10 Emoji Nail Designs That Will Make Your IRL Mani Happier Than Ever

Hot pink manicure with sparkle heart accent nails and sparkle designs


Considering how prevalent emojis are in our texting conversations (hi, I love them), it's really no surprise the tiny cartoons have made their way from our screens to our nails. That's right: Emoji nails are trending on social media, and when done well, they're just as fun and colorful as you'd expect. Where some opt for a variety of smiley faces, others embrace icons like the sparkling heart, cloud, or chili pepper. And the sky's the limit as to how you include emojis in your mani: tiny accents or nail stickers are a popular choice, but you can also extend the design across your entire nail or customize the color and details to create the emojis of your dreams. To prove how versatile emoji nails truly are, ahead you'll find 10 of our favorite takes on the trend.

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Naked Emoji Nails

Neutral manicure with smiley face, yin/yang, cowboy hat, and flower emoji designs


Inspired by the daisy, yin/yang, smiley face, and cowboy hat emojis, this manicure most definitely pops out against its neutral base. Rather than using tiny nail stickers, though, this emoji nail design is fully hand-painted. Needless to say, to recreate it, you'll likely want to bring this photo as inspo for your nail artist.

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Bright Emoji Nails

Colorful manicure with smiley face, flame, cloud, cherry, chili pepper, yin/yang, eye, and animal print designs


Here we have an emoji nail design that dominates the entire nail—and we're loving the look. Complete with flames, a smiley face, clouds, cherries, and more (all in the most fun colors), this mismatched mani is nothing short of an emoji masterpiece.

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Chili Pepper Nails

Neutral manicure with small chili pepper emoji nail designs


Remember: You can keep it simple with emoji nail designs, too. Here, tiny chili pepper emojis steal the show and spice up a neutral base. While these look hand-painted, know that you can opt for a similar DIY emoji nail design using the Deco Miami Sugar & Spice Nail Stickers ($10).

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Allover Emoji Nails

Emoji nails with yellow base and different face designs


Another option? A different bright emoji on each nail. If you have a steady hand, all you'll need is a yellow polish (such as the Sephora Collection Color Hit Mini Nail Polish, $5, in the shade Yellow Car), a classic black polish, a fine-lining brush, and a touch of patience. Be sure to finish with top coat for a collection of glossy (or matte) faces that are ready to express your every mood for the long haul.

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Sparkle Heart Nails

Hot pink manicure with sparkle heart emoji designs


This might just be our favorite emoji nail art idea of all. Complete with the iconic yellow sparkles and hot pink sparkle hearts, this look stands out in all the best ways—we love how it includes its emoji inspo both as a tiny accent and throughout the theme of the entire mani.

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Mismatch Emoji Nails

Multicolored nails with different emoji face designs


If you love the idea of wearing a different smiley face on each nail but prefer a bit more color variety, consider this rainbow mismatch mani. For an especially bright backdrop, consider the Orly Breathable 1-Step Manicure Sweet Retreat Collection ($66).

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Grid French Tips

Manicure with grid French tips and smiley face, cherry, lightning, and mushroom emoji designs


Hoping to combine a couple nail trends in one manicure? This grid French tip emoji number is sure to stand out.

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Ombré Smileys

Pink to orange ombre manicure with smiley face emoji nail designs


If you love the idea of smiley face emoji nails but don't want classic yellow, try swapping in your favorite color. We love how this mani features a pink-to-orange ombré gradient for the perfect sunset vibes.

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Butterfly Effect

Manicure with purple and blue swirled base and butterfly emoji nail stickers


If the butterfly emoji always brings you joy, bring those vibes to your fingertips. While the design here looks intricate, it actually couldn't be easier to recreate: Nails Inc's Feeling So Fly set ($12) includes purple and blue polish plus enough butterfly stickers to make your heart flutter.

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Groovy Emoji Nails

Manicure with colorful checkerboard nails and smiley, flower, heart, sparkle, and cherry emoji designs


Can't choose between groovy retro inspo and the emojis you text to your friends every day in 2023? You don't have to! This design alternates multicolored checkerboard nails with smiley, heart, flower, sparkle, and cherry emoji accents that prove sometimes maximalism is exactly what you need.

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