How to Wear Instagram's "Lipstick Nails" According to The Nail Artist Who Created Them

Updated 08/08/19
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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 maintaining its popularity) or a specific design (minimalist nail art still reigns supreme). It has to do with a specific nail shape—one that Refinery29 coins "lipstick nail," because of the way it resembles a brand new bullet of lipstick. You see, the top of each nail is filed into a slant, so that the tips of the nails point diagonally to the cuticle.

As you can imagine, some people love the "lipstick nail," while others claim they can do without it, thank you very much. 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 fall trend. Keep scrolling to see these so-called "lipstick nails" for yourself.

The driving force behind the "lipstick nail" shape is Park Eunkyung, the nail artist 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 photo shoot for a 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."

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.

"You can use either fake or natural nails to do lipstick nails, but you have to make sure that the nails are long enough," she 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."

We also love this lipstick-shaped manicure she did, in which she combined nude and neon polish into one harmonious design. That's the key to lipstick nails—keeping the polish and design simple, so the unique shape can shine through. "Once your nails are well-shaped, the lipstick shape will make your hand look fabulous already. 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."

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?

"When doing the lipstick nails at home, keeping track of the direction of the pointy edge on your left and right hands is important. 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."

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.

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

For a more whimsical approach, paint your lipstick-shaped nails with your favorite chunky glitter polish. This one's making us want to reach for both silver and gold glitter, like that in Essie's Set In Stones ($7) and Summit of Style ($9) nail polishes.

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