10 Best Nail Colors For Short Nails That Are Trending In 2021

Written by Chaitra Krishnan
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Long painted fingernails seem to never go out of trend. From celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner sporting long nails all the time to countless Instagrammers posting pictures of their luscious nails – super long nails are everywhere. Long nails have always been associated with being stylish. But take a moment and think about this: Are they practical? If you have ever had long nails, you know it isn’t easy to get a lot of things done with those nails. They can slow down your typing, make it impossible to put contacts in, and are fragile and prone to breaking easily.

Hence, it’s time to get on the short nail bandwagon. Though they may not be the most popular choice, short and stubby fingernails are ideal for women who don’t like anything coming in the way of their life. Well, of course, you can choose any nail color you want for your short nails. But some colors look much better on short nails and can also make them look long. Ahead, you will find the 10 best nail colors for short nails that you should try!

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Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish - Oceans Away
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Modelones Gel Polish Set - Red Brown Series
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essie Nail Lacquer Vernis - Ballet Slippers
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ZOYA Nail Polish Quad - Spreading Cheer
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Orly Breathable Treatment + Color - Namaste Healthy
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Gellen Gel Nail Polish Set - Shining Stars
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O.P.I Nail Lacquer - Big Apple Red
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Revlon Nail Enamel - 680 Revlon Red
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Beetles Gel Polish Set - Pink Confetti
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WAKANIYA Gel Nail Polish Set - Cat Eye Series
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10 Best Nail Colors For Short Nails That Will Make Heads Turn!

1. Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish – Oceans Away

If you like to keep your nails minimalistic but also like a bit of color, using pastel shade is the way to go. This soothing pale rose color is perfect for making your small nails look longer and can also be paired with any outfit. Suitable for all skin tones, this nail polish gives you stunning nails in just 2 strokes. It is formulated with argan oil that instantly moisturizes your nails with every coat and makes them healthier over time. Plus, applying Color Therapy Top Coat on your nail color will give long-lasting wear and glossy finish.

Pros

  •  Fade-proof
  •  Chip-resistant
  •  Infused with argan oil
  •   Available in over 40 shades

Cons

  •  May not have good staying power

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2. Modelones Gel Polish Set – Red Brown Series

Why choose one color when you can wear them all? This gel polish set includes 6 different gel nail colors for short nails, ranging from a dark, moody gray shade to a light pink hue, all of which work well on short nails. Pick any of these popular nail colors for short nails to give your nails a seamless coverage. Made of natural resin, every polish in this set of short nail colors glides on smoothly and dries within minutes under a UV/LED light to reveal a mirror-like shiny finish. A single application lasts for over 2 weeks as long as you follow the right application technique. Always start with a base coat, apply 2 to 3 layers of nail color (cure after every layer), and finish off with a top coat for extended wear.

Pros

  •  Non-toxic
  •  Comes with a shade of burgundy
  •  Easy to apply
  •  Does not have a strong smell
  •  More than 2 weeks wear

Cons

  •  Sometimes bubbles may occur during or after the drying process.

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3. essie Nail Lacquer Vernis – Ballet Slippers

Nothing beats a classic coat of a pastel pink nail polish for short nails. One of the best nail colors for short nails, this classic baby pink pastel shade has a high glossy sheen that lights up and looks gorgeous when light falls on it. Popular among nail experts and stylists, this nail polish is an award-winning product, known for its excellent durability and salon-quality result. Moreover, this nail color is safe to use, as it does not contain DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. It comes with an easy-glide brush that offers smooth and streak-free application. However, if you want your manicure to last longer, use a base and top coat at all times to make this moody nail polish shade last longer.

Pros

  •  Long-lasting wear
  •  Glides smoothly
  •  Streak-free application
  •  Flawless coverage
  •  Does not contain harmful chemicals
  •  The brush fits every nail size

Cons

  •  Might have too thin a consistency

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4. ZOYA Nail Polish Quad – Spreading Cheer

Usher in the holiday season with the ZOYA Nail Polish Quad in Spreading Cheer that features 4 nail polishes in different shades of red. Take your pick from a creamy bright cherry red, violet-red creme, vibrant red in a metallic finish, or magenta pink in a pearl-like metallic finish, for an alluring manicure that can spruce up your everyday outfit or your holiday look. Apply 2 to 3 coats of these spring nail colors for short nails to give your nails a flawless finish that lasts for days without chipping. These neon pink nail polishes are safe to use even for pregnant women, thanks to their 10-free formulation, which means they do not contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, camphor, parabens, ethyl, and lead, among others.

Pros

  •  Breathable formula
  •  Free of toxic chemicals
  •  Suitable for pregnant women
  •  Available in 2 finishes – creamy and metallic
  •  Electric-pink nail polish

Cons

  •  Might have a strong odor

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5. Orly Breathable Treatment + Color – Namaste Healthy

Is there anything more sassier than hot red nails? Perhaps not and the Namaste Healthy shade from Orly Breathable Treatment + Color collection can make your short painted nails look bold and appealing. Enriched with argan oil, vitamin C, and pro-vitamin B5, the nail color moisturizes your nail and heals it from cracking and discoloration. Make your manicure sessions quick and easy as this nail polish for short nails needs no base coat or a top dry coat. Treat your nails to make them healthy while coloring and styling them with this nail color.

Pros

  •  Heals and hydrates
  •  Enriched with vitamin C
  •  Prevents damage and breakage
  •  Perfect color in one stroke

Cons

  •  A double coat of this nail paint might give a cakey finish

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6. Gellen Gel Nail Polish Set – Shining Stars

If you love everything glitter and sparkly nail colors, the Shining Stars Series by Gellen can be the perfect choice. This set features 6 nail polishes in fiery shades that offer a sparkly finish to take your manicure up a notch. These polishes glide on easily like a regular polish and wear like a gel to give your nails a sheer coverage. They are made of natural resin, are non-toxic, and have excellent staying power.

Pros

  •  Environment-friendly
  •  Lasts for over 2 weeks
  •  Lends a glittery finish
  •  Uses LED/UV light for drying
  •  Easy to remove using acetone

Cons

  •  Should not be exposed to direct sunlight

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7. O.P.I Nail Lacquer – Big Apple Red

We haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like classic red nails! Whether you have long nails or shorter nails than you’d like, this luscious cherry red shade by O.P.I Nail Lacquer will give your nails that elegant touch. If you are someone who loves to update your nail color every week, this nail lacquer is a great choice as it lasts for 7 days straight without chipping. This formula has a thick, creamy texture that is super smooth and easy to apply. Just 2 coats of this lacquer can give your nails maximum coverage. Remember to use a base and top coat for extended wear and shine and prevent your nails from staining and chipping.

Pros

  •  Pigment-rich
  •  Chip-resistant
  •  Easy to remove
  •  Creamy finish and shine
  •  Long-wearing for 7 days

Cons

  •  Might take a long time to dry

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8. Revlon Nail Enamel – 680 Revlon Red

Red is perhaps the best nail color for short nails that lends your nails an ultra-glamorous appearance and makes them stand out in a good way. This glossy strawberry red nail polish delivers a lustrous finish in a single coat. Formulated with ShadeLock and Chip Defiant technology, this formula provides fade and chip-resistant wear. While the butter-like smooth texture ensures the polish glides on effortlessly on your nails, the easy-to-use brush provides a flawless application. Best of all, this formula is bubble-free and does not contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP, and camphor.

Pros

  •  Super smooth formula
  •  Fade-resistant wear
  •  Does not chip
  •  Glossy finish
  •  Free of toxic chemicals
  •  Maintains the vibrancy of the color longer

Cons

  •  May not stay on your nails long enough

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9. Beetles Gel Polish Set – Pink Confetti

Wondering what color nail polish you should wear to make your short nails look longer? Pink is considered one of the best nail polish colors for short nails and is a go-to shade for most women. This is yet another classic shade that you can’t go wrong with. This collection of pretty nail colors for short nails, aptly named, Pink Confetti, is a 6-piece set that features pretty pink hues, along with a confetti glitter polish that accentuates your bare nails. These nail polishes are made without toxic chemicals (9-free formula) and harsh adhesives. So no more worries about harming your skin or damaging your nails. They lend your nails the right amount of shine that lasts over 21 days, given that you follow a proper application process.

Pros

  •  Safe to use
  •  Low odor
  •  Easy to apply
  •  Suitable for all seasons
  •  Long-wearing for 21 days or more

Cons

  •  Tends to clump after a few layers of application

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10. WAKANIYA Gel Nail Polish Set – Cat Eye Series

Cat-eye nails are very much in vogue and can transform your nails into mesmerizing gemstones in an instant. This set includes 6 pieces of water-based metallic nail polishes in different colors and a magnet stick. These polishes are formulated with mineral pigments that help protect your nails, while the smooth formula delivers a glossy finish that stays put for 3 weeks. So, how does it work? First, apply a base coat and cure your nails. Next, apply a coat of dark or black gel polish as a base gel, and then cure it again. Once dried, apply one of these gel polishes (no curing required). Achieving the perfect 3D cat-eye nail look depends on how you use the magnet stick and the direction the metallic pigments move in. Hold the magnet over your nails for a few seconds until you have achieved the desired look. Cure your nails immediately. Lastly, finish off with a top coat and cure again.

Pros

  •  3-week wear
  •  Non-toxic
  •  Made of natural resin
  •  Includes a smooth-textured brush
  •  Lends you extra shiny nails
  •  Whimsical shades

Cons

  •  The viscosity of the formula may be too thin, so you would have to apply multiple coats for good coverage.

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Now that we’ve taken a look at the 10 best nail colors for short nails in 2021, here are a few things you should keep in mind before getting your hands on a few.

How To Choose Nail Colors For Short Nails

  •  Skin tone

For fair and light skin tones, choose peppy and vibrant colors along with all shades of pink. If you have a medium skin tone, experiment with shades of purple and blue. For dark skin tones, shimmery nail paints and nudes are a great choice.

  •  Occasion

For work spaces, choose nail paint colors that are subtle and dull. Beiges and nudes can be a wonderful choice. A day out with friends or a movie day at home calls for adorning your nails with peppy and crazy nail colors. Experiment with a yellow nail polish or a white one or anything that is vibrant. A date night or a party calls for metallic shades that are bold and shimmery. Black with glitter, a metallic gold shade, or simply a hot red paint can complete your look.

  •  Type

Regular nail paints in a matte or holographic finish. How about trying something else to define your nails better? You can choose gel paints to get the high-end glossy finish or even try acrylic ones. The acrylic nail paints can be easily applied and removed, and they keep your nails safe from turning yellow and pale.

  •  Longevity

There are quite a few nail colors that last only for 3-4 days. This may be the ideal choice for you if you like to switch up your nail-color game often. If you have no mood to change your colors for a week or more, try picking up long-wear nail colors that are safe on nails and long-lasting too. Gel paints are generally durable from fading and chipping when you compare them to acrylic or regular ones.

  •  Finish

There are a wide variety of nail paint finishes that you can experiment with. You can try sheer finish colors for your work and metallic finish nail colors for a night out at clubs. A glossy finish keeps your nails looking fresh and beautiful any day, and matte finish nails look very appealing on short nails.

How To Make Short Nails Look Longer With Nail Polish

There are a lot of nail polish colors for short nails to make them look longer. Also follow these tips.

  • Rule 1 – Firstly, you need to shape your nails before applying any nail polish on short nails.
  • Rule 2 – A nude shade and neutral nail colors for short nails can make nails look longer.
  • Rule 3 – Get yourself a French manicure.
  • Rule 4 – Contour your nails with darker nail polish shades.

Now that you have gone through our list, you must have realized that just because you have short nails does not mean you can’t be stylish. While we do love long nails and believe that they can amp up your look, they are high maintenance and are not for everyone. So, if you have opted for short nails or want to embrace the natural length of your nails, here are the 10 best nail colors you could try. Pick them and try them on your nails to see how well it looks. Flaunt your nails in style and also try some nail art with these colors as the base. Go experiment today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do dark or light colors look better on short nails?

You need to consider your skin tone and not the length of the nail when you are choosing the best nail polish color for short nails. Dark colored nails look good on fair hands and shades of purple and pastels colors look good on wheatish and dark skin tones. However, if you need to make your nails look long, choose pale shades.

What color should I paint my nails for summer?

The most vibrant fluorescent pinks to yellows or peppy blues and even bright green and red are some of the best summer nail colors for short nails.

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