Nail art is just like makeup. It gives us a chance to play with color and shape to express an underlying mood. Whether we want to channel positivity and optimism in the form of a bright and vivid "feel-good manicure" or convey a dramatic, dark, and moody emotion, there's a color and/or design to do just that. Lately, we've been veering toward the latter aesthetic. Blame it on the change of seasons, but we're looking to replace some of the lighter shades we've been wearing with something more Wednesday Addams–approved.
While pondering all the possibilities for the best witchy manicures, we asked ourselves: What's more "Addams Family"–esque than a combination of black and red? The answer, our friends, is nothing. Black-and-red manicures are dark, mysterious, and dramatic in the best way (just like the most iconic Disney villains and Halloween movie characters). We took it upon ourselves to begin a deep dive on Instagram to find the best ones, and we think we managed to find them. Keep scrolling to see the best black-and-red nail designs from some of Instagram's finest nail artists.
Alicia Torello is an editorial manicurist based in NYC. She's responsible for this darkly romantic black-and-red manicure, which models wore down the Rodarte runway in February 2016. She layered OPI Iconic Infinite Shine Nail Lacquer in Raisin the Bar ($13), and We're in the Black ($12).
Lines and Dots
This black-and-red manicure is courtesy of Paintbox Nails, a super-buzzy nail studio in NYC (check out its Instagram account for more inspiring images of nail art). The stark lines and dots make it the perfect option for nail art minimalists and those people who want their manicure to work just as well at the office as it does at weekend brunch.
Chillhouse is another trendy NYC nail salon and happens to be a Byrdie-editor favorite for flawless manicures. This is just an example of the artsy nail designs you can request. The red squiggle and dalmatian spots were inspired by the iconic Disney villain Cruella de Vil. Inspiration aside, it looks like a cool piece of modern art.
A vampy black-to-red ombré mani is the perfect combination of goth and hot girl. The stiletto shape really does it for us, too.
Naomi Yasuda is one of our favorite nail artists to follow on Instagram, and here is just one of the many inspiring nail designs you'll find on her page. This black-and-red reverse French manicure was created for an Adam Selman fashion show, although we'll be wearing it in daily life. Don't think we didn't notice that inky rock 'n' roll kajal liner, either.
Yasuda is also the artist behind these incredibly alluring corset nails, which, to us, all but beg to be worn throughout the autumn and winter season (not to mention Halloween). What really takes these up a notch is the subtle red-to-black ombré base.
Yasuda also took charge of the manicures at Kenzo's fall 2018 show during Paris Fashion Week. These fiery black-and-red nails were contrasted with lacy floral blue designs. Both are incredible, though we must confess that we have a special place in our hearts for those edgy red flames. They're so bold, dramatic, and eye-catching.
See? Yasuda's Instagram account really is rife with nail art inspo. This time it's a black-and-red rose manicure that's equal parts romantic and vampy. To us, it looks like the perfect combination of Disney princess and Morticia Addams (which, funnily enough, is our ideal aesthetic for the cooler months of the year).
Why not take your favorite autumn and winter fabrics and make them your new manicure? We think these tartan nails from expert manicurist Mei Kawajiri are nothing short of incredible. Sure, we'll admit that you'll need more than just black and red polish, but the extra effort (and color) will be well worth it.
If you're short of inspiration, draw reference from your favorite fall fabrics for new nail art ideas.
Believe it or not, these gel nails are hand-painted. It just goes to show what an expert manicurist can do—look at that detail and precision.
To us, this rosy design is the ultimate example of amazing floral nail art. Everything about it is perfect, from the whimsical way the roses are drawn to the clear-to-black ombré base. Again, we're obsessed.
If you're looking for a black and red look that's easy to recreate at home, we definitely recommend trying this plaid print. Start with a red base, apply striping tape in a criss-cross pattern and paint a black coat on top. You're done in just three simple steps.
This mani gives us major NASCAR vibes.
If you're plant-obsessed, this look is totally up your alley. The hand-painted greenery (in black, of course) is super chic and unique, and the red diagonal stripes make this nail look topnotch.
With nail art, there's really no limit. And if you're feeling creatively inspired, we recommend getting your own design painted on by a professional like these tips poetically adorned with vines and florals.
We imagine this look to be hot both now and far off in the future. It gives off UFO vibes and is definitely sure to be an eye-catching look.
Updated French Manicure
There's an endless number of color combinations you could experiment with for a fresh take on a Frech mani, but red with black is definitely in the top three.
There's something about matte nails that make us do a double-take. These maroon and black leopard-print tips have us swooning.
Waves for Daze
This wavy nail design is nothing short of a matte masterpiece. We love how each nail has slightly different waves for a waxing and waning effect.
Point blank: This cursive nail art is super. If you have a seriously steady hand, you can likely recreate it yourself, though, keep in mind that it might take some practice.
These shimmering charcoal swoops give us major old English vibes, though we can't make out what they actually say. Nevertheless, they grabbed our attention and won't let go.
How precious (not to mention fierce) are these nude fang nails? While they're particularly on-point for Halloween, they can be worn any time of year to add a little edge to your everyday look.
This dripping nail design might have a gory inspiration, but it looks like a piece of pop art in real life. In other words, we dig it.
Aiming for a dark Ophelia vibe? These black-and-red rose nails are a fun pick. Best of all, you can DIY them. Start with a red base and then use a toothpick dipped in black polish to carefully craft each petal.
From a bright orangey-red to stark black, these gradient nails offer loads of contrast and an even more chic style. To DIY, start with a red base and then use a small sponge to overlay the vibrant shade with black.
These black-and-red nails have an artsy graffiti effect that we can't stop staring at. Since it's pretty abstract, it makes for a manageable DIY.
Dramatic French Tips
These negative space nails immediately captured our attention and our hearts. With shapely French tips and black and red details, what's not to love?
If minimal nail designs are your only speed, take inspiration from Yasuda's geometric black-and-red manicure for Elle. The sharp shapes and vivid colors make for an interesting dichotomy between each nail.
Half and Half
Take a minute to really soak in the beauty of these half-and-half nails. With matte and glossy black sides and a split-finish red heart to match, this manicure is simply one of a kind.