There are few things more striking than the marbly, mystical appearance within the eyes of our favorite feline friends. Shades of blue, green, brown, purple, gold, black, and amber combine in a swirly combination of an almost metallic appearance, complete with a striking dark pupil. So, like a true nail art aficionado would do—why not capture the viral cat-eye look on your own nails?
While leopard manicures may have long held a monopoly on nail art inspired by our favorite cats, perhaps it’s time they step aside to let cat-eye nails have a major moment. To achieve the look of this gorgeous trend, a metallic, diagonal line runs across the nail, typically painted with different deep jewel tones, creating the mirror-like effect of staring straight into a cat’s eyes. Most nail artists and at-home DIYers alike use magnetic nail polish to create the illusion, using the magnet as the final step to create the look.
Ahead, our 30 favorite ways to wear femme, feline-inspired nail designs (aka cat-eye nails).
Green and blue combine to create this deep, dark, almost celestial cat-eye. We love it on the less traditional, albeit subtle, elongating almond-shaped nails. Still, any nail shape can rock this look; it’s incredibly versatile.
Nails need not be long to be statement-making. Short nails are the perfect canvas for this simple yet stunning cat-eye. Nearly black polish serves as the perfect backdrop for a pop of pink color.
24 Karat Gold
It doesn’t get more luxurious than a yellow cat-eye mani that shimmers like gold. To replicate, try something like Mooncat Treasure Trove ($16). And don’t forget to finish with a layer or two of top coat to keep it fresh.
These blue cat-eye nails are as beautiful as they are bold. Pretty purrrrfect if you ask us. If you opt for a matte polish, don’t forget about the finish of your top coat; a no-shine top coat is your best friend.
Cat-eye meets cosmic vibes in this black cherry-hued masterpiece. The long, square-shaped nails take us back to Y2K (and we’re not complaining) but the magnetic polish makes it modern.
It’s easy to wear black polish when you add a pop of green cat-eye color. Call it multicolored. Call it multichromatic. Whatever you call it, it’s gorgeous.
With a nude base, this look uniquely encompasses the cat-eye with the marbly color presentation on the actual line. To nail the teeny tiny lines, consider this 10-piece Mod Podge Detail Brush Set ($7).
The Speck Effect
This nail art takes the cat-eye inspo a bit further with gorgeous reflective specks that add even more dimension and shimmer. The black and blue color is also highly adaptable, so feel free to dress it up or down (or both).
Cat-eye nails traditionally play with jewel tones but this mani embraces all the colors of the rainbow. It’s also got a glamorous multidimensional shimmer. Needless to say, we can’t get enough.
This isn’t your traditional red mani. Going a shade or two darker than classic red lends richness while a faint rainbow-like cat-eye adds some flair. It’s perfect for fall, or any time of year for that matter.
Head in the Clouds
Nail art doesn’t have to be complicated. Here, all it takes is a streak of blue to elevate gray nails with a simple cat-eye design. So grab a bottle of Mooncat Head in the Clouds ($14) and get painting.
This iridescent polish reflects color and beauty, making it the fairest cat-eye look of them all. Consider adding some nail gems to really create a “wow” factor; after all, more is more.
Purple and Polished
The high shine of this topcoat might catch your eye first, but the longer you look, the more mesmerizing this purple combination is. If you’re unsure about this deep violet hue, not to worry, there is plenty of purple polish to choose from. Lacquer Set – OPI Empowerment ($38) is a good place to start.
Selecting a color to use for this trend can be a little overwhelming—good thing we have 10 fingers. Opt for a different color combo on every nail to get a multi-hued mani that puts the fun in funky.
Each nail comprising this mani is an artwork in itself, however, together they’re the complete oeuvre. We love the detail of color on negative space nails that echo those that are fully painted.
We’re not sure what we love more about this mani, its almond shape, glittery accents, or cat-eye design. Okay, it’s all of the above. We’re also lusting after the trending olive green color, in case you were wondering.
Brown might not be your go-to nail color—but it could be, especially when shimmer is involved. If you typically opt for nude nails, this brown cat-eye will give you a little something extra, not to mention, satisfy your ’90s nostalgia.
Gold and Taupe
Yellowy-gold and taupe may not be the first color combo that comes to mind for a manicure, but you can’t deny just how pretty this final product is. It tends to complement those whose skin has warm or neutral undertones best, just FYI.
Experimenting with different color combinations is encouraged when it comes to creating your customized cat-eye. Cirque Colors Bubbly Collection Set ($76) comes with six magnetic holographic polishes for you to mix and match. Meanwhile, a diamond accent nail—and diamond jewelry (if you can be so lucky)—adds some glam.
Green With Envy
The way this vibrant, deep emerald green reflects light is what cat-eye nail dreams are made of. To get the look, we recommend Cirque Colors Canabliss ($14). Try it on oval-shaped nails, as seen here, or your nail shape of choice.
For a more whimsical take on cat-eye nails, opt for a cotton candy color palette. A blue base with pink detail, or vice-a-versa, is sure to turn heads. Mooncat If Frogs Had Wings ($14) will help get you there.
Reminiscent of the sky at night, these dark jewel-toned colors combine to create a look that is out of this world. Jewel tones tend to work best on those with cool or neutral undertones; however, going a tad deeper in shade satisfies warm tones, too.
Part cat-eye, part gemstone. Black, gold, and purple blend perfectly to create an optical illusion IRL. And while the polish may be unconventional, the oval nail shape makes it classic.
Brown and Teal
The rich brown base color of this mani makes its teal cat-eye accent pop. By combining warm earth tones with cool jewel tones, this color palette will work on anyone, regardless of skin’s undertones.
Looking for a mani to match your unicorn makeup? Then look no further. These sparkly iridescent cat-eye nails are fun, flirty, and most of all, magical.
Deep purple nails are incredibly versatile. Consider adding a lighter cat-eye for added interest. Mooncat Beware, The Kraken ($16) is the magnetic polish that will get you this rich violet hue with glitter and a luminescent streak.
We liken this manicure, with its black base and shimmery blue topcoat, to a starry night sky. Wear it to a formal night out or to instantly dress up a more casual look.
Pretty in Purple
If you really want to kick things up a notch, swipe a glitter top coat onto your amethyst nails. It will finish the look while adding dimension and sparkle. What’s not to like?
Nail influencer Melanated Mani uses Mooncat’s reflective polish to create a multichromatic cat-eye look that has got us trippin’. To create your own bespoke mani, consider Sally Hansen Magnetic Nail Color ($20) with eight polishes to choose from.
The prettiest shade of blue paired with the most perfect metallic top coat is sure to turn heads. It’s super glossy and classic, but if you’re more into matte, it also translates well to nails sans shine.
How does cat-eye nail polish work?
Achieving a cat-eye nail look is often done with magnetic polish. This polish contains iron particles that come up to the surface when a magnet is held over it. This leaves the particles sitting at the top and creating that cat-eye effect.
How can I do a cat-eye nail polish look?
Creating this look is as simple as getting some magnetic polish and crafting your favorite design. Magnetic polish can be purchased as a regular polish or gel polish (which requires UV light) and typically comes with a magnetic tool. After applying the polish, create your preferred design by moving the magnetic tool over the nail without touching it and guiding the polish to where you’d like it to be.