Don’t think you have the real estate to rock one of those cool designs you’ve seen on Instagram? We beg to differ. Whether you have naturally (ahem) petite nail beds or just prefer to keep your tips clean and clipped, here are 11 ways to subtly enhance them.
Vertical lines give the illusion of length. Two-toned lines give major style.
Negative space (a.k.a. our favorite nail art trend ever) is particularly flattering on closely cropped tips because it allows the design to really stand out, while keeping the rest of the nail bed visually open.
Upgrade a classic French manicure with a sliver of color on the tips. The key is to keep the lines thin so you don’t crowd a smaller nail.
Add compact details to catch the eye, but limit their placement to the edges of your nails so they don’t look cluttered. Bonus points if you use neutral shades, which have a lengthening effect.
Or try a similar design (and color palette), but with pointed tips, which are especially elongating on shorter nails.
Whereas a full-on neon mani might make your nails look like, well, Day-Glo Chiclets, sampling some bright shades using very fine lines adds a nice summery twist that’s still elevated.
Negative Space Lines
Quick recap: Lines are elongating and negative space makes the most of smaller nail beds. Ergo, blending the two looks creates a winning (and slimming) combo.
A punchy design like this one might be overkill on all ten fingers, but as an accent nail (or two) it delivers just the right amount of pizzazz.
A DIY option if you’re short on time and space: teeny-tiny nail stickers. Using a pair of tweezers, place each decal onto the base of the nail and seal everything in with your shiniest topcoat.
You know the whole monochromatic trend in fashion? Same logic applies here. Wearing colors within the same family streamlines any look – or in this case, your mini mani.
For the creative set: Graphic shapes lined to the outer edges of your nails will give them a modern upgrade without being too overwhelming on the eyes.