You don’t only have to use white polish as a base color or an accent, white gel nails on their own can be stunning.
Occasionally I like to break up my brightly colored manicures with neutrals to add some variety to my designs.
White provides the perfect blank slate to get creative with a manicure. Sometimes I go simple and solid, while other I incorporate more intricate designs and nail art.
After seeing these white gel nails and designs, you’ll know why white is a formidable option when it comes to manicures.
1. Simple white short gel nails
Don’t underestimate the beauty of a simple white manicure. These simple square nails perfectly highlight the clean white polish.
And with such a flawless execution makes these nails classy and timeless. A simple solid white manicure is perfect for everyday as well as special occasions because it’ll pair well with any outfit and hair.
2. White gel nails with art
A little pop of color can brighten a white manicure. This simple nail art is the perfect addition to clean white nails because it adds an unexpected element. The ring of pink and the ring of glitter at the bottom of the nail is a fun addition to a simple, solid white manicure.
3. Modern white gel French manicure
A French manicure is truly timeless and classy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a modern twist. This manicure mixes solid white nails with pointed French tips to create something truly unique.
The pointed rather than curved line gives this manicure some edge, and the glitter along the side adds a touch of glamor.
4. White gel nails with cheetah print
Take a little walk on the wild side with these white angel nails with pops of cheetah print. This manicure mixes solid white nails with a split nail that features a thick French manicure on one side and a nude and black cheetah print on the other, the sides separated by gold glitter. These are a fun way to add a little bit of pattern and personality to a white manicure.
5. Black and white gel nail designs
There’s no color combination as classic as black and white. These stunning black and white nails are a classy manicure option. The long length is highlighted by the black line down the center of the middle finger. It also helps add symmetry to the manicure. The ring and pointer fingers feature glittery white nails, and the pinky and thumb have glossy white nails.
6. Milky white gel nails
You don’t always need to go with stark white to pull off a white manicure. This creamy white with a glossy top coat creates a pretty milky white manicure that’s an instant classic.
Highlighted by a crisp square shape nail, this manicure is classy and modern, and the tinted white will pair well with those with warmer undertones. I would almost go so far as to put this in the nude nails category since you can style this manicure with practically any outfit or occasion.
7. White and gold gel nail designs
Add a modern glamorous touch to a simple white manicure with a touch of gold in the nail design. This manicure features white gel nails on the pinky and pointer fingers, as well as the thumbs. The ring and middle fingers have a pinkish-nude base that makes the linear design pop. The thick line is half white and half sparkly gold, a pretty and modern detail.
8. White and Gucci nails
A clean white manicure is a perfect base for any nail design. The color is already classy, so why not elevate it more with a luxury design? This ballerina manicure features red and green bands that are emblematic of Gucci. On top of those bands are a snake and a bee, two symbols of the designer brand.
9. Pearly white nails
These nails look like they could have been pulled right from an oyster. A pearly top coat is a perfect way to modernize a simple white manicure. Unique glazes and top coats over white nails are a current trend, and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon. This iridescent top coat creates such a pretty, timeless white manicure. They remind me of Haily Beiber’s frosted donut nails but on short nails.
10. White and clear gel nails
This manicure is classy and feminine that can complement anyone. Designs around the bottom of the nail are nothing new, but leaving it clear is a fresh take. And the scalloped edges add a delicate touch to the nail design. This manicure is timeless; it’ll never go out of style. Plus it’s perfect for nail art that’s simple and elegant.
11. White and silver gel nail designs
Gold foiling is a popular option, but silver foiling is a little more subtle while still adding a metallic accent. This manicure features a creamy white base with flakes of silver metallic diagonally across two nails. Pretty and simple, this is a nail design that you can dress up or dress down.
12. White nails with little hearts
Channel the queen of hearts with this short white gel manicure. These simple white nails feature a small pop of color from the little red hearts on the ring fingers.
These clean, solid white nails are classy on their own, but the little hand-drawn hearts add a fun element to the manicure. Great design for short nails.
13. White nails with blue watercolor
Watercolor nails are a fun way to add color to a pop of color. This combination is a classic and is reminiscent of the popular white and blue china. The creamy white base makes the perfect backdrop to show off the depth of color in the blue design. This manicure is truly like art in miniature.
14. White nails with jewels
Sometimes you need a little glamor in your manicure. That’s where nail jewels come in. These sparkly features elevate these coffin nails.
With each nail featuring a different design, you get the maximum amount of glamor and pattern. Polka dots, clustered around the cuticle and outlining the nail all create a visually interesting manicure.
15. White nails with mod squares
Modern squares and rectangles dotted across these white nails add just a hint of color to the manicure. They’re reminiscent of sprinkles or modern artwork on a crisp white background.
Coming in a variety of colors, the squares and rectangles add a subtle rainbow to the nails. Simple and artistic, this would be easy to recreate and put your own spin on. Love this option for short nail designs.
16. Cow print nails
Cow print nails are a fun variation of a classic black-and-white design. This manicure adds a bit of whimsy and playfulness, the perfect design if you’re looking for a standout.
These started as a trend a few years ago, but the pattern is a classic, like a cheetah print or snakeskin, so it’ll reemerge as a trending manicure every few months. And with a simple white base, you can make your own variations such as pink or brown spots. Almond nails are great for adding length to fingers. So if you’re looking for the best nail shapes for fat fingers, first there’s no shame in having thick fingers, and second, almond nails are your friend!
17. White gel nails with flowers
Adding flowers to a manicure always creates a timeless and classy design. These hand-drawn roses even add a touch of romance.
What keeps these nails modern is that the base is a clear matte finish, so the white roses really stand out as the focal point of the manicure. Translucent nails always make the design seem more current.
18. White gel nails matte finish
A simple white manicure will always go with everything. Dress them up or dress them down; pair them with other solids or more patterns.
But if you want to take them a step further than the classic manicure, finish the white gel nails with a matte top coat. This makes them feel even crisper and cleaner and a little more modern and sleek.
19. White gel nails with linear details
A simple linear detail will always look stunning. These thin black lines across crisp white nails look modern and sleek.
Changing the placement and direction of the nails prevents the design from looking too repetitive or even boring. Even the slight variations in the nail design create something that’s more interesting to look at.
20. White gel nails with sparkles
Go all out with white nails and sparkles. Since they’re white, they’re perfect for any occasion, but the addition of sparkles is especially beautiful for brides who want a bit of shimmer rather than all-out glam.
These nails are also perfect for around Christmas. The glitter on top of the glossy white feels like fresh snow on the ground.
How to do white gel nails?
You’ll need gel nail polish, base and top coats, and a UV lamp, as well as standard nail care tools. After creating the nail shape you want, buff the nails to create a smooth surface and clean them of any debris.
- Apply your base coat to help the gel polish adhere to the nail
- Cure under the lamp for thirty seconds
- Apply a thin layer of gel polish
- Cure for thirty seconds
- Add more layers until you get the desired opacity, curing for 30 secs after each additional coat
- Last, apply the top coat and cure for at least 1 minute
- Treat your cuticle with cuticle oil for a salon-worthy finish
Milky white gel nails tutorial
The key to a milky white manicure is choosing the right shade of white. It’s not completely sheer, but it’s not also completely opaque.
Look for a semi-opaque white polish like Marshmallow from Essie or Funny Bunny from OPI.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Essie, but these two brands are pretty comparable. The MEMEDA Milky white nude gel polish is great for gel manicures. You’ll also want a glossy top coat or a UV light.
The prep is the same; you’ll want to file the nails to your desired shape, buff them to make them smooth, and clean them.
If you’re using regular nail polish, apply a base coat, the polish, and two coats of the glossy top coat, drying in between.
The process is similar for gel nails, but you’ll want to cure the layers under the UV lamp for thirty seconds each.
What is the best white gel polish?
For the best gel nail polish, both Morovan and Beetles are two brands that are great for doing a gel manicure at home. These will need a UV lamp to cure these polishes, but they’re easy for beginners to use.
You can also get the look of gel nails without the UV light. Essie’s Gel Couture line mimics the look of a classic gel manicure, but it doesn’t need to be cured.
Do white gel nails get dirty?
Since it’s such a light color, white nails can get a little dirtier or discolored than other manicures. If you use your hands a lot, a white manicure might not be best for every day, but rather for a special occasion.
White polish can sometimes discolor so it doesn’t look as crisp as when it’s first done. But if you use a durable top coat, this can help maintain the bright white look longer.
How long do white gel nails last?
Gel nails cured under a UV lamp can last between two and three weeks before you start to see chips or lifting. The nails being white won’t affect how long the color lasts on your nails. But since it does show stains and dirt easier, the white nails can start to discolor before that time.
How much do white gel nails cost?
If you get the manicure done at a salon, on average, you can expect to pay between $35 and $40 for a simple one-color manicure.
Adding nail art will cost more and depend on your nail artist. You can also do gel nails at home with kits that range from $20 to $45, which might be a larger cost upfront but save you money in the long term.
For a white gel pedicure check out our post on “How Much Is a Pedicure.“
How to keep white gel nails white?
Protect your nails! The first way to protect them is with a top coat. Apply at least two layers to create a barrier between the color and the elements. Make sure you’re taking the top coat all the way to the edge to protect the entire nail.
You should also protect your nails from the elements if you can. Wear gloves when washing dishes or using household cleaners to prevent yellowing and discoloring.
Why do white gel nails turn yellow?
Usually, it’s because of a chemical reaction between the gel polish and common household chemicals. Cleaning products, sanitizers, soaps, and skincare products can all have chemicals that react with the gel polish.
White gel manicures will turn even more off-white with the continued use of these products. That’s why protection is so important.
If you want to know how long does nail polish last, you can expect your white gel nails to hold up for at least two to three weeks without discoloring if you wear gloves to protect them.
Why did my white gel nails turn pink?
Discoloring to pink is another chemical reaction between the gel polish and ingredients in common household products.
Beauty products like hair products, scented lotions, and skin care products used daily can turn your white nails pink. Chemicals in cleaning solutions and bleach can also change the color of your manicure.
Are white nails classy?
White is one of the classiest and most elegant colors you can choose for a manicure. It’s crisp and clean and timeless.
There are ways you can make white nails work with every personal style, from feminine to edgy. Whether you go all solid or choose a design, white nails will always be on-trend.
One of my personal favorites is getting reverse white French tip nails, where the nail is painted white and the tips a different color.
What do white nails say about you?
Chic and confident. You like to be put together and put effort into your appearance. You can be classic, modern, or some combination of the two.
With white nails, you like to draw attention to yourself in understated ways. This color represents a subtle glamor that is timeless and stylish.
Alexandria is a writer and content creator, writing about beauty, style, homes, and food. She also works in fiction, writing young adult novels. When she isn’t writing, Alexandria loves doing her own nails, trying new style trends, and finding a rooftop with a view to enjoy a fruity cocktail.