Nail art is just like makeup. It gives us a chance to play with color and shape to express an underlying mood. Whether we want to channel positivity and optimism in the form of a bright and vivid "feel-good manicure" or convey a dramatic, dark, and moody emotion, there's a color and/or design to do just that. Lately, we've been veering toward the latter aesthetic, and we're looking to replace some of the lighter shades we've been wearing with something more Wednesday Addams–approved.
While pondering all the possibilities for the best witchy manicures, we asked ourselves: What's more "Addams Family"–esque than a combination of black and red? Black-and-red manicures are dark, mysterious, and dramatic in the best way (just like the most iconic Disney villains and Halloween movie characters). We took it upon ourselves to begin a deep dive to find the best ones—keep scrolling to see the best black-and-red nail designs from some of Instagram's finest nail artists.
Black with Red Border
Alicia Torello is an editorial manicurist based in New York City. She's responsible for this darkly romantic black-and-red manicure, which models wore down the Rodarte runway in February 2016. She layered OPI's Iconic Infinite Shine Nail Lacquer in Raisin the Bar ($13), and We're in the Black ($13).
Lines and Dots
This black-and-red manicure is courtesy of Paintbox Nails, a super-buzzy nail studio in New York City (check out its Instagram account for more inspiring images of nail art). The stark lines and dots make it the perfect option for nail art minimalists and those who want their manicure to work just as well at the office as it does at weekend brunch.
Chillhouse is another trendy New York nail salon and happens to be a Byrdie favorite for stunning manicures. This is just one example of the artsy nail designs you can request. The red squiggle and dalmatian spots were inspired by iconic Disney villain Cruella de Vil. Inspiration aside, it looks like a cool piece of modern art.
A vampy black-to-red ombré mani is the perfect combination of goth and smolder. The stiletto shape really does it for us, too. To DIY your ombré nails, simply use a makeup sponge layered with your colors and press onto each nail.
Naomi Yasuda is one of our favorite nail artists to follow on Instagram, and this is just one of the many inspiring nail designs you'll find on her page. This black-and-red reverse French manicure was created for an Adam Selman runway show, but we'll be wearing this short nail look in daily life. Don't think we didn't notice that inky rock 'n' roll kajal liner, either.
Yasuda is also behind these incredibly alluring corset nails, which, to us, all but beg to be worn throughout the autumn and winter season (not to mention Halloween). What really takes these up a notch is the subtle red-to-black ombré base.
Dots and Hearts
How cute are these red hearts with eyeballs? The dots add a whole extra level of playfulness. To recreate, swipe on a pinkish-nude base, like Dr.'s Remedy Nurture Nude Pink Enriched Nail Polish ($17), before adding your art on top.
Yasuda's Instagram account really is rife with nail art inspo. This time, it's a black-and-red rose manicure that's equal parts romantic and vampy. To us, it looks like the perfect combination of Disney princess and Morticia Addams (which, funnily enough, is our ideal aesthetic for the cooler months of the year).
Flames and Dragons
These are absolutely blowing our minds. Intricate detail? Check. Badass flames? Double check. We're also very much intrigued by the mix of squared French tips in black.
If you're short of inspiration, draw reference from your favorite fall fabrics for new nail art ideas.
A little cartoon illustration moment is oh so perfect in black and red on a white base. Use an ultra-fine detailing nail brush or a toothpick to sketch out your designs. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't fret if you're unsatisfied with your first go at it.
To us, this rosy design is the ultimate example of amazing floral nail art. Everything about it is perfect, from the whimsical way the roses are drawn to the clear-to-black ombré base. Again, we're obsessed.
If you're looking for a black and red look that's easy to recreate at home, we definitely recommend trying this plaid print. Start with a red base, apply striping tape in a criss-cross pattern, and paint a black coat on top. You're done in just three simple steps.
This mani gives us major NASCAR vibes. The easiest way to recreate these clean, straight lines is to tape off the edges of each checker. This way, when you lift the tape, you're left with crisp, mess-free lines.
We're loving the '90s inspo here, and the color-matching is on point—there is only one official bandana red, right? Here, celebrity nail artist BhamB Nails is using The Gel Bottle in the shade Candy ($19).
Updated French Manicure
There's an endless number of color combinations you could experiment with for a fresh take on a French mani, but red with black is definitely in the top three. If you've already mastered the home French manicure, it's as easy as swapping out the colors to recreate these pretty, simple nails.
Hello Kitty Nails
We're loving the wavy vertical black and red lines here—they're very '80s. And of course, we're all about anything Hello Kitty, especially when made even more adorable in teeny-tiny nail form.
Geometric Accent Nails
Bright and electric meets geometric spider web. For clean geometric lines like this, try using a striping tape if you're uncomfortable free-handing. Just start creating lines in all directions and before you know it, you've got a cool, unique design. To match the energy of these glowing red nails, try an extra punchy color like Deborah Lippmann's It's Raining Men ($20).
There's something about matte nails that makes us do a double-take. These maroon and black leopard-print tips have us swooning. Also, note the added contrast with a matte base and glossy details.
These hearts paired with the dainty calligraphy could not be any cuter—or more intimidating when you're looking to DIY. Luckily, there are options to get professional-level calligraphy nails at home. The easiest way to get perfect lettering is to use nail stickers ($6), but you can also buy a nail art pen ($13) specifically for calligraphy on Amazon, or try your hand with a nail stamping kit ($15).
Mixed Matte and Gloss
Not only is the accent nail here a fun and punchy design, but it's also totally unique as the only glossy nail in a set of matte red. To keep a cohesive look across the board, go for a clear matte gloss to pop over all the plain nails rather than trying to shade match a gloss red with a matte red. We suggest the Static Nails Liquid Glass Mattifier ($16).
BhamB Nails just does not miss. How stunning are these cherry nails? We love how the black tips add a bit of edge to the otherwise cutesy look.
How precious (not to mention fierce) are these nude fang nails? While they're particularly on point for Halloween, they can be worn any time of year to add a little edge to your everyday look.
This dripping nail design might have a gory inspiration, but it looks like a piece of pop art in real life. In other words, we dig it.
Aiming for a dark Ophelia vibe? These black-and-red rose nails are a fun pick. Best of all, you can DIY them. Start with a neutral base, then use one toothpick dipped in black polish to carefully craft each outline and another toothpick to fill in the red petals.
From a bright red to stark black, these gradient nails offer loads of contrast and an even more chic style. To DIY, start with a red base, then use a small sponge to overlay the vibrant shade with black.
These black-and-red nails have an artsy graffiti effect that we can't stop staring at. Since it's pretty abstract, it makes for a manageable DIY.
We can't help but feel velvety vibes from these ombré nails. To DIY, create your ombré base transitioning from black to red going left to right. Let this dry fully before taping off the horizontal rectangle and painting your gradient going in the opposite direction.
These are the ultimate rocker chick nails. We're getting very much Hot Topic era meets modern chic here. Opt for a punchy red like Manicurist Red Cherry ($14).
Half and Half
Take a minute to really soak in the beauty of these half-and-half nails. With matte and glossy black sides and a split-finish red heart to match, this manicure is simply one of a kind.
Red is the ultimate color for some sassy lipstick nails. Add some three-dimensional floral decals on top of that, and you've got a match made in nail heaven.