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A true classic, black and white will never go out of style. Black and white reminds us of a simpler time, of Hollywood in its heyday and watching I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show as a family in the evenings. While everything isn’t always black and white (pardon the pun), as a fashion choice black and white can’t be beat.
When it comes to nail designs, black and white nails are just as classic as Casablanca or Singing in the Rain. Matching with any outfit, hairstyle, or jewelry piece, black and white nail art is the perfect accessory. Both are neutral colors, but pack a bigger punch than just clear tones alone.
If you can imagine a nail design, it can be done in black and white. Whether you prefer simple tips or a much more complicated look, black and white gives you the chance to create a nail look that will fit any occasion. The same nail look that is appropriate at the office still works with your date night outfit to make an impression. Whatever your style, you’ll soon being seeing it in black and white.
The Best Black and White Nail Designs
Art Deco Black and White Striped Nails
Fitting with the minimalist trend, these black and white striped nails use cool art deco designs to create a simple but fashionable look. Using white as the base allows the black to pop and the design to shine through. This look works best with a short nail, as pictured.
Matte Black and White Nails
Matte looks are growing in popularity and are a perfect pairing to other nail designs. In this case, a glitzy silver sugar nail effect works well with the black and white nail art. The short coffin nail shape adds to the overall look.
Matte Black and White Shimmer
Not only does matte polish look clean and refined, but also it makes a great complement to a shimmer look on the opposing nails. Adding shimmer to the white nails adds a hint of color without changing the black and white look. Rhinestones add a touch of glamour and fit well with the shimmer.
Sun and Moon
If you are looking for a more intricate black and white nail idea, using decals is a great way to go. While a nail artist at the salon could most likely replicate this look for you, using a sticker, decal, or nail stamp helps you to achieve the same design at home. Here, nature’s opposites of the sun and moon fits with the color opposites of black and white.
A classic 1950’s combination, pink works well in a black and white nail design. Here, a pale pink is the perfect complement to the black and white nails. The black polka dot accents give a little extra detail to the overall look.
Love a variety of nail looks? Don’t choose! These fun jungle-inspired tips are a great black and white nail design. By using black and white, you can go for a mismatched look and still have an element of cohesion to your nails.
Point Me in the Right Direction
For those that favor long nails, these black and white acrylic nails are a great option. The pointed nail shape is emphasized by the arrow-like designs. Having plain black accent nails breaks up the look.
Black and White Checkered Nails
Black and white makes a great accent to a colored nail look. Bright red is the perfect pairing to black and white, and fits with the classic Hollywood theme (red carpet, anyone?). The Hollywood theme continues with the silver glitter, connecting to both the silver screen and the glamour of Hollywood fashion. The checkered pattern here makes a bold statement.
Any fan of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians will instantly recognize this fabulous pattern. Whether you choose to stick with the fun puppy pattern or go for another creature, black and white are perfect for creating animal prints. Chooses to use French tips on the remaining nails adds a classy element. (Please note, no puppies were harmed in the making of these nails)
If you just like black and white nail designs, add several designs together for an eclectic look. Here, stars and plaid complement the animal print and logo designs on the other nails. What this style really shows is that you can create any look you want just in black and white. Even though there are multiple patterns, using the neutral colors gives consistency.
Diamonds add flair and regality to this black and white nail look. Going for the black tip rather than a white one is a cool change-up, which is emphasized by the square gem in opposition to the round ones. The round gems are perfect with the white nails, the simple design looking like a dress applique. Both nail designs would also look great on their own as a full set.
Pointed Matte Nails
A simple black and white nail design, drama comes from the pointed nail shape. The sharp points are emphasized by the shape of the black accent and opposing white nail. Finishing the look with a silver bead gives just the right touch of shine.
I ♥ You
Nothing says, “I love you” quite like a simple heart. Cute black and white acrylic nails are a fun take on a Valentine’s Day look without going stereotypical red or pink. This way, your look lasts more than just the month of February. A small silver diamond gives sparkle and flair to the nail design.
Black and White Abstract Designs
Almost a play on yin and yang, this cool black and white nail art has a modern art look. The design has movement that draws the eye and makes an impression. While this full set is striking, this design would also work as an accent nail in a black or white look.
Matte nails are the perfect complement to the complex floral 3d design of the accent nail. Using a coffin shape is ideal for a simpler look to give some interest. Finishing off with diamonds provides an element of sparkle.
Opposing designs are a fun choice in this nail set. Black and white checkered nails contrast in a cool way to the polka dot nails. For a short nail look, this is a good way to add excitement to your nails without going overboard.
All Checkers, All the Time
If you are a fan of a checkered look, try these black and white checkered nails. Since this is a short nail, you can get away with the pattern as a full set. The small checks help with that as well, as a bigger checked pattern would overwhelm a short nail.
A cool modern look, the choice to go asymmetrical makes these black and white striped nails. These nails are a reminder of some of the original modern art pieces, and the little pops of glitter makes the design sing. Another great look for short nails that doesn’t go over the top.
Down Home Country Girl
What country girl doesn’t love a good cow print? These black and white nails will take you back to your roots with this fun print. Whether you want to use a nail stamp, , or try to free hand it, this is a great look to do at home versus the salon.
White Tiger Stripes
White tigers are the rarest of their species, and this nail design shows off a look as unique as these beasts. Using the stripe as a tip and other design components is complemented by the black nail. The silver glitter adds just another touch to set this whole design apart. If you wanted to use a short nail instead, keep the tiger stripes on one or two nails and make the rest black.
A cool design, the broken look is easy to achieve with a nail stamp or sticker. The cute message of Hey would be easiest to make with a nail stamp, but if you have a steady hand go for the freestyle! Either nail design would be cute on its own. You could also use any message that has significance to you.
War of the Roses
Another cool stamped look, the contrasting roses are an awesome choice for black and white nail art. These black and white acrylic nails also feature two other trendy techniques, nail stickers and the sponge effect. The beautiful scripted words are most likely a sticker, although they too can be applied with a nail stamp. The black and white ombre nails get that particular texture from using a sponge application.
Black and White Marble Nails
There are many different marble looks, the most classic of which is black and white. Here, black streaks with silver accents give an authentic marble feel. A perfect design for a short nail that is easy to replicate at home. The silver can be added with silver polish or with the sugar method and then sealed.
Joke’s on You
Fans of Harley Quinn, one of Gotham’s most famous bad girls, will instantly recognize the inspiration for this look. Using black and white checkered nails, harlequin diamonds, and the characteristic ha-ha of the Joker completes the homage. Keeping the colors simple to red, black, and white fits with Harley’s style as well. Complete with the silver for her favorite explosions, this is just the right look for her crazy style.
Almost becoming an optical illusion, these black and white striped nails will fool your eyes with their simple pattern. While the lines themselves are not complex, the effect of the alternating colors and stripe sizes is alluring. Changing the color from black to white makes the look.
Black and White Nail Art with Rhinestones
Fun of sparkle and pizzazz, the black and white designs in this nail look will give you plenty to look at and admire. Adding rhinestones to different parts of the set creates another layer of color, texture, and shine. Not one nail is exactly the same, which makes this a unique style.
Gold Marble Nails
Black and white coffin nails get that little extra something with a gold marble effect. Going beyond just regular black and white marble nails, having the contrast of the gold gives another color boost and element of shine. The matte nature of the black and white striped nails is another layer of contrast to the shine on the marble nails. Having each hand sport the opposing colors adds further interest to the whole piece.
A Gothic theme is evident in this nail set, from the skulls and roses to the black gem cross. Black and white are a classic Gothic combination, and that shine through in this look. A long rounded nail heightens the design and allows for enough space for the skulls to be effective. Silver studs finish off the style perfectly while adding some glitz.
High Class Farm Girl
You can take the girl off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl. Just because you aren’t working with your hands anymore doesn’t mean you can’t go for that fun cow print to remind you of home. Adding gems is a fun way to jazz up the humble print, as well as going for a long nail. Altogether, the look is striking but homey.
Cute Heart and Silver Glitter
A simple design is the way to go on a short nail. Using a basic heart shape, small stones, and just a hit of glitter for pizzazz is the way to do it here. This is an ideal black and white nail design if you need to keep things simple and light.
Take your length to the extreme with these super long pointed nails. An unconventional nail style, the white flames are the perfect contrast to the black background. While you could add color to heat up the flames, there is something about the simplicity of the design that is bold enough. Let’s face it, with nails of this length, you are already making a statement.
Mixed Modern Art
An assortment of nail art makes for a cool blended look with these black and white nails. A black and white marble nail provides a touch of softness, while the glitter gives a galactic feeling. Combining foil, silver white, and black on the other nails has that hint of high fashion that is hard to find elsewhere. If you are true lover of black and white nail designs, just throw them all together in one look.
Short Round Black and White Nails
A simple round style, the white nails look as though they were just hit with a black paintbrush to give that splash feel. A matte black polish provides an element of contrast on the pointer finger. This is a cool way to do a black and white look that is perfect for any occasion.
Black and White Polka Dots
Who doesn’t love a good polka dot? Especially if you prefer the one-accent nail look, this is a great way to go. Using polka dots on half the nail changes of the typical dotted design. Particularly on a short nail style, going simple can be the right choice.
Bow-ties and Pinstripes
If you are a lover of all things old school, this nail style will speak to you. Adding black and white striped nails changes the look from a typical feminine bow style to a vintage 40’s look. While this design might seem complicated, it is actual super easy to do for yourself at home. If you do prefer the bow look on its own, painted the striped nail black or add a pop of color.
Black and White Chic
Matte black nails make a statement with this nail set. A perfect contrast to the white shimmer nails and the gems, matte nails allow the accents to shine without also being overshadowed. The jewels in this look resemble a trendy belt or necklace, which shows how nail art can match your outfit.
Black and White Hearts
Dainty hearts are a sweet decoration in this black and white nail art. Delicate golden beads add color and class, and are a perfect complement to both the black and white. The simple decorations fit well on a short nail.
Silver Stripes and White Marble
Another smooth matte look, black and white marble nails look gorgeous opposite the silver stripes. Working a nude in with the black and white adds another element of color without going too drastic. An elegant and sophisticated look that will make going to work feel like you’re going out on the town.
Día de los Muertos
Black and white are the perfect choice for a Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) look. Fitting with the theme, black and white give a spooky feeling while emphasizing the designs. Adding a touch of sparkle with black glitter adds a touch of festivity. If you wanted a bit of color, a bright orange matches the traditional Mexican marigolds of the holiday.
Mind if I Slytherin?
A great look for Harry Potter fans, the contrasting black and white snakes are a match for the symbol of the Slytherin house at Hogwarts. Using matte nails across the set lets the design come through. Pointed nails add to the dark nature of the look.
Zebra Black and White Striped Nails
Another fun animal print, zebra stripes are perfect if you’re looking for a black and white look. The stripes fit well as the central accent nails, working well opposite the matte black of the other nails. This is perfect for a nail set of any length, but particularly a short nail.
Black, White, and Silver
If you’re looking to add glitter to your black and white nails, silver polish is the way to go. Chic silver accents work with this black and white striped nail look. While the style pictured is on a longer nail, this same design would work on a short nail as well.
Broken Black Mirror
To accomplish this look, you will need nail striping tape. Paint the base color on your nails and let dry. Then, place the nail tape over the base coat in whatever direction you would like. With this design, it can be a bit haphazard. After that, paint over the tape and let dry. Peel off the tape and seal with a clear coat. Using a coffin nail adds edge to the look.
Petite Polka Dots
Dainty polka dots make an adorable black and white design. This is an easy look to accomplish at home with a dotting tool or a simple pin. No matter your skill level, this is a design that even a novice can do on her own.
Black and White Swirls
Swirls are a fun way to work black and white together, and the silver flair gives the design sparkle. This is another look you can do for yourself if you have the dotting tool. Instead of creating the polka dots, dip the tool into the polish and trace the swirl onto your nail. If the pattern isn’t quite even, that doesn’t matter, the change in swirl adds whimsy to the look.
Black and Silver Nail Stamp
Black, white, and silver come together in a cool coffin nail design. A nail stamp provides the star shape, which goes with the silver glitter. Black and white acrylic nails make this a long lasting style.
Sponge-style Black and White Ombre Nails
Pointed nails get a cool ombre look with the use of a simple make-up sponge. While this can be done for you at the salon, it is super easy to do yourself. Simply paint the stripes of black and white on the nail first, then on the sponge. Dab the sponge onto the nail, and then let dry. Seal with clear nail polish and you’re done!
Taking French tips up a notch, adding black edges makes for a whole new tipped look. A simple black and white nail design, just the touch of black makes a statement. Go for the squared nails for an edgy feel to the design.
Black and White Nail Designs
If you are looking for black and white nail art that you can do for yourself, try out this look. Simple geometric shapes are easy to replicate, even if you don’t have any particular nail tools. The fun shapes give this style a modern art feel and a unique vibe.
A Galaxy Far, Far Away
A cool way to lift the typical polka dot look is through connecting them into constellations. Here, matte black nails serve as the base for the bright white stars. Going matte here allows the design to pop off the nail. Use whatever constellations you like, getting as complex or going as simple as you want.
Bejeweled Black and White Striped Nails
Gems give this nail two types of contrast: shape and shine. With a matte nail look, the jewels sparkle even brighter and draw the eye. The round shape of the rhinestones also works well against the stripes on the other nails, giving a change in shape. Even though these are simple design elements, they come together to form a beautiful look.
Black and White Acrylic Nails with Flowers
A classic acrylic nail design, going black and white with these flowers is cute and sophisticated. By going black and white with this design, your nails will coordinate with whatever outfit you choose. The tiny flowers also work well with the short nail.
Clear nail styles are coming into style, and black and white is the perfect accompaniment to a clear nail. The glitter here complements both the black and white and ties the style together. While this is a longer nail style, a simple look like this is great for whatever length you prefer. This look is also ideal for a professional workspace.
Black and White Watercolor Flowers
One of the most popular flower nail styles is the watercolor flower. Blending the tones and other elements of the flower together gives a beautiful flowing look. While this type of flower is usually done in color, going for black and white changes it up in a classy way. Stones add an element of glitz to round out the look.
A fun way to jazz up a flower look is with gems. Using the jewels as the center of the flower gives a 3D appearance to the nails while adding sparkle. Here, black centers with the black and white theme and give a touch of mystery to the design.
Sometimes you need a break from wild and crazy color nails and go for a simpler style. That’s where black and white nails are perfect, still providing lots of design options while still giving that monochromatic look. Black and white nail designs also lend themselves to pops of color or pizzazz if you still want a bit of brightness.
Black and white nails are chic and sophisticated, dark and dangerous, or fun and flirty. Truly, they are whatever you want them to be. Next time you’re doing your nails, instead of reaching for your go-to color try out a cool black and white look.