20 Clear Nail Designs That Are Anything But Boring

woman with clear nail design



The term "clear nail polish" usually doesn't evoke very much excitement—until now. Thanks to the clear nail designs we've been seeing all over Instagram lately, we're discovering how majorly versatile—and yes, exciting—clear polish can actually be. Between bejeweled creations and negative-space nail art, a clear polish is the perfect blank slate for both crazy-imaginative designs and super-subtle ones—and that's the beauty of it.

If you prefer polish, you can rest assured knowing a clear base will help your manicure go the extra mile. And the possibilities are endless (and just as practical) with gel, dip powder, and acrylics, too.

Below, find our 20 favorite, ultra-imaginative clear nail designs we'll be recreating nonstop from here on out.

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Seeing Stars

With the right nail-art tools, you can do pretty much anything—including making your manicure resemble the night sky. For this clear, colorful version, pick your favorite hues and some sweet star stencils.

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Gold Details

A few delicate gold dots and some clear polish is all you need to recreate this look at home.

When recreating this look at home, try applying gold nail stickers or appliques if you lack the steady hand to paint these tiny dots with polish.

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Just the Tips

Meet the modern update to French tips. With a clear, dip manicure, you can try these abstract tips with any shades you prefer, but we're partial to this ultra-chic, black-and-white version created with acrylic color.

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Queen of Hearts

An accent nail with a negative-space heart—with the same hue throughout the rest of your manicure—will be a sweet surprise every time you look down. This one was pulled off with gel polish.

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Wavy, Baby

As far as we're concerned, you can't go wrong with a black-and-white nail pattern—but you can make an even bolder impact by adding negative space to the equation, like in this wavy, artistic design.

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Holy Cow

It's a mooood. (Sorry, we had to.) Cow print has been trending for awhile now—in clothing and nail art—and this clear, gel version with negative space is one of the chicest iterations we've seen.

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A Pop of Color

We're all about color-blocking, especially when negative space and abstract lines are involved. And don't be fooled by the autumnal hues—this minimalist mani works year-round.

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Simple Negative Space

Keep things clean and simple. A navy-blue hue combined with negative space is classic and chic—and a tiny, barely noticeable appliqué dotted in the middle is the perfect finishing touch.

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Curved Half Shape

Spruce up the top half of your nails with a curved half shape in a multitude of neutral colors—while leaving the base of your nails crystal-clear.

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Simple Sweep of Gold

If you're a minimalist with your nails, try a simple sweep of gold polish over clear polish for a slightly more-exciting option with major pizazz.

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Clean Lines

Over a clear coat, try micro-strokes of a nearly-nude color to mimic the arch of your nail tip for something simple-yet-striking.

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Bursts of Color

This clear mani—complete with a plethora of bright shades separated by lines of negative space—is making us happier just looking at it.

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Add Some Sparkle

Make an impact with bold, dark hues contrasted with clear polish—and feel free to add some sparkly appliqués for good measure.

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White Stripes

Make a minimalist statement with a bold, wavy stripe in crisp white over transparent, glassy nails.

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Animal Print

With a cow print on the tips and a leopard print on the cuffs, these negative-space nails are an animal lover's dream.

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Funky French

Forget white French tips—we're exclusively painting ours this moody forest green from now on.

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Flower Power

Pops of color mixed with daisies? Yes, please. Plus, with the bases of your nails clear, growing out your manicure will be a breeze.

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Ombré & Earthy

This ombré nail situation is executed pretty perfectly—with earthy shades, bold black lines, and clean negative space. We stan.

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Geometric Shapes

Geometric shapes meet negative space in this Mondrian-inspired masterpiece that utilizes acrylics for extra length.

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Clear Half Moons

We'll be dreaming of this clear half-moon manicure for weeks to come.

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