Fashion

10 nail designs with a clear base, whether you want colour or minimalism

Nail designs with a clear base can provide exactly the sort of chic middle ground between a manicure that’s bare, classic and minimal, and a manicure that’s fun, colourful and expressive. After all, simple doesn’t have to mean boring, and keeping the base clean means the design on top can really shine.

Carrying on the skinimalism trend that’s dominated makeup trends, a beautifully bare base can ensure your mani looks extra neat, clean and polished by focusing on healthy nails first, before layering them with loads of polish on top. But you can have a little fun with it too by incorporating dinky neon details, glam metallic accents or creating modern spins on classics like the Frenchie

Some are even simple enough to do yourself at home, even if you’re a nail novice. If not we’ve lined up our favourite designs to take with you on your next salon visit.

Here’s 10 nail designs with a clear base to save for your next mani. 

Corner Frenchie

Switch up the more classic half-moon French nail for a graphic corner Frenchie. It has all the elegance of the OG, but with a cool, modern twist.

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Squiggle nail

We never knew squiggles could look this chic. But on a sheer base with a clean black liquorice-coloured line design for contrast it manages to look elegant and edgy – a pretty delicious combo if you ask us.

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Rainbow tips

Neon nails sound loud, rather than low-key, but applied just to the tips in micro-Frenchie style, they provide a fun detail that’s bold but understated. We love

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Gold lines

This beautifully immaculate clear nail base helps to offset the gold line design perfectly. It’s a simple accent in classic shades that help to embellish nails, like adding minimal jewellery. And, it’s simple enough to do at home with the help of some nail tape which you can pick up on Amazon.

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Monochrome florals

If florals are usually too cutesy for you ditch pastels in favour of a monochrome design. This ’60s black and white floral is pretty, but tough and can upgrade a simple outfit without feeling fussy thanks to the minimal base.

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Reverse Frenchie

Flip the switch by inverting the half moon tip of your Frenchie, and have it hugging your cuticle instead. To make it feel extra modern, keep the design super slim and clean, and you can even switch up the classic white shade for a more spring-friendly coral or apricot.

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Cut-out

Negative-space designs work beautifully with a clear and neutral base. This graphic burgundy cut-out gives pattern without feeling too busy and the clean, crisp lines are elite.

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Accent nail

If you want to have a play with fun, cute elements but like to keep it feeling cool and grown-up, limit it to a single accent on one nail. Keep the rest pared back and minimal and it’ll look sweet but still super smart and stylish. 

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Cuffed cuticle

We love the simplicity of adding a tiny statement just at the base of your nail with this elegant cuffed design. Choose whatever shade you like, but this metallic aquamarine will look major for spring.

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Neon checkerboard

Keeping the base clear doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun on top. This cut-out checkerboard design in hi-vis neons is playful and fun without sacrificing one inch on style. We’re obsessed.

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For more from GLAMOUR’s Beauty Editor, Elle Turner, follow her on Instagram @elleturneruk