Not Your Mother’s Red Manicure

Not Your Mother’s Red Manicure

Why you should care

Red manicure too old or boring for you? Think again.

Red nails are a classic – they’re the little black dress of the manicure world. We show you how to add your personal touch to this timeless favourite!

If you’ve ever wanted to dip your tips in red but were afraid of looking dated (gasp!), we’ve got your base coats covered.

Classic Red

red manicure


Go for it! Red nails are a sure fire way to dress up an evening or cocktail gown, but they also add a very understated boldness to a wardrobe filled with neutrals. Pair your crimson nails with black, grey, white, navy, denim, or nautical stripes.

Accentuate with gold or silver accessories – a charm bracelet, long strand necklace, or stud earrings – to complete your #ootd.

Light or Dark?

dark red manicure


Opt for darker shades like oxblood, wine red, or berry if the classic hue is too mainstream for you.

coral red nails


Alternatively, corals or pinkish reds give your look a dash of youthfulness that goes well with summery pastels.

Mix and Match Reds

matte and glossy red nails


Why stick to just one? Mix and match your reds – marry corals with berries, glossy polish with matte hues, or throw in some red glitter. A great way to incorporate this into your manicure is to use a different shade or finish for your tips or lunulae (the crescent shaped whitish area on your nail.)

You can also do a nail-by-nail ombre to incorporate a spectrum of reds.

red nails


Edgy Shapes

burgundy coffin nails


A daring coffin, stiletto, or square shaped nail can vamp up a staid shade!

Loubotin Nails

painted nail underside


The Loubotin nail – yes, it’s named after the shoe – is an incredibly sexy way to add a hint of red to your nails. To get the look, paint your nails black and the undersides of your nails red. It’s all about the teasing.

Gradient Shades

red ombre nails

SOURCE: YouTube channel Make Nail Art

To get the ombre nail look, you’ll need 2 nail polish colours, a top coat, a sponge, a plastic sheet, and toothpicks.

  • Step 1: Paint your nail in the lighter shade and let it dry.
  • Step 2: On your plastic sheet, paint both shades next to each other with their edges touching.
  • Step 3: Using a toothpick, swirl the colours together where they meet.
  • Step 4: Dab your sponge on the polish, then dab it on your nail.
  • Step 5: Finish with a top coat as the sponging can make this manicure quite bumpy. Tada!

Nail Art

nail art red and black


Nail art on one (or all!) of your nails makes a statement, and takes away from the classic uniformity of red nails. In addition to drawn designs, you can also add sequins, crystals, or bits of lace for a 3D appearance.

Blank space nail art featuring bits of uncoloured nail is currently trending, and we love it! For more blank space nail inspo, check out our article here.

Red Tips and Tricks

red floral nails


If you’re not ready to go all the way, opt for a complementary colour such as black, white, gold, or silver and jazz it up with hints of red – paint your tips, add stripes or polka dots, or simply polish one nail in red for an accent colour!

Why you should care

Red manicure too old or boring for you? Think again.

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