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50+ Valentine’s Day Nail Colors and Trends You’ll Fall in Love With

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 1/11/2022 Rachel Weingarten

You don't have to be in love to show your nails some love this Valentine's Day. "Whether you're single or with someone, Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to rock any mani that makes you happy," says Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of the membership-based nail studio GlossLab. And while red or pink Valentine's Day nails are always popular, Valentine's Day nail designs have really evolved. Sure, you might still want to choose a classic ruby red or bubblegum pink, but adding some shimmer, sparkle, or other details from the 2022's winter nail trends will take your manicure from cute to amazing.

From abstract nails to French manicures in surprising hues to holiday-themed nail art, these ideas are sure to get your heart racing. And don't be intimidated if you've never attempted nail designs before. You can do something as simple as adding small 3D heart stickers or using non-stick tape to create a cool geometric design, says Silva Nahabedian, director of education for Dazzle Dry.

The only guiding principle? "Just be you!" Nahabedian says. "Choose a style and manicure that authentically expresses you. Whatever style brings out your best, happiest self is the best choice." We’ve got loads of Valentine’s Day ideas for you to do just that, along with the best nail polishes and gel polishes to help you achieve each look for a romantic night out, a fun Galentine’s Day with your besties, or simply a brighter February.

Nail trend: Stick-on heart nail art

© via @nailcon/Instagram

Some people wear their heart on their sleeve. Now you can wear your heart on your nails! Try gold hearts or sparkly 3D nail art stickers with glitter, flakes, and more. Simply choose your favorite polish—red nail polish or pink nail polish are always sure bets for Valentine's Day; wait until it dries, and then stick on as many hearts as you'd like. Use a glossy top coat to seal in your designs. Yep, that's it. Talk about surprisingly simple Valentine's Day nails!

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Nail trend: Abstract art–inspired Valentine's Day nails

© via @pilotwifeyogi/Instagram

If you love the idea of Valentine's Day nail art but prefer to skip the typical hearts, try this pop art–inspired design. Start with a sheer or pale pink nail base and draw random squiggles of bold pink or red. Or find a painting or print you love and draw a loose interpretation by changing out the nail polish colors you use. Mani trends this year are graphic and gorgeous and less cutesy, in general.

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Nail trend: Complementary nails

© via @glosslab/Instagram

While pink and red nails will always be a classic look for Valentine's Day nail art, modern V-Day nail designs add in unexpected color combos. "I love how brown and pink complement each other in a surprisingly adorable and fun way," Glass says. Add a heart detail on one nail on each hand for a decidedly romantic Valentine's Day look. No matter which style you choose, check out these tips to make your manicure last longer.

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Nail trend: Pink Gradient Valentine's Day nails

© via @elana_kuffler/Instagram

There's a reason that most people wear pink nails for their Valentine's Day manicure. It brightens up even the gloomiest February day, and the shades tend to be universally flattering. Go with the palest pink or a pop of neon, depending on your mood, and if you're feeling extra playful, try a gradient of pink colors or pink ombré look.

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Nail trend: Romantic red Valentine's Day nails

© via @lacquered.linds/Instagram

It's hard to beat the classic look of shiny red nails—especially on Valentine's Day. Red nails also flatter nearly every skin tone and nail length, and many couture brands, including Chanel, Hermès, and Christian Louboutin, now have their own signature nail polishes. Choose anything from a tomato red to a deeper shade, depending on your style and mood, and you're good to go! Pro tip: With bold colors like this, use Pueen liquid latex for clean lines and a salon-level DIY manicure.

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Nail trend: Retro red Valentine's Day nails (with hearts!)

© via @joanna.rohde/Instagram

We're slightly in love with this Valentine's Day nail design. Nails are filed in a slightly elongated oval shape with all but two nails painted in a bold red. The remaining two nails are polished in a gentle opal pink color and tipped by two juicy red hearts. Follow with an extra shiny top coat to seal in your design.

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Nail trend: Gloss and matte combo nails

© via @lechatnails/Instagram

For those who prefer a subtle look, or want that special someone to take another look, texture creates visual interest without being overwhelming. You can achieve this by simply playing around with the finish of your top coat. Nahabedian recommends trying a matte top coat over the polish of your choice on every other nail—or half of each nail, which gives the impression of an updated (and super cool!) French manicure. Reminder: Holiday-themed nail polishes and nail tools make fabulous Valentine's gifts for friends.

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Nail trend: Moody nails

© via @gel_nails_263/Instagram

Winter temperatures affect our moods—and color-shifting polishes can reflect that in the (ahem) coolest way. Elle, a celebrity nail artist based in New York and Los Angeles, says this look will be trending not just for Valentine's Day but also for the rest of the year. "The heat of your body will keep your nail beds warm, and if you have long nails, the tips will always remain the cool shade for an ombré, multi-shade look," she explains. Depending on the polish you choose, the effect might also switch colors completely, but regardless, it's a cute way to let your love know you've still got the hots for them.

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Nail trend: Red and pink French tips with hearts

© via @vanityprojects/Instagram

Excuse us while we swoon over the adorable nail art on this modified French manicure. To get the look, paint the nail base a pale pink or the neutral of your choice. Use a half circle as a guide (old-school paper reinforcement stickers work well), and add a layer of baby pink, brighter pink, and then red. Hearts are easy to make with a nail detailing brush. Just dip the brush in red nail polish and dab off the excess; then dot on two red nail polish dots near each other and join them until they form a heart. One important note: Wait until each coat is dry before drawing the next part of the design. Yes, this will take a while, but the result is worth it! Remember to keep your cuticles in tip-top shape with a nourishing cuticle oil since all eyes will definitely be on your hands.

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Nail trend: A red French mani

© via @by.dcnails/Instagram

If you know someone who thinks that red Valentine's Day nails are boring, show them this picture! There's something very flirty and a little bit vampy about these red-tipped nails, which have just the teeniest bit of sparkle. Use a clear or sheer base and allow to dry; then paint on a slightly exaggerated red tip. If you have plans for a fun night out, glue on crystals at the base of each nail and voilà—instant glam!

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Nail trend: XOXO Valentine's Day nails

© Courtesy bellacures.com

If you've got a steady hand, this is a fun and easy way to add some mwah! to your Valentine's Day mani. The nail artists at Bellacures came up with this sweet and sassy version of a French manicure, but let's just concentrate on the hugs and kisses part. Choose the lightest pearl pink possible (try saying that three times fast!), and add one to two coats, depending on how sheer you like your manicure. Using a detail brush, paint on an xoxo design just at the tips.

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Nail trend: Drawn-on Valentine's Day nails

© Courtesy bellacures.com

Valentine's Day is an excuse to embrace hearts, flowers, and great vibes, and this look does that in the sweetest way. These nails are really easy to do on your own because you can start with a clear base. All you have to do after that is paint on the designs of your choice (perfection is optional). Draw an off-center heart or a rectangle that will become a love letter. Paint around your design with black nail polish and you have Valentine's Day nails that tell a love story. This design just may inspire you to create some DIY Valentine's Day cards for your loves.

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Nail trend: Pastel French nails

© via @milliesnailsandbeauty__/Instagram

There have been so many variations on French tips lately, and pops of pastel colors are showing up this winter. It's a classy and classic look that's a bit softer and sweeter than a typical Valentine's Day manicure. Simply polish your nails with a clear or super light pink color, then use your favorite pastel shades to rim the tips. You can go for a muted rainbow effect or use various shades from a single color family, like various hues of pinks from light to lightest!

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Nail trend: Valentine's Day nails with a secret message

© via @thebeautyassembly_/Instagram

Some of the best Valentine's Day manicures have less to do with the designs and more about the way they make you feel. Maybe you want to make a bold statement in 2022. Or maybe you're feeling proud of yourself for a new accomplishment, or you finally smooched the man of your dreams, or you got back together with your ex and don't want anyone to know just yet. In those cases, choose a color that makes you smile or has a fantastic name like Deborah Lippmann's Freedom, which gives you a layer of pizzazz and a message for you alone. Now that you have the perfect mani, find out out the best ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, according to your zodiac sign, so you can show it off.

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Sources:

  • Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of GlossLab
  • Silva Nahabedian, director of education for Dazzle Dry
  • Elle, celebrity nail artist

The post 50+ Valentine’s Day Nail Colors and Trends You’ll Fall in Love With appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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