Nail a Heart-Shaped Manicure in Time for Valentine's Day

Nail a Heart-Shaped Manicure in Time for Valentine's Day
Sarah Balch for InStyle.com
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Love is in the air, and thanks to this Valentine's Day–inspired manicure, at your fingertips. With more staying power than a pack of conversation hearts, a festive nail art design is one way to get into the spirit, regardless of your Feb. 14 plans.

In the spirit of all things Valentine's Day---plus a little inspiration from Meghan Trainor's Grammy nail art---we painted up a fun pattern that even nail art novices can master, and broke down the method into three easy to follow steps. All you need is a sturdy nail file, your favorite red lacquer, as well as your go-to base and top coats. Get our step-by-step instructions below!

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1. Start by filing your nails into a pointed shape, and round off the tips slightly so the sharp edges don't stick you, and follow with a layer of clear base coat like Deborah Lippmanns' Fast Girls ($20; nordstrom.com). If you don't want to change the shape of your natural nails, use a temporary option like the Impress press-ons in Pick Me ($8; drugstore.com), file them to a point, and skip the base coat.

2. Pick up a bright red nail color like Smith & Cult's Kundalini Hustle ($18; net-a-porter.com), and on one side, place the brush about two-thirds of the way up your nail to create a slightly rounded shape for the top of the heart. Sweep inward and direct the brush down toward your tip, then repeat on the other side, leaving an exposed V-shape in the middle. Apply three layers---the first outlines the shape of the heart, the second to even out the curves, and the third to finish.

3. Allow the color to dry completely to avoid smudging any red onto the exposed portion of your nail. Finish with a layer of top coat---we love CND's Super Shiny formula ($9; ulta.com).

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