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10 Matte Black Nail Design Ideas

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Back in the mid-aughts, Carson Daly and LC alike spearheaded the trend of edgy-but-not black nail polish as the neutral manicure of choice. Thankfully the color—like us—outgrew its awkward fake-angst phase, with a matte finish paving the way for new and unexpected designs. From the anti-French tip to a look plucked off the runway, here are 10 ways to experiment with matte black nails (and just in time for a non-cliché Halloween look, too).

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Runway Inspired

Spotted at 3.1 Phillip Lim’s runway show was this simple design by pro-manicurist Alicia Torello. Copy the style by dipping a thin brush into a matte black lacquer and lining up your half moons.

Monochrome Contrasting Pt. 1

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Torello also designed this polarizing polka dot. Start with a matte black base, then contrast it with a black satin polish on top.

Monochrome Contrasting Pt. 2

Try another matte vs. shiny mani with this alternating graphic design.

Just the tip

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Consider this the anti-french tip.


The cheapest and chicest way to cop your favorite designer is to retrofit a brand’s logo in a monotone matte.

Medieval Times

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As far as we’re concerned, gothic fonts can’t not be painted in matte black.

Feminine Florals

Matte black nails don’t have to be somber. Freshen up the subdued hue with a white floral design embellished with rhinestones.

Negative Balance


A post shared by Park Eunkyung (@nail_unistella) on Jul 30, 2017 at 5:52am PDT

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A negative nail, with posi vibes only. Get inspired by nail artist Park Eunkyung with this black matte ying yang design.

Black and Gold

This is a classic color combo, but amplify the contrast by choosing gold leaf over metallic polish.

Smoke out

This negative ombré is a wearable way to mimic both the look of maintaining a bonfire and Rick Owens’ wife and muse, Michelle Lamy.

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