Much like other aspects of the beauty and fashion industry, Black innovation and design in nail art has long been appropriated by white women. Take the long acrylics or intricate rhinestone-encrusted patterns "made" popular by Kylie Jenner or Hailey Baldwin that were, and undoubtedly still are, highly criticized as unprofessional when seen on the Black women who wore them first (like Flo Jo, Missy Elliott, La Toya Jackson, and Diana Ross). But, as proven time after time, the creativity and resilience of the Black community isn't going anywhere, and there are plenty of Black nail artists to follow on Instagram for trend-setting, amazing designs straight from the sources.
Well, the term "plenty" is relative. Even though Black nail art is consumed and appropriated at a high rate, the percentage of Black nail artists working at United States salons in 2018 was reported being a low two percent in a UCLA labor study. Which means following Black nail artists is more than throwing them a like, but rather acknowledging their influence and supporting Black art in a space where it has been overlooked and demeaned.
Ahead, 15 Black nail artists to put on your feed to support Black creativity and, of course, ogle over some stunning manicures.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @nailsbycanishiea
Canishiea Sams' feed is an endless scroll of geometric designs, swirls, and dots. Most of the nails are almond shaped and on the shorter end of the spectrum so, while her press-on sales are paused through mid-June, you can try to recreate one of the designs yourself.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @imangabrielle
Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, Iman Gabrielle has a knack for kitschy designs like smiley faces, butterflies, and evil eyes. But along with the bold, she also does French tips (in both modern and traditional styles), monochrome colors, and minimalist looks.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @ajackdannie
Following Aja Walton is your ticket to see the nail looks that go down fashion runways like Marc Jacobs, Prabal Gurung, and Jeremy Scott. And when Walton's not working on models, the artist churns out pop-style designs with logos, references to musical artists, and graphic prints.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @nailsbyleaux
The ombré nail comes in many styles, and Lauren Guidry has seemingly done just about every one of them. Whether you're looking for a classic fade, something adorned with rhinestones, or a look reminiscent of falling glitter, her page probably has it.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @artofkia
A mix of graphic and minimal, @artofkia runs a wide gamut when it comes to nail design. Scrolling through the artist's page, you'll be able find dripping flames and dried flowers surrounded by less intricate manicures with silver metallics and peachy nudes.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @kdsnails_
Long acrylic lovers, rejoice: The artist behind @kdsnails_ works with inches of length. The nail tech creates artfully crafted nails from stiletto to square shaped with rhinestones, neutrals, neons, and more.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @thenailphilosophy
Tahsiyn Harley's page is a one-stop shop for unique designs. Mixing colors and prints, the artist frequently does 10 different looks on each nail. Sometimes the design is similar, like in the above 3D sea shells, and in others, like her galaxy set, each nail has an entirely different structure.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @trillanails
Even if you're not based in North Carolina, you can get still your hands on Trilla Nails — and you're going to want to. What fills the artists' feed is generally also offered as made-to-order and "the basic" (i.e monochrome colors) press-on sets available online.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @nailsbymimi
Seeing the amazing work nail artists do is one thing, but getting first-hand tips and tricks is another. And you know you can trust Mimi D, the artist behind @nailsbymimi, when she tells you how to remove powder, cut your cuticles, or create your own sand gel because she's worked on Ivy Park and Kosas campaigns as well as on stars like Tess Holliday and Rosario Dawson.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @queenofnails
With more than 300,000 followers, the artist behind @queenofnails rightfully wears that crown. Though she's well known for her 3D additions, like food, animals, and florals, she has an expert hand in drawing portraits, such as Justin Bieber and Kobe Bryant, across the nail as well.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @nailsbyrayshel
You can keep up with steadfast and emerging nail trends by following @nailsbyrayshel. You'll be able to get inspo for the ever-popular butterfly and animal print designs, logo nail charms, ombré effects, and marble swirls.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @kreationsbykiki
Kiea Taylor doesn't shy away from color in most of her looks, whether it be a simple watercolor rainbow, jelly dots, or lots of holographic adhesives. And if you're a fan of neon (seeing as it's become super popular in 2020), Taylor has a love affair with the bright hues, too.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @tahranailsatl
Tahra Clarke takes what you thought you knew about graphic, geometric designs and throws that out the window. Her designs are full of abstract shapes, rotating between matte and glossy finishes, that are often inspired by fabrics, art, and culture.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @glamdbyannick
At first glance, @glamdbyannick's account is a go-to for simple designs with a touch of flair. But the more you scroll through, you'll quickly find the artist has all the cartoon inspo one could need: The Powerpuff Girls, The Proud Family, Tom and Jerry, Minnie Mouse, and more.
Black Nail Artist To Follow: @cgoldnglam
Natural nails can have fun, too, not just acrylics — and Cecily Gomez proves that. While there are acrylic sets and overlay on the page, the artist does a lot of work on short, natural nails with seriously in-depth designs.