3 Ways To Wear The Negative Space Nail Art Trend

It's nail art that shows a little skin.

There were a lot of out of the box beauty looks at of this past New York Fashion Week. (I mean, who can forget Rodarte’s pierced eyebrows?) But what caught my eye was the nails. Instead of intricate, complicated nail designs, we got a taste of the negative space manicure. In other words: leaving a part of your bare nail showing.

This may sound fancy and difficult, but I promise it's not as hard as, say, painting a donut on your dominant hand. It's actually super easy, just look at the three spring 2015 NYFW nail looks I've recreated below.

The hardest part is waiting for your nails to dry, I promise!

Black-And-White Negative Space Nails

Bold black-and-white geometric shapes took hold at Kye Spring 2015, and for a moment, everything was right in the world.

Supplies: Top and base coat, black and white nail polish, and stripping tape (I substituted French manicure stencils).

STEP 1. Prep nails by filing, buffing, and applying a base coat.

STEP 2. Add striping tape or stencils in the different designs shown, making sure to leave the thumb untouched.

STEP 3. Apply one to two coats of either black or white polish, depending on the finger. Paint thumbs white and, once dry, add stencils. Then paint black polish to the tips and allow substantial time to dry.

STEP 4. Remove stencils and finish by sealing nails with a top coat.


Simply Striped Negative Space Nails

Zoya’s Alicia Torello created a neutral toned negative space mani for Creatures of Comfort. And while the lighter shades are superb for spring, I opted for darker shades for right now.

Supplies: The tools required are a top and base coat, two like-colored nail polishes in different shades, and striping tape or stencils.

STEP 1. Prep nails and apply a base coat.

STEP 2. Once dry, add stencils closer to the bottom of each nail as pictured.

STEP 3. Apply one to two coats of the lighter shade to the cuticle and one to two coats of the darker color at the tips. Leave nails to dry.

STEP 4. Clean up any polish around the cuticle, remove stencils, and apply a top coat.


Reverse Half-Moon Negative Space Nails

Lead nail artist for OPI Miss Pop put a spin on the traditional cut-out half-moon manicure for Charlotte Ronson's spring 2015 Runway.

Supplies: This tutorial requires a top and base coat, berry nail polish, and stencils to create a curved line. (Striping tape is a little harder to use for this one.)

STEP 1. Prep nails and apply a base coat.

STEP 2. Add stencils much in the same way as in the second tutorial.

STEP 3. Apply one to two coats of berry polish to the cuticle of the ring and index fingers. For the pinky, middle, and thumbs, paint lacquer to the tips.

STEP 4. Once dry, remove stencils and seal nails with a high gloss top coat.

See, easy as pie.

And if you want more inspiration for negative nail art, check out the half-moon crescents from Zimmermann’s 2015 runway, or the silver moons at Cushnie et Ochs.

  • What do you think of this new negative space nail art? Does it have lasting power, or is it just another fashion buzzword?
  • What other cool negative space nail art designs have you seen? Pics in the comments, please!