The Italian Manicure Will Give You Longer-Looking Nails Without Acrylics

Here's a TikTok nail hack anyone can DIY.

Getty Images
Getty Images

In a sea of endless nail art ideas — e.g., 3D decor and mesmerizing velvet finishes — the Italian manicure that has been going viral as of late is a much simpler trend, one that is also a great way to fake long nails without the hassle of press-on nails or acrylics. Instead, this mani technique helps create the illusion of an elongated nail just by how nail polish is applied. If you have short nail beds and like the long-nail look, are taking a break from acrylics, or just like a clean, minimalist manicure, you’ve come to the right place.

To learn what the Italian manicure is all about, we tapped two nail experts to break it all down for us. See what they had to say below.

What Is an Italian Manicure?

According to Los Angeles-based nail artist Hang Nguyen, it is a manicure hack for creating narrow nail beds by applying polish to the center of your nail bed, leaving a little bit of space on the sides and near the cuticle for an elongated look. As such, the Italian manicure is really more of a nail polish technique to shape your nail than a nail art trend.

Celebrity nail artist Sonya Meesh recommends creating an Italian manicure with darker shades of polish. According to the manicurist, it's a great approach for anyone who has or wants a shorter nail with a square shape. Nguyen adds this technique especially benefits those with a wide and short nail bed who want to create the illusion of a narrow and lengthened shape.

Related:I Tried Dozens of Red Nail Polishes to Test TikTok’s Red Nail Theory Trend, and These 3 Are My Favorites

How to Do an Italian Manicure at Home

An Italian manicure is pretty easy to achieve on your own. Nguyen says you’ll first want to push back your cuticles as far as possible to create the most length on your nails. Once you start applying your shade of choice, she says to avoid covering your entire nail with color. Instead, you’ll want to leave each side of the curved nail bed clear of any polish. You can also use a small brush with some nail polish remover to clean up the sides of your nail after you paint it.

“So just paint the middle part of your nail and be sure a tiny space is left between the two sides of the nail bed,” she explains. “This creates an illusion of a longer, narrower nail.” If you're not a DIY-er, she says you'll want to explain the technique to your nail artist. Tell your tech that you want the polish as close to the cuticle as possible without actually covering it, but to leave room on the sides for an elongated effect.

Related:Aura Nails Make For the Perfect Spring Mani

What Products Do You Need for the Italian Manicure?

Luckily, you won't really need anything special to achieve this look, just your polish of choice. If you want to get those precise lines just right, Meesh recommends using a nail brush like the Orly Long Detailer Brush or the Cirque Colors Precision Clean Up Brush to clean up your mani.

Since the pros particularly like this technique with darker shades, opt for colors like this classic black from Chanel or a deep berry red by Sundays. But honestly, you can't go wrong when trying out this technique, so you do you.

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