Japanese nail art designs come in a variety of looks including traditional Japanese art and the very popular modern Anime art. Being noticed and standing out in a crowd is a very important part of the fashion trends in Japan and doing nail art is just one outlet for this style. They love to cram in as many items as possible on to their nails for some of the Japanese nail art trends.
Let’s Take a Look at the Fashionable Japanese Nail Art Ideas
1. Gems, Decals and More
When it comes to Japanese nail art, you can throw the “K.I.S.S. rule” out the window. “K.I.S.S.” stands for “Keep It Simple, Sweetheart”. One popular trend is over the top, jam packed nail art. The crazier the nail art the more they seem to like it! The rule that seems to apply to this Japanese nail art style is put as much stuff as possible on your nails. The photo above shows Japanese nail art gel done in stiletto shaped nails.
They have used a pink polish for the base color and then stuck on many gems, with heart, bow and flower decals as well. To stick these items to your nails you will need a couple of layers of clear polish or your top coat. While the polish is still wet you stick on the gems or decals where you want them and gently press them down to stay in place. Once all your pieces are stuck in the wet polish you let them dry. The smaller or flatter decorations can have a layer of top coat brushed over them to help keep them from falling off.
This is another example of the Japanese nail art style that uses decorations. This set of nails includes the four card suits of hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds among the items stuck on her nails. The background nail polish is done in a variety of colours and styles some of the nails are painted plain while others have a checkered pattern. These nails also have a tiny charm bracelet chain attached to two of the nails that runs across the fingers. If you are going to copy this look you might want to use the charm chain on your less dominant hand for fewer problems, as this would limit your hands movements.
2. Japanese Art
This Japanese nail art is a mix of different styles done in a number of polish colours. The nails themselves have been filed into a Katana sword shape for a very stylish appearance that looks simply gorgeous paired with the traditional Kimono. Every nail has been painted in a unique, fun way to add a modern touch to this time honoured custom of wearing a Kimono.
3. Traditional Japanese Art
Japanese nail art includes using traditional style Japanese art to create beautiful nails. These nails have been formed into a long stiletto shape using Japanese nail art gel. They have been painted with a pink polish for the background colour. Cherry blossoms are painted on all the nails and Japanese characters have been painted onto a couple of nails. One of the nails features a Pagoda.
The inspiration for this Japanese nail art was taken from this adorable, little Ningyo Kabuki Japanese Doll. The nails were painted grey for the background colour to match the colour of the doll’s dress. The design of the flowers and fan were recreated onto the nails in black, white and red polishes. You can use any Japanese art or item you like for inspiration to create new nail art ideas.
Another traditional style for Japanese nail art has been created on these nails, using the Japanese flag for inspiration. The pattern of the flag has been used as a sunrise in the background with the silhouette of a Bonsai tree in the foreground spread across all the nails. If this is a style that you would like to try, then look for images of the Japanese flag and of Bonsai trees online that you can copy.
What you Need to Recreate This Look:
- Base coat, Top coat
- White, Red and Black Nail Polish
- Nail Art Brushes of varying sizes
Step by Step Guide:
1. Apply base coat onto your nails to protect them and help to prevent chipping of your polish. Allow this to dry thoroughly.
2. Paint white polish over all of your nails. You will need 2 or 3 layers of the white to get the best results. Let these completely dry.
3. Using the red polish on your middle and ring fingers paint a half circle over both nails to create one sunset effect. Your nails should now look like the top half of the Japanese flag. Give this time to dry.
4. Using the black polish create a short, fat, crooked tree trunk that slants to one side as though the tree has been blown by the wind over decades into it’s current form. When you are done with the trunk carefully paint in a few branches that stretch over all four fingernails. Then add puffs of leaves in a stylized way in various places along the top of the branches.
5. Once your Bonsai tree is dry completely. Carefully go over your nails with top coat to protect your work and to prevent chipping. Be sure your art is dry and be careful when applying the top coat as red polish can sometimes smudge under the top coat and ruin your work. If your red polish is prone to smearing then you may want to skip this step.
4. Cute and Sweet Nails
Cutesy, child like nail art is big trend in Japan also. Some adult and teenage women like to dress up as dolls, school girls and anime characters and do their nails to match their overall appearance. Sometimes they just do their nails in this fashion. This Japanese nail art features lots of decorations in pastel, baby colors and cute little designs. These nails have stars and boy and girl angels placed on them in a variety of pastel colors. The base color under these is a pastel purple or lilac color.
These nails are sprinkled with a variety of sweet treats of cookies, donuts and ice cream cones. The panda bears looks like he’s got more goodies than he can handle. To complete this look the nail tips are done in a pink glitter with gems added for extra sparkle.
5. FIMO Decorations
This Japanese nail art is made with Fimo. Fimo is little clay formed canes that are created in fruit, flowers, shapes or animated faces. You can buy the canes and cut them yourself or buy previously cut Fimo slices. The nails above have been adorned with a variety of Fimo slices and gems over a pink glitter polish. To apply these to your nail you need to apply a couple of layers of top coat and stick these on while the polish is still wet. You can then apply another layer of top coat over all of it to help to keep the Fimo to stick on and stay there. You cannot apply top coat over larger pieces and any decals that do not stick down firmly to the nail.
This photo shows a variety of fruit, flowers, character and shapes like stars and bows made into Fimo canes. These canes can be sliced as thickly or thinly as you want. These are very popular in Japan and can give you many different ideas to create Japanese nail art designs.
6. Japanese Nail Art Stickers
Japanese nail art can be created using stickers or water decal stickers. Japanese nail art stickers can be small stickers that can be applied to anywhere on your nail or one sticker to cover the entire nail. Stickers usually come in sets, so you can mix and match however you like. The set shown in the photo above is of traditional Japanese art of a Koi pond.
This set of Japanese nail art stickers depicts traditional Japanese art style of Geishas in various poses. These stickers cover the entire nail and can be placed over any base nail polish colour that you choose. It would be best to choose a pale colour that will emphasize the stickers better.
Japanese nail art stickers come in many varieties, not just traditional Japanese art. The sticker set above is an example of cute Anime style kittens and items that can be placed individually onto your nails in any design you create. Stickers can usually only be used once and some of them may not stick well to your nails, so don’t be surprised if they don’t last more than a day. You may wish to keep them for a special occasion rather than everyday use.
7. Cherry Blossoms
What you will need the following items to copy the Cherry blossoms:
- Base coat, Top Coat
- Pale blue or green polish for the background
- Dark brown, grey or black for the tree branches
- Light and dark pink or white for the flowers and buds
- Dotting tool and striping brush
For a step by step guide on how to do this design please watch the video:
8. Fake or Artificial Nails
Not only do the Japanese love to stick things on to their natural nails, but they also love to wear fake nails. They don’t mind if it is obvious that the nails are artificial and will apply them so that other people can tell they are wearing fake nails, as in the photo above. Using artificial nails allow them to paint and decorate the nails with Japanese nail art before they put them on. You can purchase fake nails that are plain so that you can create your own Japanese nail art or you can buy ones that have already been decorated.
This set of nails has been painted in a ying/yang style polka dot pattern with lots of items to clutter them including the famous Hello Kitty heads. You can buy fake nail sets like this online or in some stores. The fun thing about buying plain artificial nails is that you can decorate them any way you want. Fake nails can be trimmed and filed down to fit if they are too large for you. Artificial nail kits usually come with a variety of sizes for the nails, so that you can find the ones that fit you best.
9. Anime Nails
Anime is very popular in North America, so it follows that having nail art done in this style is trendy, too. To make Anime nails choose your favourite Anime show or movie for inspiration. The better your art talent the more elaborate you make your nail art. If you aren’t very artistic you can try simple designs to represent your favourite Anime. The set of nails painted in the photo above are from the Anime titled “Evangelion”. Many nail artists use acrylic paint rather than nail polish to do more intricate art as it is much easier to work with. Painting the detail of the characters using nail polish would take a lot of patience and be very time consuming to be sure the colours dried completely before adding the next colour.
Sailor Moon is one of the Japanese Anime series that was edited and dubbed into a cartoon for North American children’s television and is very popular with young adults today. Here is an example of a couple of nails done with Sailor Moon characters. If you artistic talent is good enough, try copying your favourite Anime to create this style of Japanese nail art. There are lots of good ideas you can get by searching for pictures online.
Japanese nail art can be achieved in multiple ways. The rule seems to be the more cluttered your nails are the better! One thing is for sure they certainly have fun with their nail art! If you would like to give Japanese nail art a try start off with the cherry blossom pattern or one of the more traditional Japanese art patterns. If you are not shy try loading your nails with gems and stickers and items! The cuter the items the more Japanese your nail art will seem.