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Why Now Is The Time To Embrace Shorter Nails (And Some Inspiration For Them)

It's time to get filing.

Perhaps now is the best time to give your nails a break - it could be more beneficial than you think.

Up until now, the most dangerous thing about your nails was their sharpness and even that isn't all that dangerous soon as your nail technician buffs them down. But experts have just issued a warning that anyone with long nails, natural or false, or those wearing extensions could be a Coronavirus risk.

According to the Center for Disease Control, coronavirus can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air, skin-to-skin contact, or through bacteria picked up by our fingers...or under our fingernails. Speaking to Insider, Dr Neha Pathak, a board-certified primary care physician who focuses on internal and lifestyle medicine, said that bacteria can sit under the nails and be transferred to your face and to others easily.

The undersides of our nails can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s important to abide by healthy manicure practices — always, but especially right now. That means washing your nails, thoroughly sanitising under and around them, keeping them away from your mouth (i.e. no biting) and cutting them short. 

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If you’re wondering how short your nails should be to lower this risk, GP and former orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chike Emeagi, Medical Director of Hampstead Aesthetics Clinic and Dr Chike Clinics told GLAMOUR that the ideal length was just above the nail tissue, explaining: “It is advisable to cut your nails as short as possible as they harbour infection.”

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Long, stiletto tips might get all the love but right now, short nails are the only option worth considering. One, they won't spread coronavirus as easily as long nails. Two, you can't get to a salon right now so you won't risk damaging your nails. And finally, they'll never annoy the hell out of you when you're clicking away on your keyboard, trying to button up jeans, or opening a can of diet coke. 

So, with that in mind, we've rounded up 12 surprisingly easy nail art ideas that you can do at home so you can fall back in love with short nails. 

pick a side

We're totally here for this twist on the two-tone manicure. Each nail is a little bit different, which not only keeps things interesting but it also mean you don't have to worry about precision. 

over the moon

We can't get over how simple this multicolour, half-crescent polish is. It'll probably take you five minutes at most. 

True Blue

If you're not one to get crafty with intricate nail art, but still crave an eye-catching design, check out this gradient option. With a different shade of blue on each nail, it's a dreamy contrast we can't stop staring at.

tres chic

If you think you need extra-long nails to do a French manicure, think again. By using slim lines, you're able to create a modern French that looks so pretty on short nails.

fire it up

This mani def isn't for the faint of heart. But if you want to go all out, this flame nail art is an extra colourful and fun option. 

that's all stripe

Parallel purple lines are so simple, yet have an elongating effect when they're thin and placed towards the middle portion of the nail.

spot on

A nail art hack? You can use a toothpick to create different-sized dots like these ones by Chillhouse. 

all that glitters

This one's almost too easy. Use a thin gold nail polish, swipe it down the centre of your nails, apply a topcoat, and you're good to go. 

a star is born

Who doesn't love a classic red manicure? And attempting the star accent on the ring finger will be sure to kill a couple of minutes.

after sun

This ombre, faded design by nail artist Michelle Humphrey can be recreated with any two colours. Simply paint on your first shade, and use a sponge to apply the second over the top.


If you want to rock a head-turning manicure but don't have the patience to sit and paint all your nails, consider this black and white half-and-half mani that confines the colour to just two nails. To recreate the look, use striping tape to trace clean lines for your base colour and finish with dots of contrasting black or white polish.


Here's another option for all you star lovers out there. Simply adhere a gold star sequin to the base of each nail with topcoat after painting on a classic French manicure.

Main image by @thehangedit on Instagram

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