4 Negative Space Nails you need to try

4 Negative Space Nails you need to try

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to cover every nail with full detail in order to up your nail up game. Negative space nails have become a rising trend in the nail art world, with many artists utilising the use of space and shapes in designs. Anyone who has taken a marketing class on print advertisements will know that the use of white space is a powerful tool when promoting a product. This can also be applied to negative space nail art; the use of clear and minimal space can give off a simple yet sophisticated look.

What are negative space nails?

Negative space nails are nail designs that incorporate the natural nail into the design. This is typically done with no base coat, though in some cases a clear or nude shade close to the natural skin is used.

Why is negative space nail art so popular?

  • Versatility: there are numerous ways negative space nails can be approached, from simple designs with dots and stripes to more detailed designs playing on patterns. There also isn’t a single look to follow. You can really be as creative and use as much or little space as desired. 
  • Accessible: this is a great approach for those looking to grow beyond the simple colour manicure and take a dip in the nail art pool but not yet ready for intense designs. It is also increasingly used by experienced nail artists to put creative twists on designs.
  • Minimalist approach: With the rise of ‘minimalism’, this is a creative spin on the notion ‘less is more’. 
  • Long-lasting: some negative space nail designs can extend the duration of your manicure. For instance, nail regrowth and chipped nail varnish are less obvious when designs that cover the tip or bottom of the nail are used. 


4 Negative Space Nail Art Tutorials

Look 1: Rainbow nails 

1) As my nails are quite long, I decided to go with a nude base coat. This is because my nail plate (the main part of the nail) and free edge (tip of the nail) are slightly different shades (sort of like a French manicure without the nail varnish) which would impact the final look. Those with shorter nails can skip this step.



2) Using my red nail art pen, I applied a thin horizontal line across each nail. Instead of a straight line, I decided to go for a very loose ‘S‘ shape.



3) I next used a green nail art pen and went over the red line.



4) I repeated this with yellow and white shades. You can use as many colours as you want for this but I kept this minimal with 4.


5) Finish off with a top coat.


Negative Space Nails

Negative Space Nails - Rainbow


Look 2: Grassy vibes 

1) I skipped the base coat for this one and went straight in with my white nail art pen. The thin end of a dotting tool will also work for this. I painted vertical lines from the tip of my nail down towards the middle of my nail. 




2) I repeated this step with green nail polish. Feel free to add more shades of green to add further effect if you have any.



3) I sealed off the look with a top coat.


Negative Space Nails - Grass


Look 3: Cute Cuticles 


1) I went with a nude base colour for this, but this step is not essential.


2) Using my white nail art pen, I painted a thin line just above the right side of my cuticle (known as the lunula). I outlined the shape of my nail for this, ending the line about halfway across my nail.




3) Using my black nail art pen, I repeated this step, this time on the left side of the cuticle. 



4) I finished off with a top coat.


Negative Space Nails - cuticles Negative Space Nails


Look 4: Patterned Negative Space

1) I started off by applying ‘splodges’ of pink, yellow and/or grey on each nail. Any three colours of choice will work here, I really liked how well these shades went together. 



2) Using my white nail art pen I drew different designs on each nail. This included a triangle, swirls, dots and lines. 



3) I then used my black nail art pen to add more designs to each nail. I just went with the flow with this and created random shapes and swirls.


Negative Space Nails -


4) Finish off the look with a top coat. 


Negative Space Nails - patternsNegative Space Nail Art


I hope you enjoyed these negative space nails and are inspired to create your own spin on this rising technique. Nail art doesn’t have to be difficult or time confusing, negative space nail art proves just that. 


What was your favourite look?

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts.

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