How to Create Kawaii Nails for When You’re Feeling Cute

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The term “kawaii” is a Japanese word that means “cute” and “adorable.” It also refers to an art form or a fashion style that features cartoonish characters, accents such as bows and hearts, and are prominently pink. Kawaii nails comprise a genre of nail art that embody these characteristics.


What is Kawaii?

According to the the Collins English Dictionary, kawaii is defined as a “Japanese artistic and cultural style that emphasizes the quality of cuteness, using bright colors and characters with a childlike appearance.”


Based on Wikipedia’s history of kawaii, the original definition came from Lady Murasaki’s The Tale of Genji, where it referred to pitiable qualities. During the Shogunate period, women came to be included under the term kawaii as the perception of women changed from animalistic to docile.


However, the earlier meaning survives in the modern Standard Japanese adjectival noun kawaisō. This means “piteous, pitiable, arousing compassion, poor, sad, sorry.” Etymologically, it refers to face flushing/blushing/projecting, reflecting, or transmitting light seeming/appearance.”


Forms of kawaii and its derivatives are used in modern dialects to mean “embarrassing/embarrassed, shameful/ashamed” or “good, nice, fine, excellent, superb, splendid, admirable.” These are in addition to the standard meanings of “adorable” and “pitiable.”


Talk about a confusing term! For this entry, however, let’s stick to the more positive definition of kawaii, which is cute and adorable.


Kawaii Nails Tutorial

Victoria Simpson (@vics_nails) shares a quick video tutorial of this nail art on her Instagram account.



According to the nail artist, she used the following products to create the cute nail art:


  • from TuxPolish:

    • Cyber Monday 2016 for the base,


@tuxpolish Cyber Monday 2016 🖥

A post shared by Victoria Simpson (@vics_nails) on


  • from OPI New Zealand:

    • Alpine Snow,
    • 5 Apples Tall,
    • What’s the Double Scoop,
    • I’m Sooo Swamped,
    • I Manicure for Beads,
    • Suzi Without a Paddle,
    • Pale to the Chief,
    • Squeaker of the House



  • from Color Club Nail Lacquer:

    • Where’s the Soiree
  • from Bundle Monster:

    • Kawaii Emoji BM-XL323 stamping plate, stamper, and scraper
  • from Mitty:

    • Candy 00 detailing brush to color in the stamp



  • from My Bliss Kiss:

    • Simply Neat Miracle Mat (silicon mat)


Last pic of this super cute kawaii design! See my previous posts for details and tutorial 💖🍦🎂🍫

A post shared by Victoria Simpson (@vics_nails) on


If you are interested in creating your own Kawaii nails, Etsy has a number of nail art items available here.


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