Eight nail art designs to inspire your post-lockdown manicure

Nail salons are getting ready to welcome back customers for the first time since Christmas – and I’ve still got my last set of gels clinging on to my nails for dear life after 15 weeks.

Booking you appointment

To help your nail technician have a smoother day, it’s best to let them know the kind of design your thinking of in advance of your appointment. This way, they’ll be able to book out the right amount of time for your treatment, and get you in, sat and started promptly after cleaning down the station. I’ve already booked in my next appointment with Leanne Haycock, and have added a ‘rebalance’ treatment to my nails with them having been on longer than five weeks.

Consider shape and length

The first thing you’ll want to consider is length and shape. Fancy going long, medium or short? I’m so glad I went for short nails at Christmas, as they’d never have lasted the way they have if they were longer. I used to be put off by shorter nails thinking you couldn’t fit much nail art on them – but you’d be surprised. In terms of shape, the common ones are square, almond, round or coffin – and I think I’ve had them all at some point. I do prefer rounder shapes though, as they’re less likely to get snagged on things, in my opinion.

Trends for 2021

This year, I think butterfly art is still having its moment, particularly when summer comes around. I’ve also noticed organic shapes being quite popular, and a bit of a 70s swirly pattern. Nudes are super sleek and look so stylish, and I’m a huge fan of negative space. In a few of the designs I’ve had, using a nude base colour in negative space has made my growth in the following weeks far less noticable, blending in to the design.

Where to look for inspiration?

Instagram is a great source of nail art inspiration, with dozens of hashtags you can browse through. If you’re really unsure of what you might like, ask your nail tech if they have any designs they’ve been desperate to do on a client. Other great places to look are Pinterest and sites like Stylist, Glamour and Cosmo, who often post round up galleries.

Leanne’s top aftercare tips for looking after your manicures:

  • Apply cuticle oil daily to keep nails nourished and to promote healthy growth, whilst preventing lifting or cracking
  • Don’t pick at or peel your polish off as it will cause damage to the natural nail, causing them to be sore
  • Be careful in the first 24 hours, and avoid saunas, hot baths, sunbeds or other steamy environments
  • Wear rubber gloves when cleaning, doing the dishes or gardening
  • Wash hands thoroughly – particularly after coming into contact with chlorine, insect repellent or sun cream
  • Look after them, and treat them with as much care as possible, because your nails are ‘jewels, not tools’

Over the past 18 months I’ve had safari, stars, seashells, as well as floral designs and lots of tortoise shell!

So, whilst I ponder what I’ll challenge Leanne with at my next appointment, here are eight nail art designs you can use to inspire your next set!


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