Friends, we’re seeing a new nail trend hit the scene, and it’s super cute. That’s right—we’re talking star nails, and they’re the trend we’re rocking for any (and every) occasion. Believe it or not, star nails are surprisingly versatile as there are many different types of stars you can paint on your nails. Slimmer starburst designs offer a slightly more sophisticated look, while the standard chunky five-point star is great when you want to make a bold statement.
Before heading to your favorite salon to request a star manicure, however, you’ll want to have a general idea of what you want, since star nail designs can vary so widely. Stars can be the main part of your nail design or just an accent and you can make them in almost any style or size you want. Lucky for you, you don’t have to struggle to come up with the perfect design. Get some inspiration from one of our favorite star nail designs below for a look you’ll see in the salon again and again.
Make each nail a little different
Can’t choose a design? Luckily, with this trend (and any nail trend, tbh), you don’t have to! Take a page from the above artist’s book and vary the number and size of stars on each nail. You can even reverse the colors of your stars and background, add French tips to the mix, or do stars on just some of your nails – when it comes to star nails, the world really is your oyster.
Make the star the accent
If you don’t want the stars to be the highlight of your manicure, let them fade into the background, like in the Kirby-inspired nail look above. The star designs make a lovely accent on almost any nail, and the cute cartoons are a bonus when you use your manicure to portray your favorite character. Make them extra subtle by drawing just the outline of a star, using a color similar to the base color of your nail, or just let it shine.
Use multiple colors
When you can’t choose just one color for your star-studded nails, don’t – there are no rules here. Choose stunning black and silver, black and gold, gold and silver, white and gold or any color combination under the sun for your star look. Leave them alone over a bare base or add French tips (or even do a double French manicure) depending on whether you prefer a minimalist or maximalist feel.
Make it minimal
Even the smallest stars can handle a cacophony of background noise, as in the manicure in the photo above. Sure, the little starbursts are just a nail away, but that doesn’t minimize them by any means – after all, some things are best tasted in small doses. Opt for a minimalist look with star nails when you want to rock the trend without getting bored too quickly.
Make it in chrome
If the standard star nail just isn’t for you, go for big and bold chrome, like with the pink metallic Barbiecore nails pictured above. This look, while simple, is anything but boring and is one that will have all your friends talking (mostly asking you for your manicurist’s contact info).
Use a blank space
There’s always the option of incorporating stars into other nail designs, but why not let them stand alone? Space your stars far enough apart so that there is plenty of empty space between them. This design is minimalist yet visually interesting. Bonus points if you do a nice milky white, pink or nude background on the base of your nail to let the empty space shine.
Draw a white background
No matter what color stars you want to put on your nails, make them sparkle on a white background. This look can be particularly striking when paired with black stars, but any colored star will stand out well against a white background. If you want to get super sophisticated with it, paint bright white stars on a milky white background for a modest, elegant look.
Do it with a french tip
If a French manicure is your salon appointment, spice it up the next time you pop in by adding some stars to the mix. You can add a star design to just one or two nails and you can keep it the same color as your french tip or contrast it. If you want to get really wild with it, let the star overlap the French tip.
Want a subtle yet striking look that you’ll probably see all your friends sporting after seeing it on you? Then a two-tone star mani is the way to go. To achieve this look, choose one color for the base of your nail and then take the same color a few shades lighter or darker to paint your stars. You can make a few plain five-pointed stars, or you can go all out with a few smaller stars for a more delicate look.
Make them in different colors
This is a look when tying up just isn’t your mood. Go all out with whatever colors you want to use for your stars — there are no limits here! However, we have a few pointers. If you want to make sure your look stays put together, use colors that go well together. This can be as simple as sticking to just pastels or just jewel tones. Then use your star colors elsewhere on your nails so that none of them look out of place.
Flip the colors of each hand
TBH, we’re obsessed with the square nails above, which flip the star manicure colors on any hand. It’s a stunning look when you want something put together but still a little goofy. Your reversal can be as dramatic as the dark and light shades used above, or you could make it more subtle by inverting two light or two dark shades.
Color them up for summer
Starry nails are a great look when summer rolls around, especially when you theme the colors around the season. Bright colors like orange, yellow, green and pink are great options when the summer months roll around. Choose pastel shades if you want your nails to be more subtle or brighter shades if you want everyone to notice your new manicure.
Make it like a starburst
As you already know, five-pointed stars aren’t your only option. If the standard star is too massive for you, tone it down by choosing a starburst design. Starbursts offer a mystical edge to the starry nail trend and are a great option when you’re going for a more subtle look or trying to mimic the night sky.
Make it three dimensional
When you want your star manicure to really stand out, make it three-dimensional! 3D star nails are a look you’re unlikely to see any of your friends sporting, but they look stunning nonetheless. We recommend making the 3D stars the accent and keeping the rest of your star designs flush with the nail so your look isn’t overwhelming.
Play with pink
If pink is your favorite color, this look is for you. Pair a bright pink star with a milky pink base shade for an elegant, girly look perfect for wearing to the theater when Greta Gerwig’s Barbie comes out. Or do a hot pink base with a light pink star for a more dramatic look.
Paint the stars with glitter
Who doesn’t love glitter? Personally, we think glitter should be a staple in everyone’s nail arsenal, and star nails are no exception. Top baby nails with glittery starbursts are an effortlessly elegant look perfect for any formal occasion that may be on the horizon.
Make it look like midnight
Alternatively, why not theme your star nails according to their natural habitat, the night sky? An iridescent midnight blue (or purple, or even black) creates a great base for this look. Make stars all over your nails or the night sky part reveals them.
Just outline it
If you really like whatever base color you’re putting on your nails, don’t ruin it by painting an entire star over it—just outline it! An outline star is just as much a star as a filled one, and will allow your base color to shine through while still providing just the tiniest bit of visual interest.
Draw some moons
What other shape goes great with stars? Luna, of course! Next time you do star nails, why not add some moons to match? Personally, we’re digging the black and gold color palette of the above look; if you want to tone yours down, go for a midnight blue base and silver star and moon accents.
Make them patriotic
Is there a more perfect Fourth of July look than starry nails? We don’t think so. To make this look match the Independence Day theme, incorporate the colors red, white, and blue. You can use them in any combination you like – we personally think a red nail background with blue and white (or silver) star accents would be a stunning look to sport on the big day. Bonus points if you add fireworks too.
Add them in other mystical forms
Self-proclaimed mystics have probably already worn some version of starnails at least once or twice. If you haven’t, why not incorporate them into your next manicure? We’re digging the look above, featuring an evil eye, snakes, flames and stars galore. Use the same color throughout if your nails are going to be a heavy design so they don’t look too busy.
Make them on different colored backgrounds
If you want a look that’s not super streamlined, but don’t feel like changing your star design on every nail, just change the background color. A different base color on each nail will keep your look interesting without having to worry about coming up with different star designs for all your nails. We love the look above that uses pastel shades, but you’re not limited to pastels—pick whichever color palette suits your mood and run with it.