14 Valentine's Day Manis That Are Cool — & *Not* Cheesy


It's that time of the year when love is in the air, and nearly everything in eyesight is pink, red, or covered in hearts. Just because you're feeling the love doesn't mean that you have to show it on your nails. Valentine's Day manicures can still be festive without all of the hearts, roses, and Cupid's arrows, should you choose.

Instead of opting for Xs and Os, muted pinks, neutrals, and color-blocked designs work just as well for staying on theme and standing out, too. And adding sparkles to your manicure creates an exciting upgrade to those traditional color selections at any time of the year. In fact, the most popular manicures across the country — including ones from Paintbox in NYC and Olive & June in Los Angeles — have manicures that veer on the simpler side, incorporating top 2019 nail trends such as geometric shapes, linear designs, and negative space. And unlike the dozen roses you order for mom, or the big ol' box of sea salted caramel chocolates that you order for yourself (you deserve it!), these designs stay fresh all year long.

Ahead, find inspiration for your next manicure courtesy of the country's most innovative nail salons.

Washington, D.C.


"When it comes to design and color choices, most of the time it's a small representation of someone’s personality," Justine Khanzadian, general manager of Nailsaloon in D.C., says. "I see a lot of geometric designs, negative space and half moons."


"This time of year people are drawn to reds, deep burgundies, and lots of colors that read black but are actually a color," she continues.


"Glitter [in my opinion] is always appropriate, but for people who don’t share that ideology, Valentine’s Day sometimes has them venturing out of their comfort zone and adding a little sparkle... even if it’s only on a few nails," she notes.

Denver, C.O.

Base Coat Nails

"This year we’re seeing more of pale pinks and nudes," Jade Hill, the social media manager for Base Coat Nails, says. "Minimal nail art is the go-to for a classic Valentine's look this year, such as a single heart or a dot."

Nashville, T.N.

Photo by Elsie Larson for Poppy & Monroe

"We are seeing lots of geode and gem nails rose quartz is a big favorite since everyone is into the power of crystals," says Karen Kops, founder of Poppy & Monroe. This manicure by Poppy & Monroe manicurist Claire Scalzi blends rose quartz into a Valentine's inspired mani.

Miami, F.L.

"Besides the classic red mani, we are seeing geometric nail art with red, pink, and blush tones," says Vanessa Altman, founder of Luv Nails.

Chicago, I.L.

"Negative space designs are definitely in along with simple, matte reds," Chicago-based manicurist Holly Hilliger says.

New York, N.Y.

Paintbox Nails

"Foil nails are always super popular at our studio," Eleanor Langston, Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Paintbox Nails, reveals. "Other trends are clients always love include glitters paired with milky pastels, graphic lines, angles in designs, and new takes on minimalist classics, like the modern French manicure."

"I love that this manicure has negative space at the base. It’s a nice mix of a flirty heart silhouette and bold iridescent chromes," Langston says.


To achieve this classic red look, "first apply two coats of JINsoon Ardor to all nails," JINsoon salon tells TZR. "Then, using a striping brush, paint a C-shape at the tip of the nail in JINsoon Prim. Finish by applying JINsoon Top Gloss, which is a top coat."

Los Angeles, C.A.

Olive & June

Take away a typical heart shape design and try feminine scalloped edges on your nails. The shape adds a small design and dresses up a neutral pink, like seen in this photo from Olive & June.

Olive & June

Small shapes still make such a huge difference.

Olive & June

Play with the space on your nails if you haven't experimented before. A red diamond is a nice, eye-catching touch.

Olive & June

A playful touch to a French manicure, this pop of color is a modern upgrade to the beloved classic.