My Birthday Is Coming Up, so I Asked Celebrity Nail Artists for Design Ideas

Like most folks out there, I give myself a free *extra AF* pass on my birthday. It's the one day a year that I can truly go over the top and no one can really say a thing about it (thank you, based birthday gods). Something I struggle with, however, is finding what to wear on this special day—and I'm not just talking about clothes. My birthday is next week (the big 3-0), and of course, the first thing I did was proceed to Google "birthday nail designs" to get ideas for my celebratory manicure. I didn't find much I was inspired by and thus, this article was born. I decided to tap three nail artists for some fresh ideas.

"For birthday nails, usually everyone wants designs that are a bit more special and personal to themselves," says LeChat Nails Educator and nail artist Hemi Park. "For example, astrological sign-inspired mani or hand-painted favorite characters (like Disney) can be typical, or vacation destination-inspired designs have also been popular. I usually recommend going bold with color choices or patterns on shorter nails. Seeing current trends, choosing reflective glitters and French tip nails with bold accents can really make your nails pop. They're also super fun to wear while celebrating your birthday week or month."

That statement alone gave me a plethora of inspo, but Park actually didn't stop there. "Any designs with exciting elements like thermal or reflective glitter polish [are great]. My favorite is the LeChat Nails Sky Dust Collection, which is absolutely wonderful for party season as well. Especially for the season of fun photo sessions, I recommend trying out reflective glitter on the nails because those glitters stand out under bright lighting and camera flash. I also personally love incorporating reflective glitters in a plaid design to add little glee." 

For more design ideas, keep on scrolling! There's something for every birthday queen.


Frosted Gloss
(Image credit: @themaniclub)

I love how subtle this creamy nail glaze is. It definitely still adds birthday-level shimmer but isn't too over the top. It's for those who like more of an understated birthday look.


Ultra Platinum
(Image credit: @naglarbynattis)

Maximalists, on the other hand, will appreciate this platinum look by nail artist Nathalie Hammar. All of her designs are so intricate and incredible, but this is one she wholeheartedly backs for a birthday celebration.


Champagne Shimmer
(Image credit: @themaniclub)

This shimmery rose-gold polish is easy to find and looks gorgeous for a birthday celebration. If you're on a budget this birthday season, don't worry, this one is easy to DIY. You can either buy a shimmer-infused polish like ILNP Juliette Holographic Nail Polish ($10) or opt for a similar shade and paint a sparkly top coat over it. Easy peasy and maybe only requires a steady hand.


Rouge Red French Tip
(Image credit: @nails_of_la)

Celebrity nail artist Brittney Boyce loves a thick, rouge red french tip if you're looking to do something fun but simple. Personally, I'd go for a longer tip on this one to make it pop a bit more, but the red alone looks sophisticated and complements a birthday LBD.


Gold Embellishments
(Image credit: @nails_of_la)

No polish? No problem! If you're on a time crunch or simply aren't good at painting your own nails, Boyce recommends trying her Nails of LA Decals ($8) to add a little flair in record time.


Metallic Gold
(Image credit: @naglarbynattis)

Nothing screams celebration more than this polished gold chrome look. Hammar touts it as one of her top designs for a birthday. It's chic, isn't too loud, and looks great in photos.


Butterfly Tips
(Image credit: @naglarbynattis)

These butterfly tips by Hammar are stunning. They're definitely not easy to replicate at home, though. Screenshot and save for your pre-birthday salon visit.


Hot Pink French With Embellishments
(Image credit: @imarninails)

Barbiecore nails are definitely hot right now. Opt for a hot-pink French with an ornament or two to get it on the trend.


Negative Space Floral Designs
(Image credit: @sugarplumfairyfingers)

Park loves a floral design with negative space for such occasions. It's soft, intricate, and a bit of a traditionally feminine design.


Rainbow Fade
(Image credit: @imarninails)

A good rainbow nail will definitely stand out on your birthday. Turn it into a fade and you have a totally unique design that everyone will compliment you on.


Ice Cream Cone Nails
(Image credit: @nails_of_la)

Boyce's ice cream cone swirl design is so cute for a festive dinner. You can switch up the colors if you like, but this pink, red, and yellow combo definitely says cupcakes and ice cream to me.


Checkerboard Designs
(Image credit: @sugarplumfairyfingers)

Park also loves this bold checkerboard design. Not only does it incorporate a few brighter hues, but it also adds a bit of sparkle with a couple of diamonds.


Pastel French
(Image credit: @imarninails)

I'm a sucker for pastel nails and this interesting take on a slanted French tip with those shades is so perfect for a birthday.


Glitter Tips
(Image credit: @naglarbynattis)

Glitter tips look gorgeous for any occasion, but Hammar loves this glitter fade for a birthday. Adding a milky white base shade with glitter tips makes it stand out even more.


Mystic Moon Nails
(Image credit: @imarninails)

The mystics out there will appreciate this unique design. Moons, stars, and diamonds make me think of astrology—the perfect complement to birthday nails.

Nail Artist–Approved Birthday Polishes

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Shawna Hudson
Associate Beauty Editor

Shawna Hudson has worked in editorial for over six years, with experience covering entertainment, fashion, culture, celebrities, and her favorite topic of all, beauty. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in journalism and has written for other publications such as Bustle, The Zoe Report, Byrdie, Elite Daily, Mane Addicts, and more. She is currently an associate beauty editor at Who What Wear and hopes to continue feeding her (completely out-of-control) beauty obsession as long as she can. Stay up to date on her latest finds on Instagram @shawnasimonee.