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.

Rocky has been pictured on Instagram sporting various kinds of nail art. Styles include eyes, flames, American flags, and yellow/black warning tape. Most recently, the artist's nails were outfitted with nail stickers in Gucci's "Life of a Rockstar" campaign, too.

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 nail art for beginners.

Nail Stickers

Nail Art Stickers

Nail Art Stickers

$9

Careflection

Buy at amazon

Nail stickers are a quick fix to dressing your nails up with no need for a steady hand or drying time. This pack will allow you to recreate Harry Styles' smiley nails above. What's more, if you're not ready for varnish yet, stickers are a nice entry point into the world of nail art.

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.

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

+22+ Scented Nail Lacquer

+22+ Scented Nail Lacquer

$205

Chrome Hearts

Buy at Selfridges & Co.

If it feels like you see the Chrome Hearts cross wherever you go nowadays, prepare yourself. Yes, Chrome Hearts even does nail varnish. You'll probably want to carry this with you so that you can put it in clear view when you apply a new coat. At $205 it's worth getting every cent's worth.

Nail Colour Polish

Nail Colour Polish

$25

Gucci

Buy at Selfridges & Co.

Gucci pastel heaven. This turquoise varnish should bring a pop of calming color to the darker seasons.

Nontoxic Nail Polish

Nontoxic Nail Polish

$10

Fluide

Free Shipping On Orders Over $50

Free Shipping On Orders Over $50

Buy at Urban Outfitters

If you're only just stepping into the world of nail art, dropping $200 on nail polish might be a step too far. If you want to test the waters first, this non-toxic nail polish is a good place to start.

Top Coat

Top Coat

Top Coat

$13

Cirque Colors

Free Shipping On Orders Over $50

Free Shipping On Orders Over $50

Buy at Urban Outfitters

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

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

Swipe Left Acetone-Free Nail Polish Wipes

Swipe Left Acetone-Free Nail Polish Wipes

$12

Alleyoop

Free Domestic Shipping & Return

Free Domestic Shipping & Return

Buy at Nordstrom

Okay, so maybe you don't have time to sit down with a cotton pad and thoughtfully remove your nail polish. These handy wipes from Alleyoop will do the job if you're on the go.

Cuticle Oil

Cuticle Protection & Repair Set

Cuticle Protection & Repair Set

from $39

Deborah Lippmann

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

Do not ignore your cuticles. The cuticle is the border between your nail and finger and it gets a battering in day-to-day life, especially if you don't look after it. This Deborah Lippmann protection & repair set will keep your cuticles in order and perfectly hydrated.

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