Cover We reveal the best spring nail art designs that will take your nail game to a whole new level this season (Photo: @glosslab/Instagram)

Life is too short with boring nails. Welcome the new season in style with the best spring nail art trends for 2021—from lovely pastels to classy French tips with fun twists, and more

If you’re like us and you’ve already started daydreaming about sunnier days and fun outdoor picnics—welcome! With the coldest days of winter now behind us, it’s time to enjoy the early days of the new season, look for inspirations to give our wardrobes a refreshing upgrade and embrace new fashion trends to elevate our looks. 

And of course, a springtime refresh wouldn’t be complete without experimenting with new nail art designs. A fresh manicure is not only a mood booster but also a statement-making fashion accessory that can help you stand out from the crowd.

So, to help you step your nail game this season, we asked renowned nail experts from renowned nail salons Glosslab and Ooh La La Nails to find out the best nail designs and the trendiest nail polishes for spring 2021. Whichever design you plan on trying this season, whether it’s lovely pastels or vibrant, bold colours, there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes on this list. 

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Multi-coloured nails

Multi-coloured nails seem to be everywhere at the moment, and the trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. A timeless mismatched look that’s perfect for those who love simple designs but still want to embrace the aesthetics of spring, multi-coloured nails can be achieved either by painting each nail a different shade from the same colour family, or an entirely different hue altogether. 

“Because thinking outside the box was the normal for 2020, this will continue in 2021 with funky coloured nails and different colours painted on each nail in the new year,” says Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of Glasslab, a modern, technology-enabled nail salon in NYC. “In addition to multi-coloured manis, ombre effects are also super fun to try at home!”

Whatever colours and sequence patterns you choose, you can expect a stylish, colourful design that will gain you tons of compliments.

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Bright orange red nails

Who doesn’t love red nails? Red is a universally flattering shade that looks good on all skin tones, nail shapes and lengths, and if you want to try out bright and bold colours that feel exceptionally right and cheerful for the warmer season, give the orange-red polish a try.

Looking simple yet gorgeous, just like this eye-catching creation by Glass, the fiery colour is a must-try to make your skin glow and add a much-needed boost of positivity this season. Bonus: it will also go well with everything in your wardrobe and make you shine in the crowd—whether worn day or night.  

Pretty rainbow pastels

Nothing screams springtime more than a cute pastel manicure that features lilac, mint green and creamy yellow. “Pastels have always been a mainstay in both fashion and beauty worlds, which are always fun to wear and can complement any spring outfits you wear,” according to Glass.

To get in on the trend, simply pick a few popular pastel colours and paint a different shade on each nail to achieve a playful look. Prepare to smile every time you look at your nails! 

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Short nails

While long oval nails and elaborate manicures with 3D embellishments will continue to be popular for spring 2021, short nails are making a major comeback this season.

“Many of us were forced to give up our regular gel manicures and nail extensions during lockdown and started to love natural-looking nails that go just to the fingertip more,” says Glass. “I’ve been seeing a growing number of people requesting designs for short nails, which can look equally chic, beautiful as long ones. They are also more hygienic and require less maintenance, making it a perfect choice for anyone who has a penchant for minimalist nail art.”

You can play around with all the pastel and bright shades associated with spring for a cheerful manicure, or keep things simple with clear or nude polish as the base colour with an addition of a splash of white to one or two fingertips to create a negative space design for a touch of class. Tatler tip: When it comes to short nail art designs, clean, well-kept nails are key.

Abstract rainbow print

Can’t decide on one colour for your nails? Why not wear them all and give different statement nails for a playful rainbow look? “Rainbow nails is one of the best, most classic designs for spring that will never go out of style. For those who want to channel their spring vibes without being too showy, can tweak the design a little bit by adding splashes of colours to your fingertips against a backdrop of a milky-white base coat,” according to Christy Chan, founder of local nail salon Ooh La la Nails.  

Instead of following the traditional approach of painting each nail a different colour, this design allows for maximum creativity that you can have the fingertips adorned with as many colours as possible in abstract patterns. A great way to get excited about the warmer season and stay stylish.  

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French tips

If subtle is the name of your game and a rich colour palette isn't the look you’re going for, French nail art is a gorgeous way to take on a more traditional manicure route this season.

Whether it's a modern version featuring a fresh twist with slated diagonal lines covering half of the fingertips, or the iconic combination of clear base coat with delicate white stripes—an elegant design by Chan as seen above—French manicure will give you the appearance of spring nail art without over accessorising, making your nails look pretty and clean that can complement your outfit for every occasion.

Refreshing green tones

You’d be hard-pressed to find a shade of green that doesn’t feel springy and uplifting—it’s basically the official colour of nature that truly represents the liveliest time of the year. 

“You can’t go wrong with green nail polish for spring,” says Chan. “This season, there will be more stunning shades of green embraced by the fashion crowd.” From mint to grassy green and rich olives, there’s a hue in the lush palette to suit every mood and ensemble.

Pastel yellow and elegant florals

This adorable manicure by Chan marries two of the biggest, most stylish spring nail trends we’ve been seeing: pastels and florals. To get in on the trend, paint two fingers pastel colours on and the rest white with floral details for a feminine touch. You can also have one of your fingers adorned with ombre effects and a delicate thin white line around the nail to add dimension to the design. If powdery yellow isn’t your thing, rock the trend with other pastels you like—be it pink or light purple—the resulting look is guaranteed to be the best accessory for a stunning spring wardrobe. 

Glittery pink nails

Another beautiful design veering into early spring 2021 is glittery pink nails. As Chan shows, the design is a feminine, glamourous look that features glitter and pearls on different pink base colours from the same family to add dimension to the traditional pink manicure. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to experiment with fancy, glitter-packed designs, this one is a must-try. It is bound to turn heads and will give you picture-perfect nails for the ‘gram. 

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