to get the multi-colored update to the classic manicure. Christina Kao, co-founder of and CEO Le Mini Macaron.


  1. Shape nails as you like
  2. Apply two coats of light pink nail polish and let dry. Gel polishes can be cured by letting them dry.
  3. Dip Le Mini Macaron Liner Nail Art Brush (Buy It, $13, asos.com) or a similar detailer brush into a hot pink polish. To create a curved line, draw two lines diagonally at each nail’s tip. Fill in the gap at each end with a filler. Let dry or cure if using gel polish.
  4. Gel polishes can be dried or cured by applying a topcoat. (





Glitter Outline


Even if your nails have a very short length, there will still be plenty of space to outline each nail. You can either use a clear coat that is accented with glitter and black polish as shown above or go for contrasting matte shades. Here’s how to do the short nail. designAccording to Shelena Robinson, global education manager at OPI.


  1. Shape nails as you like
  2. Apply a basecoat and let dry.
  3. Dip a detailer brushBuy It, $4 per Three amazon.com) into a black nail polish. Draw a straight line along the sides of each nail to outline it. You can draw a thin line along the cuticle or at the tip of the nail. Repeat this process with each finger. If necessary, apply a second coat. Let dry.
  4. Use a clean detailer to dip into a polish that glitters and trace each line. Let dry.
  5. If necessary, clean the lines with a detailer brush that has been dipped in nail polish remover.
  6. Apply a topcoat, and let dry.
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Side French Manicure


Flipping the mani can is a great option if you feel bored with regular French manicures. designIt is best to have the color run down the side of each finger and not at the tips. You’ll be able to create a striking combination of colors, such as red and dark, by using an unusual color combination like black and red. Continue reading to learn how. Melinda CarrilloA nail artist at Pear NovaStudio created the look you see above.


  1. Shape nails as you like
  2. Apply a base coat, and let dry (or cure, if you are using gel polish).
  3. Apply one coat of sheer pink nail polish and let dry.
  4. Dip a detailer brushYou can make it a red hue, such as Pear Nova Truth Oar Gel Lacquer (Buy It, $21, pearnova.comPlace a thin moon-shaped shape on each side of each nail. Let dry.
  5. Dip a Dotting toolBuy It, $5 for Five amazon.com() into black polish, then carefully apply thin lines along each red stripe to create an abstract design. Let dry.
  6. Apply a topcoat, and let dry. (BTW, these dotting tools can be used to replicate Sydney Sweeney’s cute spring manicure.



Foil Tips


Foil is a great option for nail enhancement. “You can apply [foil] to the full nail, or as an abstract french as we did in this video,”Jennifer Bell, senior market manager at Bellacures salons. “Foils are a fun way to add some shape or patterns to your nails that can be super difficult to paint on without loads of skill. This look is best achieved using gel polishes.”


  1. Shape nails as you like
  2. Apply a base coat, let dry, or cure gel polish if you are using it.
  3. Apply two coats with a nude nail varnish, such as OPI Puts It In Neutral (Buy It, $11, amazon.com(pictured above. After each coat is dry, cure it.
  4. A roll of paper should be cut to approximately one square inch rainbow foil (Buy It, $10, amazon.com).
  5. Apply nail foil glue (Buy It, $7, amazon.comPlace the foil in the desired area. Now, press the foil to glue and remove from nail. To achieve the above look, you can either press it down flat or pull it off quickly.
  6. Continue this process for every nail.
  7. Apply a top coat, cure, or allow to dry.
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Mix and match


Are you unable to choose between a French manicure or a solid nail color? This is a mismatched nail art idea. The end result will be visually appealing, regardless of whether you choose complementary colors or two shades of the same colour. Here are some tips to achieve this look. designAccording to Kao, for short nails


  1. Shape nails as you like
  2. Gel polishes can be applied as a base coat.
  3. Dip a detailer brushUse a light nail polish shade to line the tip of your index finger. This will create a French manicure design. Let dry or cure if using gel polish. Repeat the process for the other index finger.
  4. With the detailer brush, light polish, and a pencil, draw a curve along one side. Fill in the lines. Apply a darker shade to the opposite nail. Repeat on the other ring finger.
  5. Paint the rest of your fingers with two coats of nail polish, switching between lighter and dark colors. If using gel polish, cure between coats.
  6. Make sure to clean up any mistakes using a detailer brush dipped into acetone.
  7. Apply a topcoat, and let dry.



Checkered Nail Art


Checkered nail art like the designFor shorter nails, the above can be scaled down. Robinson says the key is to use a detailer with a length of 7 millimeters. This will allow you more control over drawing small squares. A 9-millimeter brush will cover a larger area in a shorter time and be sufficient if your nails are longer. Robinson shares his tips for creating cute, short nails.


  1. Shape nails as you like
  2. Apply a basecoat and let dry.
  3. A drop of pink polish, such a OPI All your Dreams in Vending Machines (Buy It, $11, ulta.com), onto a palette or piece of aluminum foil. Drag a detailer brushRoll the brush from the base to tip with the lacquer. Repeat this two to three more times to evenly coat all brush hairs. To create a grid pattern on nails, draw two lines.
  4. To make a checker, place two diagonal squares on each of the nails. design. Let dry, then repeat.
  5. Apply a topcoat, and let dry.



Jewel Accents


The trend for nail stickers is in and applying jeweled versions to your nails can create a dazzling stack of rings. The stickers can be applied over your favorite nail color, as shown above, or you can opt for a French manicure. Here’s how to achieve this short nail. designAccording to Kao. (

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  1. Shape nails as you like
  2. Apply a base coat, and let dry (or cure, if you are using gel polish).
  3. Dip Le Mini Macaron Liner Nail Art Brushor a similar brush to make a white polish. To create a curve, draw two lines at the tip each nail. Then fill in the space at the middle of each nail. Let dry or cure if using gel polish.
  4. Use three to four jewel nail stickers. Le Mini Macaron Nail Play! Set of Nail Art (Buy It, $18, leminimacaron.com) using a pair of tweezers.
  5. Gel polishes can be dried or cured by applying a topcoat.



Heart Accents


If you want simple, but quick nail designs, try drawing hearts on a few of your nails. You will only need to copy the above designTwo colors, a detailer brush and a steady hand are all you need. Kao explains how to achieve this look. (




  1. Shape nails as you like
  2. Paint two coats of a light rose shade. Cure for 30 seconds in between coats if using gel polish or let dry.
  3. Dip Le Mini Macaron Liner Nail Art BrushUse a similar detailer brush to apply dark pink nail polish. If you are using gel polish, outline the area and then add two mini hearts. Repeat the process for each other finger.
  4. Apply a topcoat, and let dry.



Skittles Manicure


It’s not a simple nail. designThe skittles manicure is not a problem per se. It’s more fun to use a different color for each finger than it is to use the same color throughout the entire manicure. You can also achieve a Skittles manicure even if your nails have been bitten. “This spring, we see this trend taking a more subtle turn,” says Bell. “Instead of reaching for a mix of bright pinks, we are going to see a lot of neutral, softer, subtle skittles out there. Think olive greens, grey-blues, or nudes.”


  1. Shape nails as you like
  2. Apply a basecoat and let dry.
  3. Apply two coats to each nail. After that, switch to a new nail color. A third coat may be required for lighter shades. Let dry.
  4. Apply a topcoat, and let dry.


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