Whether you prefer a neutral palette or you can't imagine wearing anything but bright, bold colors, it's time to consider metallic nail polish for your next mani. Available in a literal rainbow of shades—with dozens of iterations of each hue—metallic nail polish offers a simple way to elevate nail art and single-color manicures alike.
Say, you're someone who forever falls back on a classic French manicure. With metallic nail polish, you can maintain the minimalist nail art while making it shine on a whole new level. The point is clear: With metallic nail polish, you can upgrade your current go-to nail looks or embrace brand new nail art ideas. To help you do just that, we've rounded up over two dozen metallic nails examples. Check them out below and get ready to stand out.
Gold Foil Nails
For semi-textured metallic nails, consider copying celebrity nail artist Betina Goldstein's gold foil mani. Topped off with dainty roses, it's a romantic look that will likely require the skill of a professional nail tech. In other words, make sure to save this photo to bring to your next nail appointment—inspo images always help.
Simple Silver Squiggle
Metallic designs don't have to cover your entire nail, nor do they need to be with other polish colors to make an impact. Case in point: These simple silver squiggle nails. Despite their head-turning appeal, they're straightforward to recreate. Use a striping brush to trace silver swirls across a clear or nude mani, finish with a top coat, and you're good to go.
Love a negative space nail look? This one employs rich burgundy swirls complete with a metallic finish. To recreate the nail art yourself, use a thin nail striping brush (like one of the ones in this popular set, $8) to carefully paint curved lines across each of your nails, then fill them in.
Two-Tone Metallic Blue
This blue metallic nail look conjures images of summer and sparkling pools on sunny days—and we're totally here for it. Luckily for us, it's an easy mani to recreate. Simply start with a coat or two of lighter blue metallic nail polish—we like Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri Nail Color in Cosmic Blu ($7). Once dry, use striping tape ($6) to section off diagonal tips before filling in with a darker blue metallic nail polish. Wait for it to dry before removing the tape and finishing with a top coat, et voilà.
To create a particularly bold metallic French manicure, stick to classic white tips paired with a metallic base. You can opt for a chrome shade (like the example above) or use any metallic rendition of your favorite polish color.
Shimmering Cocoa Swirls
Prefer neutral colors? Pick a few and make one or two metallic to create a series of swirls on each nail that will bring images of coffee and chocolate to mind. Seriously, how delicious does this mani look? The Shine Set by Olive & June ($36) offers three precious metal-inspired polishes that can help you achieve this look.
Rainbow Chrome Tips
Alternatively, if you like the simplicity of a French manicure but want to have fun with a handful of colors, this rainbow iteration is worth trying. To recreate the look, use French manicure stickers (or circle stickers if you don't have specific French ones) to section off your tips, then fill them in with the metallic hues of your choice.
You don't have to use a ton of metallic polish to make a statement with your mani. Just look at this playful nail look. By adding small metallic gold accents on a few of the nails, you can create a light-reflecting look while still experimenting with other nail trends, like cow print and evil eyes.
Metallic Gold Tips
For a slightly retro metallic nail look, check out this curved two-tone design. While the example uses yellow polish topped with a squiggle of gold at the tip, the design looks great with just about any color of the rainbow. We're particularly fond of this rendition, as it reminds us of Beyoncé's truly iconic Oscars performance.
Chrome Dip Nails
Get creative with your French manicure by not only adding metallic polish, but creating a drip appearance as opposed to a clean arched line. You can do so by carefully painting drips on with a striping brush.
Colorblock Silver Nails
Whether you're looking for a nail art idea for Valentine's Day or simply because you love how red and hot pink look together, this nail art idea by celebrity manicurist Betina Goldstein is a fun one to copy. Start by creating half-and-half red and pink nails (striping tape helps). Once dry, use French manicure stickers to section off the tips and cuticles of each nail and fill in the section in between with silver metallic nail polish. Finish with a top coat.
For the ultimate '80s/'90s nail look, consider a metallic Mario-inspired set. Admittedly more intricate than many of the other nail ideas on this list, this one will likely require the help of a pro.
Silver French Tips
Simple yet stunning, here you can see what an impact silver polish makes in place of white in a classic French manicure. To create the look, you know the drill: Place French manicure stickers on each nail and fill in the tips with silver metallic nail polish. Easy peasy.
Silver Diagonal Tips
Alternatively, if you like the idea of silver tips but want to be creative with how you employ them, consider a negative space design with diagonal tips as opposed to curved. Fortunately for us, they're even easier to create than French tips—just use striping tape to section off the tips and fill them in.
Silver Half Moons
As popular as metallic tips are, we're here to let you in on a little secret: Metallic sides look great, too. To embrace the look, place curved nail stickers along the side of each nail to section off the space, or use a striping brush to carefully trace the design by hand.
Thick Periwinkle Tips
Forget about metallic silver French tips—these periwinkle blue ones have our heart. Fun Fact: Periwinkle (Pantone's Very Peri, to be exact) was the 2022 color of the year, and the joy of this shade is still energizing us a year later.
Just because you want to experiment with metallic nail polish doesn't mean you have to forgo your love of matte finishes entirely. Here, you can see how the two finishes complement each other. To recreate the look, use a striping brush or two pieces of striping tape to create squares on each nail.
Gold Square Tips
Just as we're into thick metallic periwinkle tips, we can't help but swoon over these square gold ones. They're giving warmth, luxury, and supreme style, and they're super easy to recreate—particularly with a bottle of Orly's Luxe Gold Foil Shimmer Nail Polish ($11).
Give yourself a gold star (or a few) with these star-studded metallic nails. While professional nail artists likely have no problem hand-painting stars, the average person's best bet is to use metallic gold star nail stickers—such as those found in Deco Miami's Zodiac Nail Art Stickers ($10)—layered with a top coat.
Retro Metallic Swirls
Can't choose a single metallic nail color? Opt for a few with this retro rainbow swirl idea. While it is possible to recreate with a nail striping brush (and a lot of patience), this is one nail art look you might want to leave to your manicurist.
Of course, there's always the option to skip out on nail art in favor of a solid swatch of metallic polish. We don't know about you, but we like the simple yet eye-catching appeal of this metallic lilac nail look.
If you like the idea of solid metallic nails but want to use a few colors, remember: The skittle rainbow manicure is still very in. A metallic finish will only make it that much prettier.
Sparkle Shift Tips
If you have two metallic polishes you love but don't want to cover your nails from cuticle to tip, consider this simple two-tone squiggle look. A striping brush will be your BFF while bringing this one to life.
Feeling ambitious? Rather than opting for a solid French tip nail look, go for marbled. By adding a metallic polish to the mix, your nails will look positively luxe.
We're getting major mermaid vibes from this metallic mint and iridescent pale purple nail art idea. The solid white swirl down each nail only makes them pop even more.