Whether it's a spa-day birthday party outing or a mommy and me pamper date, chances are good you will come across some kiddos wanting a manicure. Sometimes moms bring their kids along to their bi-weekly manicure appointment and want a manicure for their mini-me too. Kids don’t like feeling left out, so if mom’s getting a mani, they will probably ask for one too.
An important thing to keep in mind when manicuring children is that they don’t sit still for long. These designs are the cutest options for a child when you’re not sure how long you have their hands for before they start wiggling and squirming. Have some fun pampering kids with these quick and easy nail designs!
1. Sticker Magic
Kids plus stickers seems like a no-brainer. Stickers are the best option because you can provide them with really adorable nail decorations with almost no dry-time or patience necessary. This is when having a “sticker book” comes in handy. A sticker book is a homemade binder filled with all the stickers your little client can choose from.
To ensure the stickers stay stuck through at least a couple weeks of play time, add some nail glue underneath the sticker in addition to the adhesive. Finish with a top coat for even more security.
2. Strawberry Dreams
If the child loves the strawberry shortcake doll, or just loves nibbling on strawberries — they will adore this strawberry manicure.
What you’ll need:
- Pink or red nail polish
- Green nail polish
- Black nail polish
- Dotting tool or another tool alternative
Simply paint each of their little nails red, pink, or alternate between red and pink. When that dries, add a little green sprout to the tip of their nail as the top of the strawberry. Then, dab on some black seeds over the surface of the nail. And there you have it, the cutest little strawberry fingers.
3. Polka Dots
What kid doesn’t love polka dots? Polka dots are also perfect for the kid who wants a ton of different colors and can’t decide which one. Simply give them a white base coat and start dotting on all the different colors they want. A cool hack about this design is that you don’t necessarily need the white coat to dry before adding on the polka dots. Get a dotting tool to make the polka dots perfect circles.
4. Lady Bug
Lady bugs are another kid favorite. This sounds like it would be complicated, but ladybugs have very recognizable attributes that can easily translate to the nails.
What You’ll Need:
- Red nail polish
- Black nail polish
- White nail polish
- Dotting tool
To nail the ladybug look, simply paint the first coat of red on each of their little nails. After that dries, paint on a thick black strip at the tip of the nail horizontally and a thin black strip down the center of the nail vertically. You can use a nail art brush for this part. Dot on black polka dots onto the red wings, and two black polka dots on each side on the black tip. It should resemble a ladybug with white eyes.
Oh, daisies. This super cute, happy-go-lucky design is another easy one. Have the child pick a base color. Light blue and light pink go great with this look.
What You’ll Need
- Base nail polish color
- White nail polish
- Yellow nail polish
- Dotting tool
The daisy petals will be simple. Just use your dotting tool and create 5 dots in a circle. Clean off the tool and go in with the yellow, as the center of the daisy. This is where you can engage their opinion: ask the child if they want big daisies or small daisies. Doing smaller daisies will leave enough space to add numerous flowers on each finger. Finish with a top coat to preserve your adorable design.
6. Skittle Nails
Another option for the indecisive kid who wants all the different colors is to paint a different color on each nail. This is a super youthful design for the mom who is concerned about getting her kid a manicure for the first time because she doesn't want them to grow up too fast. For a fun, child-like pattern, use colors they can find in their coloring box: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.
7. Glitter Fun
Kids sometimes find the most simple of designs to be the most glamorous. Let them pick out a nail polish that has glitter in it, or add loose glitter on top of whichever nail polish they choose. They will be admiring their manicure for weeks.
Pro Tip: Use Elmer’s glue as a base coat. This may sound crazy, but it makes the nail polish much easier to peel off when it’s time for removal. Acetone can be very harsh on their little fingers and some parents may go a little bonkers trying to remove it. Let the parent know you used Elmer’s glue as a base to make their life easier and they will definitely thank you for it.
Tips for Manicuring Kids’ Nails
Albeit little, small children can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to painting their nails. Here are some tips and tricks from the professionals when you're faced with a little kid who wants a cute mani.
Don’t Go Crazy with Nail Prep
Kids’ nails are much different from adult nails. Their nail plates are softer and thinner than grown adult nails, and contain a lot of water making them much more flexible. There is no need to buff the nail plate, a simple clip if needed and filing across the tip is more than sufficient for children.
Don’t Clip Their Cuticles
Due to their soft and thin nails, it is not recommended to remove the cuticle. The cuticle functions as a protection of the nail, keeping germs and bacteria out. If you clip their cuticles and accidentally cut them, it will not be a pretty sight and you can leave them susceptible to infection.
Make It Fun
Even though the purpose of soaking the nails is to soften the cuticle before clipping it, you should still give them a nice warm hand soak. This is part of the pampering process and you shouldn’t skip over it. If you skimp out on some of the processes they see their mom getting, they may feel left out. Give them a warm hand bath and drop some essential oil in it so it smells nice for them.
Quick-Dry Nail Polish
You don’t have much time before the average kid starts to get a little antsy. Choose a nail polish that is fast drying and stay away from adding on too many coats of polish. The more coats of nail polish you apply, the longer it will take to dry. Use a fast drying top coat, too.
Minimize Their Nail Polish Color Options
Kids don’t need hundreds of nail polish colors to choose from to be satisfied. We suggest showing them five to ten quick-drying nail polish options that you know go on pigmented in the first coat so you don’t have to re-apply — remember: longer drying time means more time for smudging.
Keep in Mind Why They’re There
Sometimes parents bring their kids in for a manicure to discourage them from nail biting. An adorable manicure could help stop them from biting their nails because they don't want to ruin the pretty design. This is an opportunity to remind them that if they bite their nails the manicure won’t last very long.
A great way to have little kids sit still for an extended period of time is putting on some of their favorite cartoons. Ask them what they like to watch and switch the salon TV over to something they will enjoy.
Giving kids manicures can be super fun. Unlike adults, they don’t have super high expectations and will likely be happy with whatever you give them. This is a chance to let the kids be creative and contribute ideas for how they imagine their nails with a finished manicure. Remember to have patience and don’t feel like you need to rush through it — after all, even if it’s not their money from their piggy bank, they’re a paying client too!