Our top favorite black and white manis for any occasion. Achieving a classic aesthetic is often more difficult than one thinks. A truly timeless look relies on numerous facets: flattering proportions, crisp and clean cuts and appropriate use of color.
In our opinion, when it comes to attaining that classic appearance there is one rule that you can never go wrong with: stick to black and white. Here are our top 44 black and white nail designs that will have you falling in love with the color duo in no time.
1. Black & White Stars Nail Design
For a fun and magical take on the black and white aesthetic, try a star nail design. This manicure is a great representation of the color duo as it reminds us of bright stars shining across a dark night sky. The artist has even taken an inverted perspective on the scene, making the sky white and the stars black. This look is both dreamy and with a classic french tip, minimalist.
2. Day & Night Black & White Manicure
Although a majestic, starry night sky is enough to give us all of the feels, we wouldn’t want to neglect the many wonders that nature brings us during the day. And what is the essential component of the daytime? You guessed it, the sun. For a nail look that perfectly captures both night and day try a mani that incorporates the sun, moon and stars. To emphasize the dichotomy even further, apply a white base to one hand and a black base to the other.
3. Coco Chanel Nails
We couldn’t write an article on black and white nails without including the brand that may it all happen. This manicure features the Coco Chanel logo against a white acrylic nail. To put a twist on the classic look, roses, gems and a dripping paint design have also been integrated. This look is classic and edgy.
4. Cow Print Manicure
It’s ironic because while humanity thought black and white were taboo, nature was already sporting the look! This manicure is dedicated to all of our fellow animal print lovers. It features a cow print in multiple black and white variations on a square acrylic nail. If you ask us, this mani is absolutely moo-velous (okay, we know, that was bad).
5. Black and White Zebra Print Nails
Cows aren’t the only mammals to understand what it truly means to be fashionable- zebras are also known for their iconic black and white exterior. For a modern minimalist approach opt for a zebra print that is more understated. This manicure portrays this aesthetic by simply framing the nails in the design. This look is subtle, cool and a little wild.
6. Spooky Spider Nails
Okay, if you’re looking for some inspo for this year’s Halloween costume then we have just the thing for you because this manicure is seriously giving us the chills. There’s nothing that says Halloween more than a creepy spider and this one has us particularly spooked. The color palette is also perfect for the season as it incorporates black, white and a sparkly orange french tip.
7. Spiderweb Nail Art
If the simple spider mani wasn’t doing it for you then this one might do the trick. This look displays the black and white aesthetic in a subtle manner and demonstrates how this duo can also look great when paired with other colors. If you’re looking for a spooky nail look that has it all then this is it. With silver, purple, black and white hues as well as sparkles, matte polish, stripes, a spiderweb and gems, this look hasn’t forgotten anything.
8. Black And White Swirl Nail Design
If you love a french tip but are looking to change things up a bit then this manicure is a great alternative. A swirl design is unique and fun and will give any look a retro vibe. And by featuring the design in black and white you can still maintain an element of sophistication. It’s a win-win really.
9. Black And White Triangular Nail Design
For a fun and geometric take on the black and white aesthetic opt for a black polish with a unique nail design. This partial triangle is the perfect representation of an understated chic look- a style we can not get enough of. This mani would be the perfect addition to any black OOTD.
10. Black And White French Tips
Now this nail look is giving classic “it girl” energy. The it girl is all about that effortless chic aesthetic and nothing says that more than black and white french tips. The minimalist nature of the manicure is modern and timeless and would compliment a black and white outfit for any occasion.
11. Tattoo-Inspired Nail Design
If you love tattoos then you’re going to love this look. Black and white lacquer acts as the backdrop for this cool and artistic nail art. One nail features a woman with devil horns and the other nail has the word “angel” written on it. Quite like the original symbolism of black and white, this design represents good and evil. If you’ve been wanting a tattoo but aren’t 100% sure about it, why not try it out on your nails first?
12. Black And White Summer Nail Design
It is often believed that when it comes to summer nails your mani has to be bold and bright. This nail look, however, proves that you don’t necessarily need vibrant colors to achieve that summer vibe. With a variety of designs including flowers, butterflies and cow print (cows can be summery can’t they…?) this manicure achieves the black and white aesthetic in a youthful and unique way, perfect for the warmer months.
13. Black And White Yin And Yang Nail Design
The yin and yang have been an inspiration for the fashion and beauty worlds for many years. But other than it just looking cool, the meaning behind it actually holds great significance. According to ancient Chinese philosophy, the yin and yang represent forces that are opposing in nature but that are actually complementary because of their contrasting differences- exactly like black and white. If you ask us, this couldn’t act as better inspo for our next mani. And if you really want to impress others, add some Chinese scripture.
14. Polka Dot Nail Design
Polka dots became fashionable in the 1920s and have never really gone out of style since. Black and white polka dots are particularly timeless and give any look a classic quality. For a subtle overall appearance opt for french tips. This mani is giving modern Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
15. Black And White Aztec Nails
Can you remember the Aztec print craze that happened about 10 years ago? We certainly can. Aztec was everywhere and we weren’t complaining. The print is unique and creative and will give any manicure an artistic flair. This nail look features the print in black and white and uses a sparkly red polish to give it a pop of color. If you’re feeling a little nostalgic, you might wanna bring the Aztec print back.
16. Floral Art Nail Design
Traditionally, as black and white began being worn in mainstream fashion, black was reserved for winter and white, for summer. To do the opposite was almost unthinkable. Luckily, today, we have moved past these notions and can recognize the potential of these shades all year round. This black and white floral mani, for example, is giving us all of the summer vibes with its retro cartoon daisies. Three words: feminine, cute and vintage.
17. Palm Leaf Nails
Like daisies, palm leaves remind us of warm, sunny days. I mean, how many times have you sat down on a cold winter’s day and daydreamed about tropical getaways (with palm leaves fanning you at every angle of course)? We’re certainly guilty of it. But if you can’t manage to go on vacation, why not bring the vacay straight to you? Next time you get your nails done ask for palm leaf nail art for the ultimate summer feel. Get the look in black and white for a classic and edgy result.
18. Black And White Flaming Nail Design
What’s edgier than black nails? Black flaming nails. This manicure uses a minimalist approach to add an alternating black and white nail design. The french tips resemble that of flames and give the overall look a cool and rebellious vibe. Charlie’s Angels aren’t the only ones who can rock the flame look.
19. Black And White Alabaster Nail Design
Alabaster is a mineral that can be frequently found in house décor such as countertops and vases. It most often comes in a white or translucent shade and resembles marble in that it possesses a soft, cloud-like pattern within it. This manicure features the design in a beautiful and classic black and white finish.
20. Black And White Rose Nails
In the flower world, there’s nothing more classic than a rose. While slightly more unconventional than your standard red rose, a black and white rose seems just as suitable- black and white are representative of a classic aesthetic after all. For the perfect black and white floral mani apply a rose to one of the nails. To contrast the dark hues of the nail art, paint the remaining nails in a nude and white ombré.
RELATED: 31 Best Matte Nail Designs
21. Black And White Daisy Nails
Cartoon daisies were an iconic print during the hippie era of the ‘60s. The design has since made a huge comeback and is one of this summer’s hottest trends. For a refined retro vibe apply a white daisy print to a black base. For a colorful touch finish off the floral design with a vibrant pink dot. This look is the ultimate throwback and will give any outfit a vintage feel.
22. Black And White Heart Nails
When it comes to nails, you can never go wrong with a classic heart design. Bring a little love to your black and white manicure by adding an artistic black heart to a white polish. For a glamorous feel compliment the white lacquer with black and sparkly silver polish. And don’t forget to add a couple of diamonds. This look is both chic and elegant.
23. Diamond Floral Manicure
We said daisies are everywhere at the moment and we weren’t kidding. For a different take on the retro trend, start with a neutral base to contrast the remaining elements. Next, add french tips in alternating black and white hues and then apply daisies in the opposite shades. Now for the fun part, place gemstones in your favorite colors on top. This look is cute and trendy.
24. Black And White Euploea Core Nail Design
If you’ve never heard of “euploea core” before, don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s also a first for us. The term denotes a butterfly that is indigenous to South Asian and Australian regions. Luckily for us, it also makes a beautiful addition to any manicure! This look uses black and white hues along with 3D nail art to create a unique and elaborate nail look. Diamonds and florals are also added to bring an even greater “wow factor” to the appearance. With this manicure, you’ll definitely be a showstopper.
25. Keeping It Classy Manicure
Now, this is a look we’re going to want to have at our next dinner party. Who knew suits could look so adorable on our nails. And cocktail glasses made out of diamonds? Yes, please. Black and white are the ultimate shades for that classic style and there’s nothing more classy than a suit.
26. Black And White Feather Nail Design
There is something so satisfying about a feather. Perhaps it’s their delicate nature that makes them so glamorous and sensual. Or maybe it’s their soft texture. Whatever it is, we want some of that on our nails. To really make the feather shine, this nail starts with a subtle transparent gloss. For an added touch of elegance, a sparkly silver polish is brushed across the top of the fine and delicate black and white feather.
27. Black And White Triangles
If your outfit is already quite busy it’s best to stick with a more basic manicure that will compliment your look but not take away from it. To achieve this use a neutral, solid polish on your nails such as black or white. If this is a little too basic add a simple graphic such as this triangular illustration. As long as you don’t add things like complex patterns and rhinestones you’ll be good to go.
28. Mickey Mouse Manicure
Bring out your inner child with this fun and youthful Mickey-inspired nail design. Mickey Mouse is one of the most iconic characters from our childhood and suits the black and white aesthetic perfectly. Compliment him with cute polka dots and stripes and you’ll be ready for your Disney movie night in no time.
29. Black And White Heart Rate Nail Design
If you’re a person who likes to think outside of the box and is looking for a manicure that will match this energy then look no further because it really doesn’t get more unique than a heart rate. Or, if you work in the medical field, this could be a fun addition to your uniform.
30. The More The Merrier Nail Design
If you suffer from being a little too indecisive and are struggling to choose a manicure as a result don’t worry because with this nail look you get a whole ensemble of designs and patterns. We are especially loving the Converse and Coco Chanel nail art. Who said black and white have to be basic?
31. A Little Bit Of Everything Nails
Like the previous look, this manicure is serving. When it comes to nails our philosophy is “the more the merrier”. This applies to black and white nails in particular due to their neutral tones. Because black and white are more subtle, when applied to a complex palette the overall appearance isn’t overwhelming.
32. Black, White and Silver Studs Nail Design
Who doesn’t love a nail accessory? These studs are fire and give the manicure a cool edge. To elevate the look further black and white stripes and “window panes” are also integrated. We can’t get enough of this look and think it would compliment any edgy OOTD perfectly.
33. Bling Boss Nail Design
If you woke up this morning and thought “I am ready to slay the day” then this manicure is exactly what you need. 3D nail art will forever be the power move in the nail world as it instantly brings a boss girl energy. And we hope you like a diverse palette because with this manicure you’ll get a bit of everything: diamonds, florals, pearls and intricate designs. For an extra fun flair make sure some of the gems come in your fav colors.
34. Starbucks’ Nails
There are two kinds of people in this world: those that need a coffee in the morning and those that don’t. If you find yourself in the former category then getting a Starbucks-inspired mani is only all too fitting. Even if coffee isn’t your thing, you have to admit they do make a great frappuccino. To really show off your love for the world’s number one coffee destination, add some cute little hearts.
35. Musical Notes Black And White Nails
Perhaps coffee isn’t your thing and music is more of your forté. Well, when it comes to black and white nails anything goes. Give your mani melodic energy with these music-inspired nails. The use of french tips for the notes is too cute and quite frankly makes us want to hit the dance floor. If you live and breathe rhythms then why not get the nails to match.
36. Black And White Stripe & Polka Dot Nail Design
Like hearts and florals, polka dots and stripes are staples in the nail world. This manicure, with its dark black and white hues, is giving haunted circus. We could totally see this as a complementary element to a cool and creepy Halloween costume.
37. Black And White Valentine Nail Design
A little sparkle can really go a long way. And with this exaggerated manicure, quite literally. The long, pointed nails are covered in a shimmery white polish followed by fun and flirty nail art. On the one hand, the french tips, swirls and hearts make this look sweet. On the other hand, the pointed shape and black hues make this mani fierce. Get this nail look and people will think twice before questioning you (hehe).
38. Minimalist Manicure
For an ultra-modern nail opt for a semi-french tip. You heard us, the half french manicure is a thing and is thriving in our 21st century minimalist-crazed era. You really can’t get more basic than this and although it might seem a little too plain, the subtle black and white design is a great option because of its versatility. It’s simple but effective.
39. Black And White Frame Nail Design
If you looked at the previous manicure and immediately thought you couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing we’ve got the perfect alternative. If you didn’t vibe with a half french tip then try a half black and half white one! With this design, you can still achieve the abstract aesthetic while getting the “full” picture. This look is chic and unique.
40. Adidas’ Nails
There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of brand-inspired black and white nails and we aren’t mad about it. This mani features the Adidas’ logos over a square cut nail and glossy, white finish. Whether you love the brand or simply think the nail art is cool, this manicure will give any fit a sporty chic vibe.
41. Snowflake-Inspired Nails
When the festive season comes along one of the most magical aspects is the winter wonderland that comes with it. It’s not until the first snowfall that it really starts to feel like Christmas. That’s why we are loving these stunning holiday nails. Winter is the perfect time to sport a black mani and the white snowflakes give the look the perfect festive touch. With their dark hues, these nails create an aura of surprise and mystery- exactly what the Christmas season is all about.
42. Black And White Constellation Nail Art
Like the previous look, this manicure is full of mystery. For thousands of years, astronomers have observed the night sky in awe of the shapes and creatures created by the constellations. When you think about it, it’s truly amazing what’s out there in the universe and this nail look does a wonderful job of capturing some of that beauty. A jet black polish provides a base for 5 of the 88 constellations in existence. Whether you’re an aspiring astronomer or are simply fascinated with the night sky, you won’t want to miss out on this black and white nail look.
43. Game Night Manicure
Game night is always a time that is full of fun and laughter. It’s a time when people get together and discover the best (and sometimes worst- we’re looking at you Karen) parts of each other. Next time you head to an event with a little competition try out a nail look with game-inspired nail art. This look features cards, die and golden details for a fun and glamorous feel.
44. Refined Elegant Black And White Nails
For a nail look that is refined but still elegant try a manicure with a simple, classic design. The line art on this nail fits the classic chic aesthetic perfectly and the few diamond gems provide just the right amount of glam. The matte finish on the black and white polish also aids in creating an understated look that still makes a statement.
Black and White In History
There is a reason the saying goes, “black and white is always right”. Today, the color combo can be found everywhere in the fashion and beauty industries. This, however, hasn’t always been the case.
For most of history, black and white were never seen worn together. Black was a symbol of darkness and death and was strictly reserved for mourning whereas white represented innocence and rebirth and was therefore used for weddings. To wear the two shades outside of these occasions was practically unheard of until Queen Victoria made it fashion (by accident).
Following the passing of her husband, Queen Victoria naturally began wearing black attire. Despite this being the norm, as a result of this black started to be viewed as a fashionable color. It wasn’t, however, until Coco Chanel introduced the little black dress in the 1920s, that black apparel really entered pop culture.
Once black entered the fashion scene white inevitably followed. Fashion taboos in regard to these colors were thrown out the window and over the decades black and white became the symbol of classic chic. The duo was especially prevalent during the ‘80s as women entered the workforce and began wearing black and white suits as a representation of their new status in society. Black and white polka dot dresses were also an it pattern during this era and could be found on celebrities such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.
Black And White Today
Today, black and white are staples in the fashion and beauty industries. This is likely due to the fact that they are the most versatile pieces and can be adapted to any style aesthetic. The color combination is so embedded in our culture that it has practically become synonymous with classic timelessness. Hop on any social media platform and fashion influencers from all over the world will tell you that to achieve a true capsule wardrobe one must invest in black and white basics. And of course, a black and white mani to go with it.
When it comes to the black and white nail world we’ve seen it all: florals, diamonds, spiders, musical notes and even Coco Chanel. When moving forward it’s important to keep in mind that regardless of what design you choose, a black and white manicure will always provide your outfit with an essence of classic timelessness.
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