(The Nail File)

These Black Nail Looks Will Usher In Your ‘Soft Goth’ Era

For spooky season and beyond.

black nail ideas

Despite the internet being full of inspiration, it’s possible to experience manicure fatigue. Between trending kitschy designs and glazed or matte finishes going viral every other day, it can be quite overwhelming to keep up. When you find yourself exhausted trying to keep track of the latest looks, why not go back to basics? Moving away from over-the-top designs and bright polishes, a manicure in a simple dark hue can be captivating in its own way. Luckily, Instagram agrees, and creators have been churning out some impressive black nail ideas to lead the charge. Devoid of color but full of character, these manicures also feel timely for the colder months on the horizon.

If you think that black nails will translate to boring or dull, you’re sorely mistaken. The range of this hue is just as extensive as any vibrant manicure. From shiny ebony and onyx shades to the perfect blend of deep blues and purples, there’s truly something for everyone to love. Even if solid nails aren’t your thing, a black lacquer can be great for remixing your favorite design. For example, a French manicure or an ombré look instantly becomes moody when done with a dark polish.

As if that’s not enough to get you on board, black nails are also extremely easy to wear regardless of nail length or shape. So you’re ready to test drive this bold look, check out the ideas below for some fresh manicure inspiration.

Smoke Signals

The ombré technique is commonly used to create cool gradient designs. Instead of using a darker color as the base, this set flips the script, starting with a cool grey polish that blends into a deep onyx towards the tip of the nail. As a result, the final look has a smoky appearance that's truly unique. But thanks to the subtle fusion of shades, the shiny black hue remains the focus of this eye-catching manicure.

Red Bottom Nails

While it’s true that Louboutins have been worn and adored by just about every celebrity, their influence only recently reached manicure trends — thanks to Cardi B. At the beginning of 2023, the rapper sported an extra-long set with the underside painted red. It didn’t take long for red-bottom nails to become a viral sensation. Though Cardi originally sported white polish on top, the look feels even more luxe in a shiny black shade.

Raven Black

At its darkest, navy can come across as a much more menacing hue. Not quite blue and not quite black, this raven shade combines the deepest elements of both colors to create a unique look. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. Like the name implies, the rich lacquer also has hints of silver that will make your manicure shine bright from any angle.

Ebony Almond Nails

On short and long nails black polish can be pretty glaring. But on medium almond nails, the dark color has a softer effect. Maybe it’s the natural shape, or perhaps the modest length that gives the shade a refined feel. Regardless of the reason, you can’t go wrong with this simple manicure, and it’s easy to pull off with a regular polish. Just be sure to use a top coat to help prolong its wear.

Black Emerald

There’s no denying the spellbinding effect of this black and emerald look. Falling somewhere between an aura design and a traditional ombré, it feels delightfully moody and timely for autumn. But don’t let the sinister vibe fool you, as it’s also easy for any and everyone to wear. Whether you’re into long extensions or short natural nails, this manicure is one to add to your seasonal rotation.

Hourglass Nails

You may recall seeing hourglass nails on your explore page in a few different colors. Similar to the French manicure, its simple aesthetic lends itself to many versions. But it’s the classic hues that make it most attractive. The glossy black polish creates the shapely outline, and the flesh-toned nude provides the contrasting backdrop. Yes, there is beauty in the basics. If you’re not ready to embrace black nails full-on, give this artistic design a try instead.


While it’s true that gel polish works on all nail lengths, the lacquer in a black shade is especially becoming on shorter lengths. Paired with well-groomed fingernails, the glossy dollop of color exudes elegance. Even if you generally stick to long extensions, it’s good to take a break from them every now and then, and this high-shine licorice manicure makes a nice alternative. It’s still ultra luxe and brings the drama.


If you want to do the galaxy nail trend justice, you need the right canvas. That begins with a thick coat of black polish. As the foundation of your star-filled sky, it should be intensely pigmented. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, the rest of this look is easy to recreate. Simply top it with a multi-chrome glitter polish and get ready to admire the reflective work of art.


Guess what? Black isn’t one note. In fact, there are many variations of the hue that make it ideal for vampy manicures. Take this nightshade set, for example, that features the deepest color of eggplant. Rich in purple and ebony undertones, it has a darkened appearance that looks black from afar. But up close, this shade is even more enchanting than its name suggests.

Rainbow Accents

A quick glance at this set may bring back memories of the lava lamps that were popular during the ‘90s. But beyond the nostalgic shape and floating colorful blobs, this manicure is an entrancing option for those who live for bold designs. The simple black polish provides the perfect background to show off droplets of rainbow colors. With each nail sporting a different shape, the look is sure to turn more than a few heads.