All Beauty, All the Time—For Everyone.

How to Wear Lipstick Nails According to the Manicurist Who Made Them

Asian woman with hand over her mouth showing off manicure.


Mireya Acierto / Stringer / Getty Images

Instagram is busy incubating a new beauty trend. This time, it's a nail trend, though it doesn't have anything to do with a specific shade (Selena Gomez's neon peach is a continual fave) or a specific design (minimalist nail art still reigns supreme). It has to do with a specific nail shape—one that Refinery29 coins "lipstick-shaped nails," because of the way each nail resembles a brand new bullet of lipstick.

As you can imagine, some people love the lipstick nails—when the top of each nail is filed into a slant so that the tips of the nails point diagonally to the cuticle—while others claim they can do without it. No matter what side of the love-hate line you fall on, it's easy to see why this new shape is causing a stir, and why we think it's set to become a full-fledged beauty trend. Keep scrolling to see these so-called "lipstick nails" for yourself. Who knows, you might just want to hop on the bandwagon.

The History of Lipstick Nails

The driving force behind lipstick-shaped nails is Park Eunkyung, the creative mastermind behind the wildly popular Instagram account @nail_unistella. "I’ve been keeping my nails short for a long time but recently I started loving longer nails," she tells us. "The reason why I couldn’t keep my nails long, even though I love the way it looks, was because they didn’t feel comfortable to me. As I was working at a photoshoot for cat eye-shaped sunglasses, I thought it would be interesting to shape my nails into that shape and gave it a try. It turned out like a lipstick shape, so I did it on my nails immediately. However, I haven't done it to many people yet. I thought it was pretty and unique but still was a bit afraid to try it, too. I think people might feel the same way at first, but I’m sure they’ll realize how comfortable it is once they give it a try."

Meet the Expert

Park Eunkyung is a nail artist and owner of Unistella by E.K. Lab salon in Seoul, South Korea. She is known for her experimental nail designs, such as shattered glass, wire, and negative space manicures.

Tips for Creating Perfect Lipstick-Shaped Nails

If you're intrigued by this trendy nail shape, you can experiment with it on your own at home, as, despite the luxe shape, it's easy to DIY—so long as you keep the three tips below in mind.

1. Grow out your nails—or opt for extensions. "You can use either fake or natural nails to do lipstick nails, but you have to make sure that the nails are long enough," Eunkyung explains. "If the natural nails are strong and well grown, you can file them immediately to make the shape, but if not, you can shape extended fake nails into the pretty lipstick shape. Basically, you are filing one edge of the regular square-shaped nails diagonally to make the shape, but you have to make sure not to make it sharp-edged. You have to focus on the fact that you are trying to make the nails look longer and prettier rather than to make them look wider and flatter."

2. Align the edges. "When doing lipstick nails at home, keeping track of the direction of the pointy edge on your left and right hands is important," Eunkyung points out. "For the right hand, the longer side should be on the right and for the left hand, it should be on the left. This will make your lipstick shape last longer while feeling more comfortable in your daily lives."

3. Keep it simple. "Once your nails are well-shaped, the lipstick shape will make your hand look fabulous already," Eunkyung says. "Since the shape is unique enough, you don't need any patterns or designs on your nails anymore. Applying full coats of nude color will make your nails look amazing." (Of course, you can always jazz them up any way you please).

10 Lipstick-Shaped Nail Looks to Inspire Your Next Manicure

1. Iridescent Minimalism

Here, Eunkyung created a super futuristic-looking manicure by combining a dramatic lipstick shape with holographic polish and minimalist nail art. It reminds us of something we might have seen in Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, and we mean that in the best way.

2. Neon Tips

We also love this lipstick-shaped manicure Eunkyung did, in which she combined nude and neon polish into one harmonious design.

3. Shiny Black Details

If you prefer neutral shades over bright hues, take inspiration from this black-and-white lipstick manicure Eunkyung posted to her Instagram. The curved design of the polish softens the harsh lipstick slant of the nail. It's a cool juxtaposition, don't you think?

4. Cherry Red

There are a few other nail artists utilizing the lipstick shape on Instagram. Here, the perimeter of the nails are painted with a cherry-red color that looks (funnily enough) like a classic shade of lipstick.

5. Sunshine Yellow

There's little we love more in this world than a bright yellow manicure, which is why we'll be taking inspiration from this combination of lipstick-shaped nails and sunshine-yellow polish.

6. Glitter Specks

For a more whimsical approach, paint your lipstick-shaped nails with your favorite chunky glitter polish. This example makes us want to reach for both silver and gold glitter—we love Essie's Set In Stones ($9) and Summit of Style ($9) nail polishes.

7. Short Lipstick Nails

While lipstick nails do require length, this example proves your nails don't have to be super long to rock the look. Plus, how cute is this feminine mani that showcases lips, hearts, and fluttery lashes?

8. Milky Way

How mesmerizing are these black, metallic-tipped lipstick nails? They remind us of the Milky Way and crystal collections alike.

9. Jelly Nails

This half-jelly lipstick mani is one for the books. With a creamy lavender color and clear, glitter-speckled tips, they've captured our attention and won't let go.

10. Snakeskin

If the idea of minimalist nails—regardless of the shape—makes you want to cringe, consider these intricate snakeskin lipstick nails instead. Considering how trendy the animal print is, you simply can't go wrong.

Related Stories