We Can't Stop Staring at These 20 Photogenic Red Nail Designs

There are only a few things that we can be sure of in this life, and one of them is that red lacquered nails are utterly timeless (and they always will be). Maybe that's because they seamlessly fit every kind of outfit and occasion. Really, though. Try to think of something that wouldn't be made better with a fresh red manicure. We bet you can't. After all, we count on our favorite red nail polishes to elevate our effortless athleisure sets just as much as we count on them to add a sultry sort of elegance to our favorite cocktail dresses. We know they look just as appropriate when worn to a long, drawn-out dinner as they do when worn to an endless barrage of meetings at the office. Red nails are, without a doubt, considered classic for a reason. 

Just because we have a deep and unadulterated love for red nail polish doesn't mean we always stick with a standard red manicure, though. We like to spice it up every now and then with a fresh and innovative design. For that, we turn to Instagram. (Where else?) Keep scrolling to see 20 photogenic red nail designs we've saved from some of our most favorite nail accounts.


(Image credit: @nailartbyqueenie)

We love a combination of red and pink—always have, always will. 


(Image credit: @betina_goldstein)

Who would have guessed a deck of cards could turn into such a photogenic manicure?


(Image credit: @oliveandjune)

The bright-red nail polish is great, but the drops of gold are what really make this manicure.


(Image credit: @hollyfalconenails)

You don't need long nails to sport a design. Just look to these polka dots for inspiration. 


(Image credit: @imarninails)

Step one: Grab a bottle of cherry-red nail polish. Step two: Paint this negative-space design. 


(Image credit: @paragonnails)

You can never go wrong with a classic red French manicure.


(Image credit: @nailartbyqueenie)

Or kick it up a notch and alternate between French tips and fully painted nails.


(Image credit: @imarninails)

A classic French manicure with bright-red cherries gives us '50s vibes in the best way.


(Image credit: @hollyfalconenails)

Sure, it's not technically a design, but we couldn't skip this fresh see-through set. 


(Image credit: @betina_goldstein)

This '60s-inspired manicure is practically begging to be worn with bold eyeliner and big lashes. 


(Image credit: @nailartbyqueenie)

This is proof that manicures don't have to match. 


(Image credit: @imarninails)

Squiggle designs afford nail-art newbies room for error. 


(Image credit: @varnishlane)

This is your sign to paint red asymmetric shapes over a base of beige.


(Image credit: @nails_of_la)

This "shadow French" design deserves a place on your Instagram feed. 

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Kaitlyn McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor

Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.