23 Smiley Face Nails That Will Make You Happy

Updated on November 8, 2023
Lauren Long By Lauren Long
Lauren Long

Creative Writer, Lifestyle Blogger, and Skincare and Wellness Enthusiast

Table Of Contents

    Smiley Face NailsPIN

    23 Smiley Face Nails That Will Make You Happy

    “If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it,” – Andy Rooney.

    Smiles are the universal symbol of positivity and happiness. A simple smile sets the tone for a kind conversation. Smiling can lift your spirits and change your mood.

    When it comes to smiley face nail designs, you have many options including:

    1. Hand-painted smiley faces
    2. Smiley face nail stickers
    3. Smiley face nail stamps
    4. Press on smiley face nails

    If you’re looking for inspiration for your next salon or at-home manicure and want to give the happy face trend a try, we’ve got 23 of the hottest smiley face nail trends to show you!

    How to do Smiley Face Nails Video Tutorial

    Want to do smiley face nails yourself? No problem, follow this easy step-by-step video tutorial.

    Trippy Smiley Face Nails

    Woah…are your nails like…moving?

    Since the era of flower power, there’s been a trendy appeal to make a welcoming smiley face look like they’re on a psychedelic trip. Trippy smiley face nails feature a wonky-looking smiley face and color patterns with nail art intended to create trippy optical illusions.

    With the increased cultural acceptance of cannabis oils and products with psychedelic healing properties, it’s no wonder trippy smiley face nails are trending! Smiley face nails with a trippy edge are the perfect smiley face nails design to wear to festivals.

    Black and White Smiley Face Nails

    Traditional yellow smiley faces are almost always associated with color. Black and white smiley face nails put a spin on classic smiley face nails with a monochrome design. Colorful smileys draw a lot of attention and can look tacky when paired with more formal attire.

    White and black smiley faces are a more minimalist way to wear smileys on your nails that goes with every outfit.

    X Smiley Face Nails

    Looking for a smiley face idea with a slightly morbid twist? Smiley faces with x eyes depict shock, embarrassment, or even death! When people wear X smiley face nails, it’s usually indicating a little sarcasm like “I wish I were dead”. The X smiley is one of those punk and grunge anti-establishment symbols inspired by the iconic 90s band Nirvana logo.

    Smiley Face Acrylic Nails

    Smiley Face Acrylic NailsInstagram@_gudluks_PIN

    If you want a large canvas for smiley nail art, go for artificial nail enhancement like smiley face gel nails or acrylic. Acrylic nails use tips to extend the length of the nail while providing a durable and long-lasting nail surface. Smiley face acrylic nails allow you to fit multiple smiley faces or incorporate smileys with other nail art and designs.

    Black Smiley Face Nails

    Black Smiley Face NailsInstagram@gloss417PIN

    Those who wear black nail polish show traits of confidence and creativity. Get creative with your smileys and go for black smiley face nails. Yellow, green, and pink smiley faces pop on black nail color. It might be an intricate nail design to achieve if you’re not a professional nail artist. To the nail salon we go!

    Yellow Smiley Face Nails

    The classic yellow smiley face has a rich cultural history. Graphic designer Harvey Ball first copyrighted it in 1963. He created it as a cheerful symbol for Mutual Life Assurance Company as a reward for well-performing staff.

    Yellow smiley face nails maintain the positive vibes of the traditional yellow smiley. These adorable canary yellow happy faces are sure to put a smile on your face!

    Smiley Face on Middle Finger

    A smiley face on the middle finger sounds like a bit of an oxymoron? That’s the point. Channel your inner rebel by placing a positive symbol on the finger that tells the world what to go and do with itself. We love how these cute nails add a little edge to the middle finger’s smiley face.

    Cute Smiley Face Nails

    “Cute nails!”


    So many smiley face nail ideas try to give the welcoming smiley face an edgy twist, but it’s effortless to make smiley face nails look cute. We are, after all, talking about a symbol that represents positivity and cheer… and there’s nothing that brings more cheer than something cute!

    Cute smiley face nails are adorable when you pair the happy face with light colors and pastel acrylic nails in colors like eggshell blue.

    Zohna Tip

    Do a cute smiley face nails tutorial for kids at your next family gathering to keep them entertained!

    Nirvana Smiley Face Nails

    ‘Nevermind’ this nail idea; it just smells like teen spirit. The 90s grunge band Nirvana impacted pop culture, as their iconic dead-eyed smiley is worn all over. With the early 2020s modeling the grunge style of the 90s, it’s no surprise that Nirvana’s smiley face nails are blowing up! There are multiple theories for why Kurt Cobain chose this intoxicated smiley for the Nevermind album color, but most say it’s the expression his fans had at his concerts.

    The table below shows the differences between a classic smiley face and the Nirvana smiley face nails.

    Classic Smiley Face Nirvana Smiley Face
    • Dot eyes
    • Curved, single line mouth
    • No tongue
    • Yellow face with black features
    • X-shaped eyes
    • Squiggly mouth
    • Tongue out
    • Black face with yellow features

    Dead Smiley Face Nails

    Don’t be such a killjoy! It looks like the cause of death was different for each of these smiley faces. Dead smiley face nails are like x smiley face nails but feature a dead smiley on every single nail. It’s a little morbid, but it’s one way to wipe a smile off someone’s face!

    X Eyes Smiley Face Nails

    Get creative, and put an x eye smiley face on a cute nail design. These long coffin acrylic nails are vibrant and colorful, with multiple designs and themes. X eyes smiley face nails are pretty popular, so we leave it up to you to get creative and make yours unique!

    Smiley Face Press Ons

    Press-on nails are the easiest way to get artificial nails and smiley face nails all in one. Smiley face press-ons feature flawless smiley face designs and are applied in as little as 15 minutes.

    Benefits of press-on smiley face nails:

    • Inexpensive alternative to salon manicures
    • DIY at home
    • Easy application
    • Last up to two weeks
    • Less damaging to natural nail bed than acrylic nails

    Pink Smiley Face Nails

    Playful pink manicures never go out of style. If you want a girly smiley face nail design idea, go for pink smiley faces on a clear nail bed or pink ombre nails. Add a little glitter to make your happiness shine through!

    Black and Yellow Smiley Face Nails

    The classic smiley face has two colors: yellow and black. Black and yellow smiley nails are a minimalist choice for a smiley face manicure with color. The easiest way to do yellow and black smiley face nails is solid black and yellow happy face nails. Painting a yellow smiley face on black nails can be tricky, or you can opt for the easy route and apply smiley face nail stickers.

    Clear Smiley Face Nails

    Show the world how happy you are; these nails will make it loud and clear! Smiley faces stand out on oval nails with a clear background. Clear smiley face nails are simple and sweet and not too colorful.

    Short Smiley Face Nails

    Life’s too short not to try the smiley face nail trend! Smiley face nails are a design that works for every nail length and shape. Short smiley face nails are a whimsical way to decorate natural nails.

    Zohna Tip

    Decorate short nails with smiley face nail stickers or use smiley face craft stickers and seal them with a clear top coat.

    Smiley and Frowny Face Nails

    If you’re not sure about smiley face nails, these ought to get you in the mood! Happy or sad, whatever your current mood is, smiley and frowny face nails show it all. Creativity points go to these pinky-purple smiley nails for sneaking in an adorable angry face with horns.

    Smiley Face Gel Nails

    Gel nails are a godsend if you want a large canvas for nail art without damaging your nails. Smiley face gel nails make happy face nail art appear clean and polished. The smooth, manicured shape of the gel nail makes smiley face nail designs look like a work of art!

    Rainbow Smiley Face Nails

    Taste the rainbow! Rainbow smiley face nails are perfect for pride month. These beautiful rainbow smileys feature a pastel gradient design with a simple happy face. Rainbow nails are cheerful and optimistic, making them an excellent choice to brighten up a dull day.

    Colorful Smiley Face Nails

    Nothing lifts our spirits more than a bright, colorful manicure. Colorful smiley face nails are a playful way to add personality to your nails. Bright pastel colors like these are perfect vacation or summer coffin nails.

    White Nails with Smiley Face

    Have a little fun with plain white nails by adding a cute smiley accent nail. White nails with a smiley face allow you to rock the smiley trend without drawing too much attention to your nails. Add a smiley face to a new nail every time you have a good day.

    Smiley Face Flower Nails

    Check out these flower power nails! Happy faces and flowers naturally go together. Smiley face flower nails are super girly and playful to add cheer to your manicure.

    Long Smiley Face Nails

    Damn! These extra-long smiley face nails are so trippy. Long nails provide a canvas for creative nail designs. Hand paint smiley decals if you’ve got an artistic eye, or apply smiley face stickers to elongate the appearance of your nails.

    Smiley Face Nails Meanings

    Don’t feel limited to having a generic single-lip smiley face on your nails. With the increasing use of emojis in social media and telecommunication, we’ve learned emojis have meanings in urban communication.

    From the infamous meaning of the eggplant, which we need not explain, to the not-so-well-known symbol of a lemon emoji and its connection to female empowerment after surviving infidelity, thanks to Beyoncé.

    We aren’t here to break down the meaning of every emoji you might want to include on your nails. The chart below provides the meaning behind the most popular smiley faces (and not-so-smiley faces) you want on your smiley face nails.

    Smiley Face Meanings
    Neutral Smiley Face
    • Depicts a neutral sentiment
    • Conveys mild irritation and concern
    • Deadpan humor
    Winking Smiley Face
    • Signals a joke, flirtation, or hidden meaning
    • Playful and affectionate
    • Suggestive or ironic.
    Grinning Smiley Face
    • General pleasure
    • Joy and cheer
    • Excitement
    Upside Down Smiley Face
    • Conveys irony and sarcasm
    • Goofiness or silliness
    Unamused Smiley Face
    • Conveys negative emotions
    • Signals irritation, irritability, or skepticism


    • How to do Smiley Face Nails

      Smiley face nail art isn’t always as easy as it looks. When it comes to hand-painted nail designs, they never turn out as well as they do on paper with a pen.

      The easiest way to start with smiley face nail designs is by using white or nude nail polish as the base color and adding a classic yellow and black happy face. Smiley face nails aren’t hard to do, but it is a timely process, as you will need to allow each coat of polish to dry completely to avoid smudging the decal.

      Follow these step-by-step instructions for how to do smiley face nails at home!

      What you need for smiley face nails:

      • Nail buffer
      • Nail file
      • Cotton pad
      • Acetone-based nail polish
      • Orangewood manicure stick
      • White or nude base color nail polish
      • Yellow nail polish
      • Black nail polish
      • Toothpick or thin nail art brush
      • Slender nail brush or liner paint brush

      Here’s how to do smiley face nails step-by-step:

      1. Prep nails: Push cuticles back with an orangewood manicure stick. Use cotton soaked pad in acetone to clean the nail bed. File nails to the desired length. Buff nail bed with a nail buffer.
      2. Apply two or three coats of white or nude nail polish to get a solid, opaque color
      3. Allow the nail polish to dry completely. An LED lamp will speed up the process.
      4. Apply a top coat and allow it to dry.
      5. Use your slender nail brush or liner paint brush to draw a yellow dot about 1/3 of the size of your nail bed. Allow the polish to dry. Apply a new coat and allow it to dry. Repeat the process until the color is opaque
      6. Use a toothpick or nail art brush to paint on two dots for the eyes and a smile with black polish. You should only need to do this once.
      7. Allow nails to dry completely.
      8. Apply a second top coat and dry until the design is smudge-proof.
      9. Apply nourishing cuticle oil to keep your nail skin hydrated.
      10. Take a photo of your smiley face nails and post it on social media! #zohna

    Smiley Face Nails: Never Out of Style

    Have we put a smile on your face with so many designs for inspiration? Smiley face nails may not be perfect for every occasion, but the smiley is a symbol that never goes out of style ????