Black and red nail polish colors complement each other perfectly for creating eye-catching nail art designs. If you’re looking for inspiration on ways to combine these dramatic shades, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Black and red nail designs look striking together, allowing you to create anything from simple colorblocking to intricate gothic motifs and floral embellishments.
No matter your skill level, you can achieve a stylish manicure by trying out ombre, marbling, matte textures, or nail art like dots and geometric shapes.
In this comprehensive guide, we will provide 25+ ideas for black and red nail designs ranging from beginner to advanced. You’ll discover different application techniques, popular motifs to recreate, tips for choosing flattering colors, and lots more to help you get salon-worthy results at home.
Choosing the Right Red and Black Nail Polish
Vampy Shades of Red
When it comes to rocking red and black nails, choosing the right shade of red is key. Deep blood red and burgundy shades are very popular for this edgy nail look. These vampy reds pair perfectly with flat black polish.
Go for darker, richer reds as opposed to bright candy apple shades for a more dramatic effect. OPI’s Malaga Wine and Essie’s Berry Naughty are two great options.
Classic Black Polish
The black polish you choose is just as important! A quality black polish like OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark or Essie’s Licorice is essential. You want an opaque, creamy black that will provide full coverage on the nails. Avoid black polishes that are too thin or streaky.
A budget-friendly drugstore option like Wet n Wild’s Black Creme is also a solid choice. Matte blacks are trendy, but a classic glossy black works beautifully too.
Matte, Glossy or Metallic Finishes
When pairing red and black nail polish, you have a few finish options. Matte red and black nails are very edgy and modern. If you prefer more shine, go for glossy reds and blacks. Metallic blacks and shimmers like OPI’s I’m Not Really a Waitress provide a fun twist.
Mixing up the textures and finishes adds visual interest. Don’t forget a quality top coat to smooth everything out and help extend the wear of your manicure.
Red and black nails are a bold, dramatic style that is perfect for fall and winter. With the right polish shades and finishes, you can create an eye-catching manicure that is vampy and elegant. Have fun playing with different red and black color combinations and patterns to find a look that you love!
Quick and Easy Black and Red Nail Designs
Ombre or Colorblocking
Ombre and colorblocking are super chic ways to rock black and red nails (Yaaas, queen!). Start with a base coat of red, and use a makeup sponge to carefully apply black polish from the tips upwards for an ombre fade.
Or paint your nails in diagonal, triangular, or chevron shapes in red and black for a colorblocked look. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get a stylish black and red mani that will have people asking where you got it done!
Nail art marbling with black and red polish results in a mesmerizing, painterly design. To marble, apply a base coat first. Then, place a few drops of black and red polish in a cup of room temperature water. Swirl gently to mix the colors. Dip your nail into the polish water and voila!
With this technique, each nail will have its own unique pattern. Marbling is super fun and creates abstract nail art that looks salon-worthy.
Polka dots are a classic! For scattered black dots on a red base, use a toothpick or dotting tool to gently dot on black polish. For red dots on black, flip the colors. You can keep the dots teeny-tiny or vary the sizes for interest.
Dot a heart or smiley face on your accent nail for an extra cute touch. Polka dots are simple yet playful.
Chevron nail tips involve painting angular stripes on the ends of your nails. Use tape to create clean lines and alternating colors. Paint the base red, then tape off chevron stripes and paint them black. The striking high contrast of black and red chevrons is bold and beautiful.
Chevrons are fun and trendy.
One of the easiest black and red nail ideas is simple striping – just paint alternating nails in each color! This style packs a big visual impact with minimal effort. Or get creative with the striping pattern – try two nails red, one black, repeat; or vertical stripes; or checkerboard stripes.
The possibilities are endless. Striping looks super chic in these fiery shades.
Adding Eye-Catching Embellishments
Gold Studs and Jewels
Adding some bling to your nails is a great way to make them pop! Gold studs and colorful jewels are a fun embellishment that can elevate any manicure. Place a few studs on an accent nail, or create dazzling nail art by clustering them together.
From dainty crystals to bold gemstones, the options are endless. This is a playful way to decorate short nails, long nails, squared shapes or coffin shapes. Just be sure to seal them on properly with a top coat so they don’t fall off!
Lace nail designs are so delicate and feminine! You can find pre-made lace stickers, or get creative and paint the lace effect using a dotting tool or fine brush. Go for a French lace tip, or cover the whole nail for an all-over lacy look.
Black lace on light colors like pink, white or nude creates such a pretty contrast. Or go for red or burgundy lace overlays on black – very dramatic and vampy! Adding pearls or rhinestones on top of the lace detailing doubles the glam factor.
What’s more classic than pretty painted flowers on your nails? Floral motifs like roses, daisies, lilies or cherry blossoms never go out of style. You can keep it simple with a single bloom, or get intricate with bouquet nail art. The options are endless!
Go for an elegant look with neutrals and pastels for spring and summer. Or get bold with dark fall hues like burgundy, plum and hunter green for autumn floral nails. Another idea is to layer different floral polishes and textures – like a lace rose decal with purple glitter leaves, so dreamy!
A touch of sparkle takes any manicure to the next level! Rhinestones and crystals can be used to add glitz to an accent nail, or placed in intricate designs across multiple nails. For minimalist chic, try a diagonal stripe of pave crystals on a nude base. Feeling flashy?
Cover your whole nail in bling for mega watt glamour! Here are some dazzling rhinestone nail ideas to try:
- Single large rhinestone on the ring finger
- Clustered crystals on just your pointer and middle nails
- Light encrusted French tip with clear or colored stones
- Geometric shapes like stripes, zig zags or chevron patterns in pave rhinestones
- Place colorful jewels at the base of each nail near your cuticles
The placement possibilities are infinite. And don’t forget – rhinestones look amazing on short nails too! Just seal them on properly with a glossy top coat to ensure maximum sparkle. With so many sizes, colors and shapes to work with, everyone can create a crystalline mani that reflects their personal style.
Advanced Black and Red Nail Art
Negative Space Designs
Negative space nail art is a big trend right now. The idea is to leave parts of the nail bare while creating cool designs with the black and red polish. This makes the artwork really stand out. Some ideas include using striping tape to create geometric shapes, chevrons, or crisscross patterns.
Red and black french tips with negative space are also very striking.
If you’re looking for an edgy manicure, geometric shapes in black and red can’t be beat. Some ideas are red and black checkerboard nails, triangular points, abstract squares and rectangles. Go for an ombre look by making the shapes lighter at the cuticle and darker towards the tip. So trendy!
Channel your inner goth with black and red nail ideas featuring skulls, bats, spiders, or other creepy motifs. These dark manicures are perfect for Halloween or just embracing your quirky side. Some creative ways to implement the gothic theme include red drips like blood over black nails, distressed textures, or even 3D embellishments like miniature coffins or spiders.
What’s better than red and black? Red, black, and sparkles! Incorporate a pop of shine into your manicure by adding glitter tips. Use red or black glitter on the tips for an ombre effect, or try alternating between the two colors on different nails for a fun and fiery look.
Adding glitter takes these colors to a whole new level.
Chrome powder is so hot in nail art right now. Turn your red and black manicure into a showstopper by adding pops of metallic. Paint on some black striping tape to create negative space shapes, then fill them in with red chrome powder applied with a dense brush.
The result is so sleek, reflective, and just plain cool. Chrome red and black nails will get you tons of compliments!
Caring for Black and Red Manicures
Use a Top Coat
Applying a quality top coat is crucial for protecting your beautiful black or red manicure. The top coat creates a barrier between your nail polish and the elements, helping to prevent chipping, scratching, and fading. Choose a fast-drying top coat formulated for dark nail polish.
Seche Vite and Essie Good To Go are top choices. Apply a fresh top coat every 2-3 days to keep your color flawless.
Take Breaks Between Dark Colors
Repeatedly painting your nails dark shades can cause staining of the nail plate. Give your nails a break by alternating dark polishes with lighter nudes or soft pinks. Taking a brief hiatus allows the nails to “breathe” and recover their natural clarity.
For serious nail staining, consult your manicurist about professional treatments that can gently extract deep pigment.
Remove Stains Gently
If your nails develop yellowish stains from red or black polish, refrain from aggressive scrubbing. Filing, buffing or bleach soaks can thin and dry out nails. For superficial stains, try a gentle nail stain remover like Soy Nail Polish Remover.
For deeper stains, apply a blend of lemon juice and baking soda. Let it fizz on nails 2-3 minutes before rinsing.
Try a Nail Repair Treatment
Between dark manicures, treat your nails to strengthening formulas. Look for products containing niacin, biotin, collagen, or keratin for rebuilding weak, damaged nails. Prevent peeling and splitting by massaging vitamin E or coconut oil into nails and cuticles nightly.
Keep nails moisturized to better resist staining.
Black and red nails are a match made in heaven. With so many possible design combinations, you can customize a look that suits your personal style – whether you prefer something bold and graphic or dark and romantic.
By playing with different textures like matte, shiny, and glitter, plus embellishments ranging from delicate florals to edgy studs, your black and red mani will make a dramatic statement. Match your mood and occasion by creating quick simple colorblocking, pretty patterns like polka dots, or more advanced negative space art.
As you experiment with these elegant gothic color pairings, use the tips provided to choose the most flattering shades and make your manicure last. With a little practice, you’ll be able to do professional-looking black and red nails from the comfort of your own home.