Life Style

Cat-eye Nails Are Taking Over Our IG Feeds—Here Are 30 Ways to Wear the Trend

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).

01of 30

Celestial Sky

Green and blue cat eye nails
@DORAS_NAILS_EUPHORIA / INSTAGRAM

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.

02of 30

Pink Shimmer

Cat eye manicure
@NAILSBYVICKYKINGSHEATH / INSTAGRAM

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.

03of 30

24 Karat Gold

gold and yellow cateye nails
@_ARTISUN / INSTAGRAM

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.

04of 30

Something Blue

Blue cate eye nails
@NAILSBYFRIKIKI / INSTAGRAM

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.

05of 30

Black Cherry

Cat Eye
@ELWIRAJANKOWSKA.MAKEUP.NAILS / INSTAGRAM

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.

06of 30

Multichromatic

Cat eye nails
@RAINBOWNAILED / INSTAGRAM

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.

07of 30

Lines Only

Clean and linear cat eye nails
@NAILPROMAGAZINE / INSTAGRAM

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).

08of 30

The Speck Effect

Cat eye nails
@XMEDZIKX / INSTAGRAM

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).

09of 30

Shimmery Rainbow

Cat eye manicure
@MOONCAT / INSTAGRAM

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.

10of 30

Radiant Red

Earthy Rainbow
@MRSCELLAR

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.

11of 30

Head in the Clouds

Minimalist cat eye nails
@MOONCAT / INSTAGRAM

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.

12of 30

Mirror Image

Shiny mirror cat eye nails
@TOPTENNAILSHAYWARD / INSTAGRAM

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.

13of 30

Purple and Polished

purple and polished
@BEGIRDA.NAILS

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.

14of 30

Multicolored

Multicolored cat eye nails
@MOONCAT / INSTAGRAM

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.

15of 30

Negative Space

Cat eye manicure
@NAILSBYMAISYC / INSTAGRAM

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.

16of 30

Green Almond

Green almond cat eye nails
@_UNIQNAILS / INSTAGRAM

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.

17of 30

Brown Shimmer

Brown cat eye nails
@SANDIAS.NAILS1989 / INSTAGRAM

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.

18of 30

Gold and Taupe

Gold and Taupe
@NANALOVESNAILS

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.

19of 30

Colorful Combos

Colorful cat eye manicure
@MELANATED.MANI / INSTAGRAM

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.

20of 30

Green With Envy

Green cat eye nails
@MELANATED.MANI / INSTAGRAM

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.

21of 30

Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy cat eye nails
@MOONCAT / INSTAGRAM

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.

22of 30

Jewel-Toned

Jewel-colored cat eye nails
@MELANATED.MANI / INSTAGRAM

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.

23of 30

Moody

Cat eye nails
@XMEDZIKX / INSTAGRAM

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.

24of 30

Brown and Teal

Brown and teal cat eye nails
@MELANATED.MANI / INSTAGRAM

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.

25of 30

Unicorn

Ocean inspired cat eye nails
@MOONCAT / INSTAGRAM

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.

26of 30

Purple Haze

Purple cat eye nails
@NAILPROMAGAZINE / INSTAGRAM

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.

27of 30

Stardust

Cat eye manicure
@_KILLER_NAILZ / INSTAGRAM

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.

28of 30

Pretty in Purple

Purple and pink glitter cat eye nails
@MOONCAT / INSTAGRAM

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?

29of 30

Expedition Atlantis

Cat eye manicure
@MELANATED.MANI / INSTAGRAM

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.

30of 30

Breathtakingly Blue-tiful

Blue cat eye nails
@XMEDZIKX / INSTAGRAM

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.

FAQ
  • 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.

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