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These 29 Nail Designs Prove Black and Red Make for the Perfect Manicure

Nail art is just like makeup. It gives us a chance to play with color and shape in order 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… let's say 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 runway at the Rodarte show in February 2016. She layered OPI Iconic Infinite Shine Nail Lacquer in Raisin the Bar ($13) and We're in the Black ($11).

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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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Wavy Stripes

You know that part in Beetlejuice where Michael Keaton's character turns into a giant snake creature? That's what this black-and-red manicure reminds us of, albeit in a very cool and minimalistic way. It comes courtesy of Kesang Gurung, an NYC-based nail artist you can book through Chillhouse. Start with a base of sandy beige nail color (we like Essie Sand Tropez Nail Polish, $9). Then, reach for true black, white, and crimson to get that eye-catching squiggly detail.

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Reverse Manicure

Naomi Yasuda is one of our favorite nail artists to follow on Instagram, and here's 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…

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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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Red Flames

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 simply 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.

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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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Winter Tartan

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.

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Hawaiian Florals

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. 

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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.

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Nature Accents

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.

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Custom Illustrations

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.

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Futuristic Shapes

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.

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Kisses and Hugs

We're all about a statement mani and this one screams Valentine's Day, though we must admit we'd sport this look well past the holiday of love. And the cat with the heart is too cute for words.

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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.

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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.

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Super Cute

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.

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Shimmering Swoops

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.

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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 in real life, it looks like a piece of pop art. 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 red base and then use a toothpick dipped in black polish to carefully craft each petal.

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Black-to-Red Gradient

From a bright orangey-red to stark black, these gradient nails offer up loads of contrast and 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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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?

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Geometric Shapes

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.

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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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