Valentine’s Day nail art is inherently campy.Sure, a few years ago, it might have bordered on tacky, but in 2023, the best Valentine’s Day manicures aren’t just fashion—it’s complicated.
“This Valentine’s Day, anything is possible,” says Olivia Van Iderstine, Olive & June nail trendsetter and vice president of content and creative. “We love totally over-the-top, super-cute looks with all our hearts. There’s a reason red and pink are the go-to color combination, so don’t be afraid to wear both. ”
Whether you’re looking for something subtle and minimalist or want your manicure to be the center of attention, there are plenty of options for a fun, festive manicure. We talked to the experts about the nail looks they’re most excited about, and all the tools you need to get that precise look. Find out ahead of time the best V-Day nail trends that will be everywhere on February 2nd. 14. Bookmark them now for your next nail appointment—or try them at home.
Don’t like red and pink? New York City-based manicurist Kesang Gurung knows a thing or two about making gel manicures accessible to minimalists. Getting this festive black-and-white gel style at home requires a steady hand, a good gel polish (she prefers CND), and a great detailing brush, Gurung says.
First, use the small detail brush to get the thickness where you want your French manicure to cure the polish. Then, Gurung said she used a tool to draw the little hearts. First, pour some white and black gel nail polish onto a small piece of tinfoil. “Then, I dip the tool in the polish and make a dot, slide it to make a horizontal line on the right side,” she says. “Then I make another dot parallel to the first one, and slide horizontally to the left to join them in a V shape. After that, I fill in the heart with a thin eyeliner or a thin fill brush.” Cure it before painting. (You can also use regular polish to build the look, but take care to let each coat dry completely before applying a new one.)
Gurung recommends using CND Gel LED lights for manicures. The kit comes with a gel primer and top coat, and a two-tone gel polish. The white cream puff color is perfect for this look.
For black details, choose this opaque gel shade.
Looking for something more detailed? Manicurist Tammy Taylor is known for her long, intricate, picturesque nails, and this rose gel style is no exception. Be warned, though: This style is done freehand, so you’ll need some talent (or an art friend with a steady hand) to get the look at home. Follow this video and the steps outlined previously.
On a new set of nail extensions, Taylor first used Princess Valentine Elegance Gel Polish Collection on top of XXL Square’s The Weekenders Nail Extensions in alternating base colors, then allowed to cure. She then painted the rose shapes using Roses are Mauve Gel Polish and Bold Striper Brush, and cured again.
“Then, outline your rose with Ferosh Black Gel Polish and Bold Striper Brush, cure it, then use the Detail Brush to mix in Ferosh Black Gel Polish, then cure again,” she explains.
To get the petal detail, Taylor first used Forever Rose Gel Polish and cured it, then added highlights using French White Chocolate Gel Polish mixed with Roses are Mauve Gel Polish. She blends it with a Detail Brush and fixes it again.To complete the look, Taylor says, “add your leaves [white polish], use the 3D Brush and Clean-It to restore it and clean up any blemishes. ” She seals the look by applying and curing a coat of Glass Slipper top coat, and massages in some cuticle oil to keep it shiny and healthy.
Available in three lengths, these nail extensions can be used without lights, making them a great choice for beginners.
This gel-polish trio features three rose shades—berry rose, lilac rose, and eternal rose—perfect for progressive French manicures or sophisticated Valentine’s Day manicures.
To add detail to the rose manicure, Taylor used her Gelegance Gel Polish in Ferosh Dark Chocolate and French White Chocolate.
The Clean-It Kit helps keep nails, brushes and surfaces clean. After the gel polish has cured, use a small washcloth soaked in the solution to remove any tackiness and add extra shine to your nails.
Make your manicure last longer with Taylor’s Gel Top Coat. Reviewers praise it for keeping nails shiny and strong for weeks.
Want a fun, intricate manicure at home, but don’t have a steady hand? There is a solution. “Nail art stickers are the easiest way to get a perfect manicure in seconds,” says Van Iderstine, who says her best advice is to apply them to nails that are 100 percent dry. “We like to apply them 24 hours after painting,” she says. “Just peel, stick, and topcoat to seal them in. If you don’t like the first placement, you can gently peel and reapply them before topcoating.”
If you need some practice, “try out your design a few times on a piece of scratch paper before painting it on your nails,” she says. She loves the idea of mixing pink nail stickers with red manicure — and vice versa.
Experts and beginners alike can appreciate these easy-to-apply nail art stickers.
“Our nail pens are as easy as drawing with a marker!” says Van Iderstine. They come with a reversible applicator so you have maximum control over your nail art. Try some multicolored hearts or a funky French suit.
You always want to keep a top coat in mind to ensure your designs stay intact.
If nail stickers are still a bit too time-consuming for you, you’re in luck. There’s an easier way to get an at-home manicure in seconds. “I think a lot of people who aren’t big fans of nail art will get a little festive through it,” says Cyndi Ramirez, founder of Chillhouse, a nail salon and spa in New York. “It removes the advantage of having to go crypto via Pinterest or Instagram and then get frustrated at the nail salon because they don’t show up the way you expect. Plus, they’re more affordable, and you can almost guarantee they’ll look great on you !”
One of Chillhouse’s best styles for the holidays is this fuzzy Valentine’s Day-themed red and white check style. They’re not overly festive, but can be a nice hint of the holidays. To look good, Ramirez says to wash your hands and “rub the nail beds lightly so the glue will adhere better.” Then, apply glue to both nail beds and press: The key here is not to be too heavy on your hands ! Press for 20-30 seconds per nail,” she says.
To safely remove them, soak your hands in soapy water containing olive oil.
These red and white pressure patches have all the tools you need to create a long-lasting Valentine’s Day look without a trip to the salon.
“We’ve also had a lot of people use our two-step nail restoration kit, On the Mend, as a manicure mask to exfoliate their nails, and it works really well,” shares Ramirez.
Another variation on Valentine’s Day nail art is some ’90s-inspired nail art. These edgy designs are great for short nails as they can fit any size nail bed, but you just need some patience and a precise hand to pull them off.
Plus, chocolate chrome is a fun nod to festive desserts. “Chocolate brown has always been my go-to color for Valentine’s Day,” says Van Iderstine. “Who wouldn’t want chocolate on Victory Day? It’s sweet and slightly moody, perfect for a winter February mani without getting too dull.”
You can use gel polish and chrome powder to achieve the look, or choose to use metallic polish over traditional manicures.
This burgundy shade with cocoa undertones is the perfect base for your Valentine’s Day chocolate designs.
Apply this coppery chrome powder over your gel designs to give them a metallic effect.
Or, if you’re using a traditional polish, OPI’s Bring Out The Big Gems Glitter Paint has a similar reddish-brown hue.