Best Nail Looks for Shorter Nails

Everyone has done it, tried a nail polish color and decided it doesn’t look good with their nail shape, length or even skin tone. That’s where we want to help, we have come up with a list of nail looks and colors that will suit your nail length! Today we are focusing on short nails, and when we say short we mean no longer than your finger.

Short doesn’t have to mean going halfway down your nail bed, we find that short nails often have a negative stigma. Believe it or not, having shorter nails actually gives you a lot more versatility in terms of nail looks and nail colors. Shorter nails are a lot more subtle, if you have long talon nails and want to wear a brightly colored manicure it can look a little bit much. The same goes for nail art, unless you are going for the totally OTT vibe with your longer nails, busy nail art looks a lot better on shorter nails.

Neutrals and Pastels-

While some naysayers think neutral and pastel polishes are boring or dull, we love them! They make your finger look slimmer and thinner by extending your finger line down your nail. When choosing a nude shade, try to choose a color one or two shades lighter than your skin tone to get the best match. Don’t go for a chalky or white polish! This does not look good on shorter nails. Some of your favourite pastels and neutrals are Essie ‘Worth the Wait’OPI ‘You’re Such a Budapest’ and Sinful Colors ‘Easy Going’.


Despite whay you may have heard, dark nail colors can and do look gorgeous on shorter nails. They draw more attention to the shape of your nail and can make your nail look longer than it actually is! If you are still nervous about painting your shorter nails with darker colors, leave 1mm from the edge of your cuticles. A few of our go-to darks for shorter nails are Essie ‘Bordeaux’OPI ‘Russian Navy’ and Sally Hansen ‘Pat on the Black’.

Nail Art-

Patterns and nail art look great on shorter nails. Especially cute patterns like dotted flowers or polka dots. Vertical stripes can help elongate the nails and provide lots of opportunity for nail art creativity!

French Manicures and Reverse French Manicures-

These look amazing on short nails, you can try them in any color or variety. Add glitter! Add patterns! Add more color! If you need any inspo check out our Pinterest board here!


Do you have shorter nails? Comment below with your go-to looks!

The Pedicure Team

Mette Jorgensen

Our Editor Mette is a fan of a glitter manicure, she can often be found pleading with her manicurist for just one more coat to achieve the ultimate sparkle. She's Australian so forgive her for occasionally writing in British English.

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