Swirl nails are the 60s-inspired nail art design to get at your next manicure

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Hanna Ibraheem
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A manicurist wearing a face mask and gloves while painting a client's nails

Nail salons are opening and it’s the perfect excuse to have fun with your first post-lockdown manicure.

Nail salons are officially opening up and so, there’s only one question: what should you get for your first post-lockdown appointment?

Over the last year, we’ve slowly filled our Instagram Saved folder with countless nail art posts – from the classic French manicure with a twist and ombré designs to shell nails and even party-ready sparkly nails (yes, we’re already hopeful for a festive December). But there’s one sitting at the top of our list.

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Swirl nails have been cropping up on social media a lot recently and they’re the perfect design to try for your first appointment. The look involves drawing one or a few curved lines on your nails for a 60s, almost psychedelic finish.

The swirl can be as long as you like (from top to bottom, over a corner, anything), as thick as you like and any shades; it’s just about creating a fun and almost soothing-to-look-at finish.

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While we’ll most likely be requesting this look at the salons, some may want to try it at home after a year of at-home manicures. If that’s you, you can either paint the swirls on with a detail brush or paint on rough lines and add in the curves with an acetone-soaked brush.

Convinced? Here, we round up some swirl art nail inspiration.

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Swirl nail art inspiration

  • Outlined swirl nails

    Opt for bright, bold colours and alternate the shades across your fingers. Adding an outline to your swirl adds more fun to the look.

  • Monochrome swirl nails

    If you like the idea of using more than one shade but don’t want anything too busy, go for nail hues within the same colour palette.

  • French manicure swirl nails

    Long-time fan of the French manicure? Put a twist on it and focus your swirls on the tips of your nails.

  • Pastel swirl nails

    Pastels are big every spring and summer when it comes to nail art designs. Pick five shades: one for every finger.

  • Colour-clashing swirl nails

    Pairing up red and pink has become the chic way to achieve colour-clashing. Choose one as your main shade and use the other for accent swirls.

  • Nude-coloured swirl nails

    Paint your nails with a nude shade and add muted swirls for a subtle-yet-effective finish.

  • Floral swirl nails

    When it comes to nails, we firmly believe more is more. Amp up your swirly nails with additional pictures, like flowers.

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