4 Negative Space Nails You Have To Try Before 2021 Ends

Negative space nails are the latest nail trend to take over Instagram. When I found this trend I fell down a deep rabbit hole of Insta nail pics and I loved every bit of it. But first what are negative space nails?

Negative space nails are designs drawn on nails that either have a clear coat or a sheer coat of nude painted over them. The designs do not completely cover the nail and there are spaces left bare. Thus dubbed negative space nails.

This fun nail trend can easily be achieved by anyone. A lot of these designs simply require you to have a dotting tool, a thin striping brush, and some nail tape

All the designs below are some of my favorites so I really hope you find something you would like to try during your next nail session!

Floral and Fruity Nails

Floral and fruity nails are versatile designs that can be dressed up or down according to your style. These can easily be done with a dotting tool as shown here. For more detailed flowers you can use a striping brush and free-hand paint them.

They are incredibly fun designs that will have you feeling your prettiest from head to toe. They kind of make me want to go frolicking in the fields even in this Malaysian heat.

1. Dotted Flowers

These are simple flowers created by placing several small dots in a circle, then a larger dot of a different color in the center. This basic technique is the foundation of many designs. Once you have mastered it the nail art possibilities are endless. 

2. Hand-Painted Flowers

Hand-painted flowers are a beautiful way to give your manicure an artisan finish. For more intricate flowers you may want to use gel polish so you can take your time creating your masterpiece without the polish drying.

However, if you have never used gel polish on your own before this design may be best left to professionals.

3. Fruit Punch Nails

You will see further down this list that fruits on nails are becoming a hot trend this year. Fruits on nails have a way of making everyone smile, it is a playful and flirty style anyone can pull of.

When used on accent nails it is a simple way to add some whimsy to an otherwise plain set. But you can certainly go fruit-loopy and apply juicy treats all over a sheer base coat as shown in this video.

French Nails

A french manicure is a timeless classic. It is simple, elegant, and incredibly chic. But this year everyone is taking this simple design to the next level. I used to love french nails as they were a simple way to make myself look more put together with minimal effort. 

But after finding some of the designs below I do not know if I can ever go back to the classic French mani.

1. Cherry Frenchies

No this is not the name of a new breed of French bulldog but some adorable nails. Cherry nails have been all over Insta recently and seeing how cute they are, it is no wonder why. A possible inspiration to incorporate fruits into designs lately may be the effect of last year’s viral strawberry dress still being felt.

To achieve them first you may start with a white base on your desired tip, once that is fully dried add two red dots and connect it using some green polish with a striping brush.

2. Classic With a Twist

You can also stick to the classic french tip style but add some spice by playing with colors. An easy way to achieve this is to use some French tip guides. As shown in this video, using the guides can give you cleaner lines with little to no effort. 

You can find these nail guides on Zalora or stores alike. A good tip when using nail guides or nail tape is to remove them when the polish is still wet, doing so will help you avoid those pesky smudges. 

3. Not Your Average French Nails

These nails may be a little harder to achieve (I know I would certainly struggle) but they are exciting designs that are perfect for anyone wanting to express themselves. The designs may seem odd and mismatched but they work. 

This is because however wild your design gets, it still looks cohesive with all the bare spaces that are space left. 

These nails have been seen on many celebrities including Rosé of Blackpink! (Blinks say Hi!). If you would like a tutorial on Rosé’s nails you can watch the video here.

4. Out of Bounds French Nails

If you would like to stray from the boundaries of a ‘classic’ french tip you certainly can! Whatever your nail-loving heart desires you can do.

You can try some swirls, make them two-toned or angular!

Geometrical Negative Space Nails

I never thought that simple shapes could be made into a nail design, but the designs below prove how geometry can be trendy. They may seem muted but these simple looks are a basic staple that will match any of your outfit ensembles.

If you do want to add some excitement, however, you can switch out the black polish for bright colors or holo polish.

1. Dot Dot Dot

This is an incredibly simple and dainty design that can be recreated by anyone! All you need is a dotting tool. If you do not own a dotting tool you can easily use the end of a bobby pin or flatten the tip of a toothpick to create the same effect. 

To add some flavor you can swap out the polish for a round-cut gem or circular sequins.

2. Rectangles, Square and Triangles

You can achieve these looks by first applying your striping tape so that it outlines your desired shape. Next, paint inside the outline and remove the tape. Now you have salon-worthy nail art within minutes.

Another great tip when using nail tape is to make sure you first applied a top coat to seal the layers underneath. This prevents the tape from lifting the base coat it sits on.

Curves and Swirls

These looks certainly take a lot of effort to create but the results are spectacular. They do require a lot of patience but they are not impossible to achieve. With a little practice, I believe anyone can do these designs.

In this video, you get an idea of how to paint these swirls.

These designs are absolutely gorgeous and their variations are highly customizable. I love the way they look abstract, bold, and unique.

1. Paint the Rainbow

These nails can be done in any color combo or pattern of your choosing. I like how similar to the “Not Your Average French Nails” even though there is a multitude of colors used, they do not look overwhelming and remain cohesive.

As you can see, the color combos seem odd at first, but they work together incredibly well.

2. Sticking to One Tone

You can either go wild with the color wheel or stick to a theme. You can choose to make these nails one color or monochromatic. Even though the color combination here seems mundane it is far from it. It still retains its unique abstract vibe.

It is honestly so surprising how eye-catching these designs are despite being painted with basic colors.

All of the above designs are only some of what the negative space nail trend has to offer. Using some of the basic techniques here you can recreate a mountain of different designs. I hope this article has inspired you to try negative space nails!


Judith Louis is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Judith Louis
Author: Judith Louis

A movie enthusiast with a passion for writing