Long nails can be intimidating for some, but to us, they’re just a fun blank canvas waiting to be turned into something magnificent. Whether you currently have long nails, are thinking about growing your nails out, or considering nail extensions, we’ve rounded up some of the top nail designs for long nails that will turn your next manicure into a conversation starter and a trending post on Instagram!
In this article:
77 Long Nail Design Ideas to Try
From summer-ready options to demure classics, below, you can find the best long nail designs worth recreating!
1. Daisy French Mani
You can never go wrong with a French manicure, and long nails make it easier than ever to nail this look – pun definitely intended! Twist it up by opting for a color other than white for the nail tip, and then add in floral nail art for a fresh and modern effect.
2. Floral Check
Florals and nails go together, sure, but what about gingham checks? Long nails look unique with this play on color and prints. To nail the look, choose two nails for the print and keep it with a white-accented check, so it stays bright.
3. Fresh Summer Long Nail Designs
Who says that all of your nails have to carry the same hue or designs? Long nail designs look excellent, with each nail serving as an individual palette that works alone and together. Go wild and have fun with colors!
4. For the Cowgirls
Cow prints don’t have to be limited to black and white or brown and white, and this gorgeous long nail design proves why. An off-white nail polish serves as the backdrop for bold olive green, taupe, and periwinkle blue-accented cow prints.
5. Get Geometric
Negative space and geometric designs look great on anyone, but with long nails, you’ve got more space to work with. Start with a clear base coat, choose two colors, and use nail tape to create the separation. To really up the ante, switch up the color combos on each nail.
6. Farmer’s Market
Why just play with color when you can also play with designs? We love that this look pairs a variety of backdrop colors with a unique fruit shape on each nail. Strawberries, oranges, kiwis, lemons, and cherries combine for a fruit combo that’s always fresh.
7. Watercolor Sorbet
This long nail design is going to require a bit of expertise but is a great DIY if you’ve got a few makeup sponges and some patience. Choose tropical hues to create that classic multi-color sorbet that we all remember and get to work gently, sponging in color for a cute ombre effect.
8. Jewel Effect
There’s more than one way to create nail art, and you don’t always have to rely on nail polish. If you want to add some pizzazz to your long nail designs, but you’re not that great with a brush, consider adding gems or nail stickers as seen here to create some visual interest.
9. The Negative Space Effect
You don’t always need to cover your entire nail to create a gorgeous design. Here, long nails – and long nail beds – serve as the backdrop for fun variations like strawberries, oranges, and floral patterns for a sunny 10-set that we can get behind.
10. Touch of Brown
Who said that brown is boring because we didn’t! This play on brown and white in a fun floral design is everything your long nails need. You’ll be only too happy to shake hands or do anything that gives you a chance to show off this unique manicure.
11. Moon Mani
While we know that not everyone has visible moons on their nails, that doesn’t mean you can’t play them up. Negative space takes the show again with this long nail manicure that pairs contrasting neon hues against each other in a negative space French manicure.
12. Reverse French Manicure
A traditional French manicure focuses on tips that are white – or the color of your choice. But this reverse French manicure is great for long nails. After applying a base coat, you’ll need to use stickers to cover the moons at your cuticle and then paint the remainder of your nails with the color of your choice.
13. The Swoopy French Manicure
French manicures are classics when it comes to nail art for a reason – because they’re relatively easy to do and are a timeless style. But bring it forward with this unique twist that pairs long nail designs with a swoopy French manicure. Instead of drawing the tips straight across as you normally would, you’re going to let the tips swoop for something that looks like dripping paint.
14. Inverted Perfection
If the idea of just using two nail polish colors to create nail art sounds limiting, think again. This gorgeous long nail design manages to create three inverted floral nail designs and two marble effects with just two colors.
15. The Perfect Outline
Seriously, if anyone tells you that the French manicure concept is played out, tell them to have several seats. Here, long nails are painted with a neutral blush as a base color, and then a variety of pastels are used to create unique line art that mimics the same effect as a French manicure, but in a more modern concept.
16. Accented Negative Space
If you prefer the idea of one accent nail, then this look is a great one to try – or to have your preferred nail artist replicate. While the majority of the long nails are left a single color (white in this case), the ring finger and thumb are both sporting a design that relies on negative space. To create the contrast, add nail stickers for added interest.
17. Playing with Texture
There are so many ways to have fun with long nail designs, and one of them is playing with texture. While most nail polishes give you a nice glossy finish, using a matte topcoat can help to create visual interest – especially when not all of the nails are left glossy or matte. Here three of the four nails are matte and a different hue to play up that contrast.
18. Botanical Twist
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few fashion seasons, you know that ferns and botanical-inspired designs are all the rage. With long nails, you can recreate that literal green thumb thanks to all that extra space you have. To keep the leaves the star of the show, use a neutral base color like soft pink, taupe, or beige. And if this seems too tricky to nail as a freehand design, look for nail stickers to recreate this look.
19. Rose Gold Marble
Marble and rose gold are two design schemes and concepts that have been hot for a while now and haven’t shown any signs of cooling off. These gorgeous long nail designs pair a soft pink marble design with rose gold foil accents for a manicure that’s eye-catching and unique.
20. Gentle Ombre Long Nail Design
Ombre nails continue to be a hot trend, but we’re loving the way these are created. First, long nails are filed into a stiletto shape. Then a neutral base is applied before using the ombre effect to add a warm sunny yellow to the tips. For the final effect, a matte topcoat is applied.
21. Marimekko-Inspired Nails
If you love Marimekko designs and want to see that translated to the world of nail art, you can’t go wrong with this long nail design. While the moons of the nails are left with just a base coat, bold artwork is painted throughout the rest of the nail for a unique effect.
22. Gentle Foil
We can’t get enough of gold foil. While it takes some time to nail – pun intended – the art of laying gold foil as a step in a manicure, it’s worth the effort. Here acrylic stiletto long nails are intentionally left clear, and then gold foil is applied before setting with a topcoat.
While defined designs are cool, we also love long nails with abstract nail art. Here a range of earthy hues is layered for a cool ombre effect before additional outlines are added in a darker hue for visual interest.
24. Stickers as Art
This long nail design is a fun option that might be easier for people who aren’t as effective at freehand nail art. Nails are filed into an oval shape, and a sheer base color is applied. Stickers are paired with drops of bold neon hues for a fun New Wave effect.
25. Barely-There Mani
Just because you don’t like bold hues on your long nails doesn’t mean you should go without an eye-catching manicure. Here long stiletto nails are paired with a neutral base coat before simple black symbols are added to each nail. If freehanding those symbols sounds intimidating, opt for stickers.
26. Calming Almond
Matte long nails are such a cool concept and still turn heads because most of us are used to seeing high gloss nails. Here almond-shaped nails are painted with a neutral base color like off-white. Then drops of color are added in a range of pastel and jewel tones before little dots of black are painted using a fine-tipped brush.
27. Vivid Prints
You can’t go wrong with a diverse 10-set of long nails. And this is especially true if you’re the type that struggles to commit to one design for all of your nails. Go wild, have fun, and pick a variety of shades, patterns, and designs, just like is seen here.
28. An Eye for Design
We’re loving how this long nail manicure looks! While each finger is reflective of the design on the corresponding finger on the other hand, we love what’s happening with the ring fingers. While a single eye dominates the right ring finger, a patterned set of eyes sits on the left ring finger.
29. Declare Your Sports
If you have a favorite hobby like a sport, why not declare it to the world? These long nails are shaped into a stiletto, and then a marble effect is created with neon and pastel hues. But what sets it off is the fact that this manicure client has the world “golf” spelled out on her fingers.
30. Matte Abstraction
Seriously, just adding a matte topcoat can often be enough to make your long nails stand out from everyone else’s. But if you want to go the extra mile, then pair a neutral base color with a little squiggly nail art – the more abstract, the better. And then finish with that matte topcoat for something that looks like it should be shown in a museum.
31. Pastel Eggs
This long nail manicure is giving us robin’s egg vibes – probably because of the ring finger and thumb. But this is another fun and easy DIY manicure you can make on your own. After laying your base pastel hues, use stickers for the text art or nail strips for the lines. Then follow with randomized black dots using a fine-tipped brush and finish with a matte topcoat.
32. Folk Art Long Nail Design
If you love the American Southwest, then this interesting long nail design is perfect for you. The fun set relies on a matte topcoat for the final effect but pairs warm earthy tones with vivid designs that channel indigenous peoples of the American Southwest.
33. A Little Neon Whimsy
Who says you can’t have fun with bold hues? In this fun, long nail design, bold neon and tropical hues are combined to create marbled and defined designs. We’re also in love with the animal art on the thumb.
34. Modern Art on Long Nails
We can’t get enough of matte nail art because it stands out from the standard options. In this manicure, long nails are given an oval shape before single colors are added to two nails on each hand. The other nails all feature a bold design that feels like it came straight out of the MOMA.
35. Tropical Paradise
For people who always need to be surrounded by greenery, this is the perfect manicure for them. Long nails are shaped into almond shapes before a negative space design is created to create contrast between the nail beds and the remainder of the painted nail. Finish with a high gloss topcoat.
36. Dreamy Field of Florals
If you love the idea of large floral designs on your nails, this is the look for you. Long nails are given a stiletto shape, and then a neutral base color is applied all over the nail. Large floral designs are created on each nail, and then soft yellow dots are added at the end – almost as if to imply fireflies are flying among the flowers!
37. Bold Floral Print
If you love florals for nail art, you don’t necessarily have to do it on every nail. We like that this style creates visual interest by only adding floral designs on two of the long nails. The remainder are left with the initial white base color.
38. Pretty in Pink
You can’t go wrong with a pink manicure. Again, we’re obsessed with the matte texture and the fact that two of the five nails are left a single hue. Use stickers to replicate the nail art if you attempt this at home!
39. Sweet 3D Long Nail Design
We can’t get enough of these fun 3D gummy bear-inspired long nails. This cute design incorporates polka dots with word art and even a 3D gummy bear accent on the thumb.
40. Life Is a Bowl of Cherries
If life is a bowl of cherries, why not show it to the world through your manicure? Here, long nails are shaped into an oval and painted with a neutral base color. Bunches of cherries are then painted in for a fun manicure that’s sure to be a conversation starter.
41. Neon Negative Space Mani
French manicures are always going to be a hit, especially if you incorporate unique designs and colors. So, of course, this is a fan favorite with us. A neutral base is applied to all of the long nails before five unique neon hues are applied to the nails solely as an outline for the tips. Tips are left open for a fresh twist on a classic nail design.
42. Flower Party
Long nails give you a ton of space to get creative. We love this simple yet cute floral option that pairs warm hues like yellow and orange with two cute floral-patterned accent nails.
43. Calming Bouquet
Florals and negative space pair together perfectly with this long nail art. We’re loving how only a base coat is added on select nails, while others are partially painted with a base coat of calming mint green. But the stars of the show are those gorgeous florals that will make you feel like it’s spring every day.
44. Floral Wrap
If the thought of drawing intricate nail designs on your long nails has you feeling overwhelmed, then nail wraps are the perfect alternative. We love the negative space floral design shown here with plenty of bold, warm hues like red and yellow.
45. Winter Wonderland
If you’re all about matching your long nail designs with the seasons, this is the perfect choice for wintertime. A simple design pairs negative space with a variety of snowflake shapes to create a look that’ll have everyone wishing for snow.
46. A Frosty Treat
Who doesn’t love ice cream or a cool glass of lemonade? These long nails are divine with a fun tri-color design that pairs a bold baby blue pinky and thumb with three accent nails. The accents are matte-textured and feature a splatter paint design under easy-to-apply stickers.
47. Botanical Effect
Ferns are all the rage these days, and you can find them on everything, from clothing to home decor and even nails. We’re loving that these long nails are treated with a white base coat before leaves are hand-painted onto each one. And we love that some nails offer a double design with an outline leaf sticker on top of the vibrantly painted leaf.
48. The Ballerina
If you’re obsessed with all things ballet, this is the manicure for you. Long nails are shaped into stilettos and then painted with a soft pink. Beautiful scenes are hand-painted onto each nail and accented with black dots before being set with a matte topcoat.
49. Chill Coconut
Who says you can’t mix nail shapes? This unique look will turn heads, as most of the long nails are given a square shape, while the two middle fingers are shaped into almonds. Take advantage of the square shape by applying a French manicure, but then play up the almond shapes with this funky coconut nail art.
50. Tasty Green
We’re really in love with the double accent nail concept, which is why we’re showing you this fun kiwi-inspired look. Long nails are given an oval shape. While the two accent nails have funky kiwi art, the remainder are painted a bold lime green with a matte finish.
51. A Sweet Treat
If you love the concept of color-block nail art designs, this is the manicure for you. Long nails are shaped into ovals, and then stickers and nail tape are used to create this fun variated design.
52. Neon Paint
Who says you can’t have fun with colors? While this long nail design might take some time to do on your own, we like that oval nails are paired with a neutral base coat and then topped with a fun splatter paint design. Bold neon yellow, orange, pink, and purple combine with stickers and are set with a matte topcoat.
53. Saucy Fruit
Everyone loves fruit, but people also like a good color-block. In this long nail manicure, bold teal and pink are contrasted against neutral nails that are accented with stickers in the same vibrant hues.
54. Yellow Stripes
Nail art should be fun. We love the look on these long nails that relies on a simple color palette of neon yellow, black, and a neutral blush. Nail tape is used to create geometric shapes, and then the nails are accented with fun text and image stickers.
55. The Pinks
Creating a masterpiece out of just one main color can seem like a challenge, but the manicure on these long nails proves that it’s possible. A pink-hued manicure relies on a soft blush pink as the base and then uses pink-themed stickers and black accents to create the perfect manicure.
56. So Retro
If you feel like your heart belongs in the ‘80s, this is the manicure that you need. New Wave meets bold long nail designs thanks to the stiletto shape, geometric design, and fun accent stickers.
57. Feeling Green
Floral and botanical nail art is all the rage. Here, long nails are given a square shape, and then three nails are selected as accents. But while the pinky nail is painted a warm olive hue, the remainder are painted white, with the two middle fingers featuring leaf stickers.
58. A Grassy Escape
What’s not to love about this cute manicure that combines textures and artwork in one look? Here, long nails are given an oval shape, and just the thumb and forefinger are painted green. But the excitement is in the accent nails that look like grass growing on a neutral background. For a bold effect, limit the accent nails to just one hand.
59. Blended Long Nail Design
If you can’t choose between a non-traditional French manicure, floral, or fruit nail art, why not go for all three? Here, long nails are given an oval shape with a gingham check-style French manicure in a range of hues on each finger. Then florals and cherries are added for an interesting combination of artwork.
60. Golden Frenchie
Just because you’re getting a French manicure doesn’t mean you have to limit your nail art. Here, long nails are given an oval shape, and then a metallic glitter gold is applied just to the tips. Top it off with simple black eye stickers.
61. Picnic Party
Non-traditional French manicures will never go out of style. We love the gingham check on these long nails and the cute floral accents on each one.
62. Foil Effect
We’re not going to lie, gold foil can be hard to apply to nails. But once you nail it – all puns intended – it’s worth the effort. Here, long nails are shaped into stilettos and given a blush pink base color. Gold leaf foil is applied at random and then set with a glossy topcoat.
63. For the Impressionist
If you’re into art, then this manicure is perfect for you. Long nails are shaped into ovals and given a neutral base coat. Using a freehand approach, create a unique array of faces and shapes that’ll look just like you pulled it from your favorite impressionist artist.
64. Edgy Blush
We’re obsessed with nail artists that can create bold and unique looks by simply using a small collection of colors. Here, blush pink works as the backdrop for long nail designs that are accented with an array of browns and tans to create florals, bees, hearts, and dots.
65. The Spotted Style
We can’t get enough of the fun impressionist-style faces seen on these long nails. A blush pink backdrop peeks through and is contrasted against the black and white dots and the cute cactus on the first finger.
66. Geodes on Long Nails
Everyone loves how geodes look. And if you’re obsessed with them, this nail art is going to be perfect for you. Long nails are shaped into ovals, and unique geode hues are applied using a combination of gold leaf and even real crushed amethyst!
67. Bold Patchwork Long Nail Design
When you can’t pick just one color, fun patchwork nail art like this is the perfect option. Here, long nails are shaped into ovals, and then a blend of burgundy, pink, gray, navy, and white is combined along with accents of gold leaf for a truly unique manicure.
68. Simple Frenchie
Not everyone has the patience to sit for some of the more intricate long nail designs we’ve featured to be applied. So, when in doubt, go for a French manicure with a twist. Here black tips are applied on long nails that are shaped into ovals. Then chunky glitter is applied just to the tips for a fun twist on a classic manicure.
69. The Non-Mani Manicure
When you love to play with color but also enjoy the appeal of a neutral nail, this is the manicure for you. Nails are shaped into ovals, and a neutral base color is applied. Then bold tropical hues are applied to each nail while mimicking paintbrush strokes. Add extra black lines for accents.
70. Neutral Long Nail Design
Thanks to Coco Chanel, everyone knows that black and pink go together like peas and carrots. Here, long nails can be shaped into ovals and then given a soft pink base coat. Either by way of freehand or with stickers, create fun designs on each nail using black nail polish.
71. A Twist on the Non-Mani Manicure
If you liked the Non-Mani Manicure but not the added black accents, then this is going to be perfect for you. Long nails are given an oval shape and treated to a soft neutral base coat. Then this time, just add the neon hues and skip the black accents.
72. ‘80s Pop
These long nails are giving us total ‘80s vibes with a color palette that’s straight off the set of The Golden Girls. Seafoam and pink combine with pops of bold gold to create a totally awesome and geometrically inspired manicure.
73. Neon Long Nail Design
Neon nails are cool but aren’t always wearable for everyone. This variation on neon shapes long nails into ovals and then applies a soft pink base coat. Then fun stripe artwork relies on an ombre neon effect to create a fun and playful manicure.
74. Soothing Aloe
We’re in love with this fun botanical-inspired design. Long nails are given an oval shape, and soft pastel base colors are applied. But the star of this manicure is the cute aloe vera stems that are painted onto select nails for a bold accent.
75. Vibrant Stamp
When freehand isn’t realistic for you, stamp art is definitely the way to go. Here, the nail artist shapes long nails into ovals and then uses stamp art to create a funky manicure with a color palette made of white, neon yellow, and black.
76. The Portrait
Normally the thumbs don’t get a lot of love in nail art pictures. But this time, that’s not the case. Long nails are given an oval shape and painted an array of hues. The star of the show – the thumb – is given a neutral backdrop, and then a gorgeous sunglasses-clad woman is painted onto it. For maximum effect, go for a matte topcoat.
77. Animal Kingdom
For the person who’s obsessed with animals, this is a fun manicure to try. Long nails are given an oval shape, and then the first three fingers are treated as accent nails. Add a few bold scribbles of neon yellow before creating a freehand drawing of animal outlines. Of course, if freehand isn’t your friend, opt for stickers!
Tips for Caring for Long Nails
Long nail designs are gorgeous, but anyone who cares about their manicures knows that the longer your nails get, the more likely they are to crack, split, or break. So, what can you do to make sure that your perfect 10 stays pristine?
Keep ‘em Clean
By default, the longer your nails get, the more likely they are to get dirt and grime underneath them. We’ve all seen someone walking around with dirty nails – it’s not cute, and it’s incredibly unhygienic and a great way to introduce bacteria into your life.
In addition to washing your hands regularly (which everyone should be doing), don’t forget to clean under your nails to remove visible dirt. Whether you opt for a damp cotton swab or a dedicated toothbrush, make sure to gently scrub under the nails to remove any stubborn dirt.
Trim and File Nails Regularly
By default, we all use our hands for everything, from typing and scrolling through our phones to opening items. So, it’s not surprising that with constant exposure to the elements, your nails can take a beating. Make it a point to routinely file and shape your nails. Not only does this help to improve the look of your long nails, but it protects you from accidentally scratching yourself with a sharp broken nail.
Avoid Trimming Your Cuticles
Cutting your cuticles also increases the risk of introducing bacteria and fungus. So, it’s best to avoid trimming them and opting to push back your cuticles instead with an orange stick or stainless-steel tool. Or, you can invest in a product that’s designed to gently dissolve your cuticles.
Whenever you’re going to push back your cuticles, make sure that you soak your nails first to soften the cuticles. It’s best to soak your nails for three to five minutes to properly soften them. And while we’re at it…
Only Use Clean Tools on Your Nails
Your mouth or ripping nails by hand isn’t a smart strategy for grooming your nails. When you use your mouth to bite your nails or the cuticles, there’s a good chance that you can increase your exposure to bacteria or fungi. Whether that’s bacteria from your mouth being introduced to your hands or the reverse, just don’t do it!
Make sure that you sterilize your tools before each use. A good option is to use isopropyl alcohol that’s at least 70% alcohol or better. Soak a cotton pad in rubbing alcohol and thoroughly clean all surfaces of your manicure tools. Also, clean your tools after you finish grooming your nails.
Shaping Your Nails
Decide the type of shape that you want to use for your nails. There are a few main nail shapes: almond, stiletto, square, rounded, square rounded, and oval. Of course, there are variations on almond and stiletto, such as ballet or coffin nails. But consider your lifestyle and determine the shape that’s going to be easiest for you to maintain and for you to wear regularly without inhibiting your activities.
Pick a nail file that has a grit for shaping your nails, but that isn’t too strong. Remember, the grit you use to file your toenails is going to be different than one for your fingernails.
Nail files come in a variety of options, including glass, emery board, and metal files. Most manicurists recommend softer emery boards over glass files because glass files can be too harsh. Instead, opt for a soft grit so that you reduce the risk of tearing or splitting your nails.
Next, work on your filing technique. While a sawing action might seem like the obvious choice, don’t do it! Sawing can encourage your nail to splinter. Instead, file in one direction with long, quick, gentle strokes. However, if you’re trying to file down your nails to a significantly shorter length, start with a nail clipper to remove the excess length and then refine the shape with a nail file.
Don’t forget to follow by buffing your nails to soften any dents or ridges that your nail file may not have been able to effectively remove.
Keep Those Nails Strong
Healthy long nails require a two-part regimen. In addition to making sure they look aesthetically pleasing, you need to keep up a nail care routine that focuses on external and internal habits.
Externally, invest in a good cuticle oil to keep your cuticles and nail beds moisturized. Use the oil daily for the best results. And while you might be tempted to invest in a pricey cuticle oil, you can also use a simple option like jojoba or vitamin E oil every night before bed.
For the internal routine, look at your diet. Adding biotin or a hair, skin, and nails daily vitamin can be a great way to keep those claws looking perfect – especially if you find that your nails are brittle or frequently break or peel. But also overhaul your diet to include nail-friendly vitamin B9. You can find B9 in folic acid, a nutrient that’s naturally available in foods like beans and whole grains.
And consider adding nutrient-rich foods like leafy green vegetables, oily fish like salmon, as well as lean meats, avocados, and eggs.
If you’re struggling with brittle nails that crack or peel, then you should invest in a nail keratin treatment like a nail strengthener. These brush-on, clear coat polishes can give your nails the fortification they need to go the distance.
Think About Your Polish
A gorgeous chip-free manicure may be your goal, but you need to think deeper. Polishes full of harsh ingredients could be contributing to thin, brittle, or weak nails. Look for polishes that are specifically labeled as “free-from.” Common options include 10-free, 3-free, and even 13-free. What does “free-from” mean? It means that many of the common harsh chemical ingredients from the past like formaldehyde aren’t included.
And Take Care in the Removal Process
Just like you should think about the ingredients in your nail polish, be careful about the nail polish remover that you use. Your long nails will thank you for avoiding removers that contain high amounts of acetone. While acetone is incredibly effective at quickly removing stubborn polish, it can also dry out your nails and encourage peeling, flaking, and splitting.
Protect Your Nails
Whether you’re rocking the latest manicure trend, or you just want to preserve your nail length, avoid exposing them to situations that can encourage damage. This includes washing dishes with bare hands.
Likewise, invest in a good hand cream and moisturize your hands regularly throughout the day. Don’t forget to pay extra attention to your cuticles as you work the moisturizer into your skin.
Photos via @overglowedit, @buffcsjen, Instagram