Smiley-Face Nails Are One of This Year's Top Nail Trends—Here's How to Wear the Look

woman with smiley face manicure

@hollyfalconenails for BYRDIE

After a year like 2020, it's safe to say that, collectively, we all need as much positivity in our lives as possible. While we can't control what happens in the world at large, we can take steps to make our daily lives a bit more cheerful. Whether it's practicing daily gratitude, journaling each morning, or simply appreciating days spent in cozy loungewear, there are plenty of ways to bring smiles to our faces. Another way? To literally put smiley faces on our nails. Yes, really. According to Pinterest's 2021 trend reports, smiley-face nails are on the rise—and one look at social media and we can see why.

While Harry Styles was one of the first major celebs to rock the nail look, Gigi Hadid, Rita Ora, and Zendaya are just a few of the others who have since shown their emotions on their nails. And now, thanks to endless inspiration on Instagram, you can too. To help you find the ultimate smiley-face nail look for your style, we rounded up 20-plus happy manis to help lift your mood and elevate your style. Check them out below!

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One Love Smileys

Jamaicans know a thing or two about spreading the happiest vibes. With these one-love-inspired smiley face nails, you can keep the vibe going. 

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Jelly Smileys

See-through jelly nails meet holographic smileys, and just one peek already has us feeling happier. You too?

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Mismatch Emoji Nails

The mismatch trend is still going strong, so if you want to kill two birds with one stone (we really need a happier take on that phrase, huh?), consider this dreamy emoji nail sitch.

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Tie-Dye Smileys

Tie-dye smileys on one hand and rasta-inspired nails on the other? Ya, mon. 

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Two-Tone Smile Mani

We love these classic yellow smileys juxtaposed with matte black nails. Talk about a chic mismatch.

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Multicolored Smileys

Smileys in an ombré array? So cute!

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Classic Yellow Smileys

With one hand covered in smiley faces and the other in frowny faces, you can choose which fingers to display in your pics based on your mood on any given day. 

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Ombré Rainbow Smileys

Here’s another take on ombré smileys, only this time with ombré nails and ever-so-slightly shimmery smiles.

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Mix-and-Match Emoji Nails

We love a handful of different nail designs. This one not only has a smiley face but a smiley alien, too.

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Short Smiley Nails

The best part about the smiley trend? You don’t have to have long nails to rock the look.

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Electric Smiles

Three words: We are swooning. From the neon colors to the eye-catching designs, there’s so much to love about this happy lil' mani.

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Colorful Print Nails

These smiley face nails remind us of a picnic on a sunny day. So cheerful.

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Neon Smiley Nails

So simple yet so fun. And guess what? With a neon yellow base and a toothpick or dotting tool dipped in black polish, you can easily bring this look to life.

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Bright Smile Nails

A skittles manicure covered in smiley faces? Does it get any happier than that?

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Muted Smile Nails

While many smiley face manicures are brightly colored, you can create just as cheery a nail look using more muted tones. Case in point? This beachy take on the trend.

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Creative Rainbow Smile Nails

We are nothing short of obsessed with this rainbow manicure. Instead of covering each matte nail in smiles, they deemed the yellow nail was the best fit. So fitting—and so easy to re-create.

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Happy/Sad Nails

It’s never all smiles. Part of feeling happy is also knowing what it feels like to be sad. That’s why we love these simple happy/sad nails, which are a fun DIY. Just dip a toothpick in the color of your choice to create stripes on each nail, and then paint a yellow circle with eyes and a mouth using black nail polish.

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Simple Smile Nails

Another simple nail look? This milky mani that has various colors of smiles, all of which can be easily re-created using dotting tools and toothpicks.

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Colorful Emoji Nails

Another emoji-filled mani capturing our heart. We love that this one employs evil eyes, hearts, and lots of color.

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Matte Smiley Nails

Matte smiley face nails are fun, too. This one might just require a professional’s help given the fine lines.

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Bright Yellow Smiley Nails

You can never go wrong with bright yellow polish when it comes to the smiley-face nail trend. We don’t know about you, but we can't help but smile at these cuties.

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'90s-Inspired Smiley Nails

Smileys are oh-so ’90s, and this mani that clearly states ’97 proves it that much more. Plus, cow print? We dig it.

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Holographic Smiley Nails

Holographic ombré glitter makes the perfect backdrop for smiley faces. Food for thought, especially since ombré glitter nails are on the rise.

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Smiley French Tips

You can create a seriously happy mani without putting smileys all over each nail. Just look at this cute French silhouette.

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Smiling Stilettos

This itty-bitty smiley makes us smile big. Plus, the pastel nails, stars, and cow-print designs? We’re calling it ’90s-meets-modern-day.

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Simple Smiles

No time to create a super-detailed nail look? Simply dip a toothpick in a different-color nail polish for each nail and your smiles will look equally as exuberant, only more minimalist in design.

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Mini Smileys

No matter the size of your smileys, the impact will be the same: a happy little mani you'll smile at whenever you look at it.

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