These 30 Nail Designs Prove Black and Red Make for the Perfect Manicure

ombré nails


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.

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Black with Red Border

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 ($13).

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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.

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Dalmatian Print

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.

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Classic Ombré

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. To DIY your ombré nails, simply use a makeup sponge layered with your colors and press onto each nail.

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Reverse Manicure

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 this short nail look in daily life. Don't think we didn't notice that inky rock 'n' roll kajal liner, either.

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Ombré Corset

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.

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Dots and Hearts

How cute are these little red hearts with eyeballs? The dots add a whole extra level of adorableness. To recreate, swipe on a pinky nude base, like Dr.'s Remedy NURTURE Nude Pink Enriched Nail Polish ($17), before adding your art on top.

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Vampy Roses

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).

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Flames and Dragons

These are absolutely blowing our minds. Insanely intricate detail? Check. Bad ass flames? Double check. We're also very much intrigued by the mix of squared French tips in black.

If you're short of inspiration, draw reference from your favorite fall fabrics for new nail art ideas.

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Facial Sketches

A little cartoon illustration moment is oh so perfect in black and red on a white base. Use an ultra-fine detailing nail brush or a tooth pick to sketch out your designs. Remember, practice makes perfect so don't fret if you're unsatisfied with your first go at it.

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Smoked-Out Flowers

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.

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Straight-Up Plaid

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.

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Checkered Print

This mani gives us major NASCAR vibes. The easiest way to recreate these clean, straight lines is to tape off the edges of each checker. This way, when you lift the tape, your left with crisp, mess-free lines.

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Bandana Nails

We're loving the '90s inspo here. And the color-matching is on point, there is only one official bandana red, right? Here, celebrity nail artist BhamB Nails is using The Gel Bottle in the shade Candy ($19).

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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. If you've already mastered the home French manicure, it's as easy as swapping out the colors to recreate these pretty, simple nails.

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Hello Kitty Nails

We're loving the wavy vertical black and red lines here. Very '80s. And of course we're all about anything Hello Kitty, especially when made even more adorable in teeny tiny nail form.

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Geometric Accent Nails

Bright and electric meets geometric spider web. For clean geo lines like this, try using a striping tape if you're uncomfortable free-handing. Just start creating lines in all directions and before you know it, you've got a cool, unique design. To match the energy of these glowing red nails, try an extra punchy color like Deborah Lippmann It's Raining Men, $20.

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Leopard Print

There's something about matte nails that make us do a double-take. These maroon and black leopard-print tips have us swooning. Also note the added contrast with a matte base and glossy details.

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Dainty Text

These hearts paired with the dainty calligraphed text could not be any cuter—or intimidating when you're looking to DIY. Luckily, there are options to get professional-level calligraphy nails at home. The easiest way to get perfect lettering is to use nail stickers, $6, but you can also buy a nail art pen, $13 specifically for calligraphy on Amazon, or try your hand with a nail stamping kit, $15.

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Mixed Matte and Gloss

Not only is the accent nail a fun and punchy design, but it's also totally unique as the only glossy nail in a set of matte red. To keep a cohesive look across the board, go for a clear matte gloss to pop over all the plain nails rather than trying to shade match a gloss red with a matte red. We suggest Static Nails Liquid Glass Mattifier ($16).

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Cherry Art

BhamB Nails just does not miss. How stunning are these cherry nails? We love how the black tips add a bit of edge to the otherwise cutesy look.

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Dracula Fangs

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.

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Bloody Drips

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.

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Hand-Painted Roses

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 neutral base and then use a toothpick dipped in black polish to carefully craft each outline and another toothpick to fill in the red petals.

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Black-to-Red Gradient

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.

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Crescent Swirls

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.

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Striped Ombré

We can't help but feel velvety vibes from these ombre nails. To DIY, create your ombré base transitioning from black to red going left to right. Let this dry fully before taping off the horizontal rectangle and painting your gradient going in the opposite direction.

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Graphic Art

The ultimate rocker chick nails. We're getting very much Hot Topic circa 2011 meets 2021 modern chic here. Opt for a punchy red like Manicurist Red Cherry ($14).

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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.

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Lipstick Nails

Red is the ultimate color for some sassy lipstick nails in our opinion. Add some three-dimensional floral decals on top of that? You've got a match made in nail heaven.

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