Our top nail looks that give the word cute a whole new meaning. Life is full of decision-making. When we’re younger, these decisions tend to be smaller and of little consequence like picking out a treat from the corner store. When we’re older, these decisions become tougher and of greater value. What university should we attend? What profession do we want to pursue? Do we want to get married and have children? What manicure should we get?
Yes, you heard us correct and you may be thinking manicures are one of the more trivial aspects of life and while the wrong nail choice may not produce a child, it can definitely throw off your entire look (no one wants to be running around with edgy black and green nails and a prairie dress).
Like most things in life, when it comes to choosing a specific manicure the determining factors often come down to how you’re feeling at the moment- are you in the mood for something more delicate and refined? Or perhaps you woke up ready to slay the day away and are feeling like a bold and fierce nail look. Or maybe, just maybe, you looked in the mirror today and said, “this girl right here is cute af”. If that’s the case, you’re in luck because today is all about the cute nail look aesthetic.
Similar to any adjective that describes beauty, what is perceived as cute lies within the eyes of the beholder. Which is exactly why we have come up with a list of 42 nail looks that all appeal to the cute aesthetic in a variety of different ways.
1. Purple White Glitter Cute Nails
Glitter is definitely one of those nail techniques that can be both glamorous and cute. Remember when you were a kid and adding sparkles to literally everything was a must? Well fast forward 15-20 years later and our nails have become the latest muse for our childhood obsessions. For a nail look that’s refined, cute and fabulous apply a sparkly silver French tip with a purple base- because a pop of color never hurts.
2. Heart Flames Cute Nails
Now, we bet you didn’t expect to see flames on this list. Flames tend to be more often associated with a cool and edgy aesthetic. But we are here to tell you that with the right technique, they can also fall into the cute nail look category. You see, flames might be fierce but paint them into the shape of a heart and you’ve got the perfect edgy cute nail look. The French tips are also a nice subtle and sweet choice.
3. Snowfall And Holly Cute Nails
There is something so innocent and sweet about snow. Perhaps it’s the delicate nature of snowflakes or the childhood memories of building snowmen and making snow angels. Whatever the reason, snow makes the perfect inspo for a cute nail look. For an extra festive feel, add some holly nail art. With this adorable manicure, you’ll have all the holiday cheer you need this season.
4. Matte Gems Cute Nails
Colorful palettes never fail to give off sweet and vibrant energy. Neutrals tend to be more associated with sophistication and color with youthfulness and imagination (if you look at products marketed toward children they always contain a variety of bright and fun hues). For an irresistibly cute and colorful nail look try painting each nail in different shades of the rainbow. You’ll be looking like your local candy shop in no time.
5. Geometry Cute Nails
Credit : hollywood_nails_studio
Believe it or not, even math can be perceived as cute. But don’t worry, we’re not talking about algebra here. No, this nail look takes its inspiration from our old friend geometry. Abstract shapes and designs can really enhance a manicure and give it a unique and cute overall finish. Try out the look in a dreamy dark blue and for that shimmery pop, a bit of glitter.
6. Little Hearts Cute Nails
If you’re a person who likes to interpret a word in its most literal sense then this is definitely the cute nail look for you. There’s truly nothing more adorable than mini hearts, especially when they come in pink and red. Valentine’s may still be a few months away, but it’s never too early to start looking for inspo.
7. Glitter Tips Cute Nails
Because of their delicate nature, French tips are a great way to elevate a cute-inspired nail look. A French manicure creates a soft and sweet end result and while a classic approach is always a safe choice, adding a pop of color to your French tip will only make it that much better. Especially when the colored polish is sparkly.
8. Green And Cow Print Cute Nails
Have you ever driven through the country and seen a baby calf? Now that’s adorable. And if you can see it, then it can also be used as nail inspo! This manicure incorporates the fun and sweet cow print in a cool and unique neon green. Who said cute has to be pink?
9. Black Valentine Cute Nails
The idea that the word cute can be interpreted in many ways and that we as a society have pushed the boundaries of what it means is perfectly portrayed in this manicure. Black has traditionally been associated with death and mourning. Over time, the fashion and beauty industries began using it as a symbol of classic elegance. Mini hearts, in particular, would previously never be seen in such a dark hue. But now, the cute minimalist aesthetic has got them showing up in every color and shade imaginable. Black may be sophisticated and chic, but when applied to mini hearts it’s freaking adorable.
10. Swag Sparkle Cute Nails
When first looking at this nail look the first words that likely come to mind are fierce, bold and elaborate. But if you ask us, those red sparkles are too cute. Dazzling acrylic nails may be a courageous move for some of us but I mean, if you can be a boss queen and a sweetheart at the same time- now that’s an opportunity we wouldn’t want to pass up.
11. Sparkling Winter Cute Nails
We already know that it really doesn’t get any sweeter than snow, but can we talk about the actual snowflakes for a minute? Snowflakes are one of the earth’s many miracles. It’s honestly mind-blowing when you think about nature producing such a unique and beautiful thing as a snowflake. Not to mention how freaking adorable they are. If we don’t have a snowflake-inspired mani this winter season, we don’t want it. Oh, and gold sparkles are also a must.
12. The Lobster Cute Nails
Okay, the word “awwe” may have literally just come out of our mouths. We are always here for a little romantic wordplay and this lobster-inspired nail look is all the cuteness we need for a lifetime. At this point, we don’t know if we’re smiling or crying (our single status is really hitting us hard at the moment). Oh and one last thing- when fulfilling a romantic gesture make sure the grammar is correct (cough cough you’re* cough cough).
13. 𝐏𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐥𝐞 Cute Nails
Now, this is a color combination we can get behind. Periwinkle purple and yellow make the perfect duo for spring and summer and will give any look a refreshing and sweet touch. And if pastels and florals aren’t considered cute then we don’t know what is.
14. Cherry Glitter Cute Nails
Cool and cute manis seem to be a trending nail concept and we aren’t mad about it. We’ve all seen the cute, classic bow. But have you seen it bedazzled in black rhinestones? With its red and black hues, sparkles and diamonds this manicure is here to make a statement. If you love an over-the-top look but want to maintain an element of sweetness then this is definitely the look for you.
15. Purple Butterflies Cute Nails
Like snowflakes and hearts, butterflies are iconic in the cute nail world. And if that wasn’t enough, the ethereal bright blue and purple hues are giving “fairycore”. Fairycore is an aesthetic that is all about the sweet and beautiful aspects of nature. For a delicate and dreamy manicure, it doesn’t get better than this.
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16. Heart Swirls Cute Nails
Retro prints are fun, trendy and simply too cute. The wave design was an iconic look in the ‘60s and ‘70s and has made a massive comeback. Try out the print in a vibrant pink with mini hearts for the ultimate summery vintage vibe.
17. Dazzle Pink Cute Nails
Bring out your inner diva with this Barbie-inspired manicure. Barbie is best known for her super cute pink aesthetic and this nail look is giving just that. And if one shade of pink isn’t enough to convince you, then how about three?
18. Sushi Cute Nails
Okay did we just die and go to heaven because this manicure can not be real. Like, sushi, mochi and soya sauce nail art with SMILIES!? The cuteness level has officially reached its max. If this is all of our nail dreams coming true then we’ll take it.
19. Alice In Wonderland Cute Nails
Alice in Wonderland: a tale of a young girl who ventures into an exciting and unknown realm. Although it can be strange and terrifying at times (yes we’re talking about you, Queen Of Hearts), you have to admit Alice is simply the poster girl for all things cute and adorable. For a sweet and playful Alice In Wonderland-themed nail, apply your favorite characters to each nail over a bold and vibrant green hue.
20. Betty Boop Cute Nails
Speaking of cartoon characters, we couldn’t forget about the iconic “Betty Boop”. Betty Boop was a hit show during the 1930s and has since become a popular vintage aesthetic. As you can see from the image, Betty Boop was all about appearing sweet and innocent (and a little provocative, but that story is for another time). If you’ve been wanting to try out a cute, retro nail design, Betty Boop is always a great option.
21. Pretty Floral Cute Nail Design
Because of their soft petals and delicate textures, flowers couldn’t be more suitable for those wanting a cute nail design. Florals are perfect for the warmer months and will give your nails a bright and cheerful feel. We especially love the rainbow palette of this nail look and how it balances perfectly with the minimalist aesthetic.
22. Queen Of Colors Cute Nails
If florals aren’t your thing and you prefer a more diverse canvas we’ve got just what you need. This manicure uses a variety of fun and bright designs including stripes, waves, cow print, smilies and checkerboard. Get ready because your friends are going to be raving over how cute this mani is.
23. Candy Hearts Cute Nails
Dear crush: thank you so much for the candy hearts. It made my Valentine’s so special and provided me with the perfect inspo for my nails. Can’t wait for you to see them- they are simply adorable. -xoxo
24. Cute Girly Sparkle Nails
If you can’t get enough of all things cute and girly then get ready because this manicure has got an entire amusement park of fun and feminine surprises. If you’re feeling nostalgic then there’s a second reason to get this look because it is giving all of the middle school gel pens, fun stickers and daydream doodling that you could ever want.
25. Pink Tiger Print Cute Nails
On its own, tiger print is fierce and edgy. However, pair it with a hot pink shade and you’ve gone from wild child to sweet and sassy in a matter of minutes. This look is fairly basic and with the right tools could definitely be done at home.
26. Checkerboard Cute Nails
A subtle nail art design is always a great choice when it comes to a cute manicure. This nail look has done this by applying a simple checkerboard print to every other nail in beautiful deep purple and lilac shades. Basic really is sometimes better.
27. Blended Color Marble Nails
Another great way to show your cute and creative side is by adding a fun and colorful marble print. If you’ve been looking for a DIY project, marble nails might just be it. This manicure is fun and retro and takes inspo from some of 1990’s hottest trending colors. And when it comes to cute nail designs, a bit of glitter never hurts.
28. Stunning Happy Yellow Cute Nails
Have you been feeling a little down in the dumps as of late and could use a pick me up? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. This manicure is all about smiles and good vibes. Literally. Yellow is bright and cheerful and is even a symbol of happiness. If that’s not enough to convince you then maybe that adorable smiley is.
29. Yellow And White Daisy Nails
If you’re looking for a floral print with the greatest cute factor then daisies are definitely your go-to. And if you can find them in a cartoon retro print, even better. This manicure features the design in a minimalist aesthetic with white and yellow hues. Honestly with that color palette and design it’s impossible not to be happy- cheerful, cute and summery.
30. Floral Daisy Cute Nails
Yellow and white daisies are cute but have you ever seen a pink and green daisy-inspired nail look? This manicure is serving everything you could want this summer: florals, bright colors and watermelons. Get ready to switch on vacay mode because this cute nail design is all about achieving that summer it girl aesthetic.
31. Busy Bee Cute Nails
If we were an animal we would definitely be bumblebees. Bumblebees simply radiate adorableness and are the perfect inspo for a cute nail look. Whether it’s the black and white stripes, round bodies or the fact that they literally produce honey, bumblebees are and forever will be one of our fav nail designs.
32. Easter Bunny Cute Manicure
If you’ve been looking for the perfect Easter nail design look no further because this manicure is giving us all of the holiday feels. Next to Christmas, Easter has to be the most exciting time of year for children. As we go to sleep on the eve of the big hunt, visions of an adorable, fuzzy bunny hiding chocolatey treats for us consume our minds. As adults, the belief may no longer exist, but the magic of what the holiday represents still remains. To honor this, try out a bunny-inspired mani in this gorgeous and super cute pink hue. For an elegant touch, make sure to add those sparkles.
33. Colorful Retro French Cute Nails
When it comes to French tips, the options are limitless and this manicure takes the technique to a whole new level. With this design, more is more. Each finger features its own cute, unique nail art and we honestly can’t decide whether it’s the smiley we love the most or those adorable mini red hearts.
34. Daydreamer Cute Nails
For whatever reason, daydreaming has always been perceived as cute. Whether it’s the star and cloud analogies or the blissful innocence on your face when you’re transported to a happier place, the one thing we know is that when manifested onto our nails, it looks fire. The sky is full of wonders and this manicure captures it perfectly. The transparent base and silver sparkles are also dreamy and angelic.
35. Hello Kitty Cute Nails
I think if we said Hello Kitty and left it at that it would be sufficient but for the sake of this article (and you guys of course), we will elaborate. If we’re being honest, Hello Kitty owns the rights to the cute nail aesthetic because what is more adorable than tiny kitty faces (with red diamond bows no less) on long acrylic nails?
36. Minion Nail Art
The minions from Despicable Me were so cute they actually had to make a movie completely dedicated to them. Minions not only have an adorable appearance, they also speak in their own cute language, “minionese”. As mischievous, little lab partners, these creatures are the perfect inspo for a sweet and playful manicure. I mean, just look at those faces.
37. Rose Crystal Cute Nails
For a soft and femme alternative, this is the perfect nail design. Roses will always provide a cute and romantic factor to any manicure and the delicate purple and white pearls finish off the look perfectly. We also love how the alternating square and pointed shape of the nails enhance the manicure even more.
38. Pretty Pink Bow Cute Nails
If there’s anything in this world that was made to be cute it’s pink bows. Honestly, if we could still wear pink bows in our hair and put on pretty princess dresses and get away with it we would (can someone just ask us to a ball already?). With its baby pink hues, silver sparkles and diamonds, this manicure simply screams I’m cute but also high maintenance.
39. 3D Art Cute Nails
If you love to be cute and extra all at the same time then we would definitely be considering this mani. With its elaborate 3D nail art and bright purple and pink hues, this nail look is not playing around. The mushroom and sweets give this look a cute and innocent element while the heart diamonds and Chanel icons provide a glamorous feel.
40. Butterfly Paradise Cute Nails
Can someone say butterfly paradise? Bright metallic shades make this nail look super dreamy and the ultimate playground for all Disney princess enthusiasts. We especially appreciate the diversity of this look and how the artist has chosen to apply a different design to each nail.
41. Pink Heart Tips Cute Nails
We know how adorable full hearts can be, but half hearts can be just as cute on your nails- especially when they’re a twist on the classic French tip. This manicure is simple and sweet and with accents of mauve and baby pink- ultra-femme.
42. Sage Green Little Frogs Cute Nails
Come on. Froggie-inspired nails? This has to be the best conclusion ever to a bitter-sweet ending. And as if those painfully cute faces weren’t enough, the frog nail art is complemented by a beautiful and soft hue. Sage green is super popular at the moment and will be sure to give your mani a trendy touch.
What Are Cute Nails?
According to the dictionary, the word cute denotes, “attractive in a pretty or endearing way”. When you think of what the words mean to you things such as babies, dogs and your partner (we hope) likely come to mind. While these are all valid, when it comes to beauty and fashion the word cute has its own special meaning.
What Does Cute Mean In Beauty And Fashion?
Imagine you’re in your fav store trying on a new outfit. You step out of the dressing room and your bestie says, “that is sooo cute!”. Traditionally, cute has indicated appearing innocent or sweet, however, today it has adopted a more broader meaning and essentially denotes anything that is aesthetically pleasing. This also applies to the nail world. While there are designs that might have a greater tendency to elicit such a response (such as polka dots and florals) any number of aesthetics can be viewed as “cute”.
Which brings us to our final and most important point. In our opinion, the term cute is subjective and open to interpretation. What does that mean? Well, to one person a cute nail look might be French tips and miniature hearts while for another, it might be a manicure with cartoon frogs on it.
We think it’s safe to say that when it comes to cute nail designs, the possibilities are endless. Whether you decide to go the traditional route and opt for nail art such as hearts and snowflakes, or pursue a more modern take on the trend, you can’t go wrong. And while the former offers a truer sense of the aesthetic, the latter will provide you with a nail look that is new and unexpected.
So it’s time to start planning your next nail salon appointment because this is an aesthetic you’re not going to want to miss. All we ask of you is that you try the froggie manicure at least once in your life.