Getty Images / Victor Boyko / Freier Fotograf

For many guys, nail art is an arcane world of creative expression.

Back in the day, a dab of black nail polish was used by punk subculture to rebel against societal expectations. Fast forward to the early 2010s, and Snoop Dogg was championing a more opulent vibe with some intricate weed-leaf designs on top of his perfectly manicured French tips.

More recently, especially in the world of fashion, nail art is becoming more prominent thanks to the likes of A$AP Rocky, who has been at the vanguard of the expressive fingernail flex for a while now.

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NIGHT OUT IN DA CITY 😎🤘🏾

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Rocky has been pictured on Instagram sporting various kinds of nail art. Styles include eyes, flames, American flags, and yellow/black warning tape.

These designs aren’t chosen at random. They have been pulled from the wider range of iconography that Rocky has already worked into his personal style, i.e. his penchant for Americana and the hazardous album art from his 2018 record Testing. 

If you don’t actually have a dedicated nail artist on speed dial (such as Harry Styles above) we’ve perused the internet for the highest-quality stick-on nail art for beginners.

Art Deco

Nail Sticker Pack

Nail Sticker Pack

$8

Deco Miami

Buy at Urban Outfitters

You can easily recreate the eyeball nail seen above with the Deco Miami nail sticker set. This set gets bonus points for being vegan and cruelty-free.

Smiles All Around

Nail Art Sticker Pack

Nail Art Sticker Pack

$20

ONNU

Buy at Urban Outfitters

Maybe you need your nails to match the likes of Cactus Plant Flea Market, or maybe you’re obsessed with the strange origins of the smiley face? You could also cut out the smile and turn it into a frown if that’s your vibe.

Colors

Recently, Virgil Abloh has been seen sporting brightly-painted nails in various shades of purple, green, and gray at Paris Fashion Week and in recent Instagram posts.

Abloh’s approach to nail art is much simpler and can be an easy way to change up your whole look as long as you have a steady enough hand to apply the polish.

Begin with a base coat and let it dry. Apply the colored polish in straight thick lines starting from the cuticle and brushing outwards, and don’t be afraid to do multiple layers to make sure the color comes through. Finish with a top coat and remember you can speed up the drying process by running your nails under cold water to set it.

Getty Images / Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Here’s some colors to get you started, and for everything else you need to know about maintaining healthy nail habits, head here.

Top Coat

In a Rush Top Coat Nail Polish

In a Rush Top Coat Nail Polish

$11

ELLA + MILA

FREE SHIPPING

FREE SHIPPING

Buy at pacsun

This is for the final stage. The top coat will keep your nails looking fresh and shiny as well as help your color to stay on for longer. You can also use it to correct any blurry mishaps made during application.

Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish Remover

$12

ELLA + MILA

FREE SHIPPING

FREE SHIPPING

Buy at pacsun

ELLA + MILA’s nail polish remover is made with Vitamin A, C, and E as well as Lavender Essential Oil to gently remove nail polish for when you need to be somewhere where lime green nails aren’t appropriate.

Nail Polish Remover Wipes

Nail Polish Remover + Hand Cleanser Cloth

Nail Polish Remover + Hand Cleanser Cloth

$29

tenoverten

SUBSCRIBE FOR 10% OFF

SUBSCRIBE FOR 10% OFF

Buy at Verishop

Okay, so maybe you don’t have time to sit down with a cotton pad and thoughtfully remove your nail polish. These handy anti-bacterial non-toxic wipes from tenoverten will do the job if you’re on the go.

Buffering

Memphis Nail Salon Buffer Set

Memphis Nail Salon Buffer Set

$8

Wild and Wolf

FREE SHIPPING

FREE SHIPPING

Buy at pacsun

This miniature nail kit will keep your digits tidy with a double-sided nail buffer and a cuticle pusher to clean up the edges.

Cuticle Oil

Rose Oil

Rose Oil

from $26

tenoverten

(Available at 2 Merchants)
(Available at 2 Merchants)

This Rose Oil from tenoverten contains vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals to help strengthen your nails as you massage the oil in and around the cuticles.

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Words by Max Grobe
Associate Fashion Editor