11 Negative Space Nails Cuz Negativity Can Be Good

by Liz Black

Normally I try to avoid negativity in all forms — from avoiding idiotic Internet trolls to not joining in with the pervasive pessimistic body talk — but there's a new trend that has totally got me seeing negative in a positive light. I'm talking about negative space nail art, a cool new beauty craze that utilizes clear polish or unpolished space to add depth and texture to any manicure.

Like a cutout dress for your nails, negative space designs show a sliver of skin for a tantalizing take on the traditional mani. By combining colored and clear polished designs on the same nail, it gives the appearance that the pigment is floating on your naked nails. After seasons of acid hues, 3D embellishments, and glitter-bombed blinged-out digits, negative space nail art allows you to dip a toe into a nail art trend that can be worn at even the most conservative of offices.

Although this trend can look tricky, it's actually one of the more easy DIYs out there since there are so many variations on the design. Start simple with a half-and-half mani that only uses polish on the top (or bottom) half of the nail, try an easy gradient design, break out the scotch tape to create your own cutout shapes, or, if you're truly talented (and posses a very steady hand), bust out your freehand skillz and draw designs directly onto your naked nails. Want some inspiration? Keep scrolling for some positively negative (space) nails!

1. Sci-Fi Glam

By sticking to bold black for contrast, the intricate details stand out even more against the clear background. The crystals add an extra dose of opulence and put a feminine touch on an edgier style.

2. Cool Colorblock

For a change on classic colorblocking, alternate lines of color and clear on a few accent nails. The gorgeous geometric design uses negative space to add depth and allows each shade to stand out on its own.

3. White Out

White polish gives any mani a fresh, clean look, and allows any negative space designs a chance to shine.

4. The New Nude

Keep things subtle by picking a hue that matches your skin tone. The dainty slivers of clear add depth and bring the mani from basic to banging.

5. French With A Twist

Change up a timeless French manicure by just dipping your tips in a dark color and keeping everything else clear.

6. Shape Up

Try different designs on every nail but keep it in the same shade, to make your look cohesive, yet unique.

7. Pop Art Perfection

Layer on the shapes for an optically-appealing design that maximizes the use of negative space.

8. Chic Chevron

White and black chevron has been done to death — add some zip to those infamous zigzags by using negative space as the contrasting color.

9. Trendy Two-Toned

Keep things simplistic with a half-and-half design that is almost reminiscent of a traditional French manicure.

10. Marvelous Moons

Polish your moons and your tips for a stunning striped style that is all about changing your perception.

11. Luxe Luster

Up your glitter game with an iridescent gradient that fades to clean and crisp clear.

Images: Liz Black; Amberivyxo, Cutieclesbyt, Nailplay, Sincitynails, Ericamartoncelebmanicurist, Brokenfairy07, Dallasbeautylounge, Palmakamilla, Prettyinpolishnails, Nailbarbeautylounge, Practicallypolished/Instagram