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20 Pastel Manicure Ideas That Will Look Good On Short Nails

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PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/thehangedit, Instagram/nailsbymei

My cold heart can't resist pastel nail polish. Yep, my ice-queen self loves a manicure that's full of soft pink, baby blue, pale yellow, and lavender hues.

So now that we're a full week into March and spring is basically here, it's time to swap your deep red and navy blue manicures for one of these 20 pastel nail designs and ideas. From tie-dye patterns to floral accents, there's a cute (and very Instagrammable) nail moment on the list for every vibe.

  1. This Rainbow Pastel Nail Design

    For me, a new season means it's time to experiment with new nail colors, and this pastel rainbow mani is a great way to try out a few fresh shades all at once. (Just be sure to tie it all together with matching pinky and thumb nails.)

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  2. These Ombre Pastel Nails

    Solid pastels might be too simple for some, and that's okay (you're original, we get it). This pastel ombre mani will add your required dose of flair to your nails.

  3. These Matte Pastel Nails

    Another way to try some new pastel colors without going the rainbow route: Pick a color family and use a few different shades within it. Bonus points for finishing your look with a chic matte top coat.

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  4. These Wavy Pastel Nails

    The great thing about pastel nail polish is that you can try funky new designs without being OTT. These ~groovy~ pastel waves are the perfect way to shake up your manicure game this spring. 

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  5. Pastel Nail Design: Pink Clouds

    If you're feeling *artsy*, this pink pastel cloud manicure for you. Be sure to use a glossy top coat to seal in your fine work.

  6. These Pretty Blue Pastel Nails

    Not into multicolored nails? DW, these pretty pastel blue nails are simple and cute for spring, not to mention easy-as-hell to DIY.

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  7. Pastel Nail Design: Floral Tips

    There's no better time to try a floral pastel mani than spring. I mean, how cute are these daisy crochet stick-ons?!

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  8. These Abstract Pastel Nails

    Unless you're blessed with insane nail art skills (and a set of pro tools), you might need to take this one to the salon. But the pop of this pastel design combined with the simple solid colors will be worth it IMO.

  9. This Marble Pastel Nail Design

    If you lean away from the cutesy looks, this marble pastel nail idea is for you. Just a few simple jagged lines with some white polish will bring a sophisticated edge to your manicure.

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  10. Pastel Nail Design: Half Moon Manicure

    How fun is this half-moon nail idea?! Choose your favorite pastel polishes and paint semi-circle shapes at the base of your nail beds, then line them with a contrasting color.

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  11. These Pastel Nails with Daisies

    I love the way this cute pastel daisy nail art design comes up from the cuticles—it almost looks like a calming sunset.

  12. These Multicolor Pastel Nails

    Take the half-moon nail idea, reverse it, leaving some negative space at your cuticles, and you've got this pretty pastel manicure. Be sure to keep those cuticles moisturized!

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  13. This Yellow Pastel Nail Design

    If yellow had its own season, summer would be it. Bust out your favorite yellow shade and top off the look with a thin white line near the tips for an unexpected finish. 

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  14. Pastel Nail Design: Tie Dye

    ICYMI, tie-dye is back. If you want to take the trend beyond a matching sweatsuit, go ahead and give this tie-dye pastel manicure a try. 

  15. Pastel Nail Design: Ocean Water

    As the days get warmer, slathering on sunscreen and laying out on the beach sounds more and more appealing. But if you can't physically get to the beach right now, try this ocean water nail idea (I'm obsessed with the pastel blue shades) to get you there in spirit.

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  16. This Colorful Pastel Nail Design

    This manicure takes rainbow nails to the next level by adding a strip of negative space. The secret to scoring clean, crisp lines? Steady hands and nail art tape.

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  17. Pastel Nail Idea: Tiny Hearts

    Your nails will be the talk of the town when you paint tiny hearts on them.

  18. These Vibrant Pastel Orange Nails

    With one vibrant pastel shade like this bright orange, you don't need to add anything else. Your nail polish will stand out in any outfit or IG post.

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  19. This Lavender Pastel Manicure Idea

    When you're trying to choose a pastel polish, you can never go wrong with lavender. It's fresh, pretty, and it will go with anything—it's basically a neutral hue.

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  20. These Striped Pastel Nails

    Just because we're in pastel season, doesn't mean your trusty bottle of black polish has to go into hiding. Add it to your pastels like this stripy manicure to get a nice contrast of light and dark shades.


This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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