It’s getting increasingly difficult to keep up with all the nail trends popping up on social media. Sometimes, I feel like the best thing would be to just pick one favorite and go with it for the rest of the year. But it’s hard not to be lured in by all the absolutely stunning nail images that come through our feeds.
One trend in particular that caught my eye last year as I was doing research for another nails post was cat eye nails. I was so intrigued not only by the alluring beauty of these nails, but also the ingenious technique that was used to create them. I definitely had to find out more.
What are cat eye nails?
A cat eye nail is created with a magnetic nail polish that contains glittery metallic particles. After the polish is applied, a magnetic wand is used to move the particles around until the shimmer pattern resembles the iris of a cat’s eye. (I know, mind blown!) I was watching a cat eye nails tutorial and remembered back in middle school when we used to play with those magnetic iron filings in science lab. Who knew somebody would actually conceive of applying the same concept to nail polish? Amazing!
There are a number of magnetic nail polish brands out there so the product goes by different names like icegel, magnetic gel and magnetic glitter. You’ll also hear the term velvet a lot. Velvet refers to another design pattern where, unlike cat eye, the glitter particles are evenly dispersed instead of concentrated in one area. This gives the nail a textured appearance that mimics velvet fabric. The terms cat eye and velvet nails are often used interchangeably when referring to any magnetic nail polish design.
Do you think you’ll give cat eye nails a try?
If you’re not fully convinced to try them out just yet, here are some gorgeous cat eye nail designs and colors to inspire that upcoming (and no doubt well-deserved) trip to the salon. Settle in and enjoy the (cat)eye candy!
This metallic lavender is simply stunning!
2. The Cosmos
Staring at these black multi-faceted glitter nails makes me feel like I’m floating through deep space.
3. Pink & Brown
Two colors are better than one with this stylish light pink and brown combo.
4. Dark Green Cat Yeah
Black and green create the illusion of staring into a cat’s eyes.
5. Black Strands
These hair-like strands over a glittery champagne gold make for a unique and abstract nail design.
6. Purple Tips
These gorgeous purple French tips remind me of crystal rock candy. They look good enough to eat!
7. Pink Velvet Stilettos
These long shimmery pink stiletto nails are giving me edgy elegance.
8. Red Jellies
The shimmer pattern on these red nails makes them appear translucent, like jelly.
9. Snowflake Nail Art
The velvet effect here totally looks like a blanket of freshly fallen snow.
10. Swirls & Cat Eye Glitter
The combo of purple swirls and teal cat eye glitter is gorgeous and creative.
11. Velvet Flames
The dimensional shimmer makes these nails look like they are literally on fire! So cool!
12. Silver & Gold
These silver with gold tips are the definition of glitz and glamour.
13. Gray Velvet
These grey velvet nails are so 3D that they almost look like sandpaper.
14. Pink Ombre
These exquisite pink ombre velvets are the perfect wedding nails.
15. Pastel Velvet
Pastel velvet nails are perfect for Spring and Easter.
16. Red Cat Eye
These red cat eye nails are simply mesmerizing.
17. Nude Velvet Shimmer
You can’t go wrong with nude nails. But when paired with cat eye shimmer, they are next level chic.
18. Galaxy Cat Eye
Like our own Milky Way Galaxy, these nails are intriguing and hypnotizing to look at.
19. French Swirl
These swirly French tips are very sophisticated.
20. Silver Tips
French manicure meets multidimensional cat eye shimmer with these ultra chic and trendy silver tips.
21. Greenish Gray
This shade of grayish green is supposed to be a trendy nail color in 2023 so why not get it in cat eye.
22. Prismatic Copper
These long coppery nails were made for the limelight. Just look at how the shimmer is intensified by the light!
23. Starry Night Cat Eye
This gorgeous muted blue cat eye resembles a night sky filled with stars.
Can we just take a minute to talk admire how these nails are reflecting light like the pool water?! These alluring aqua blue nails have to be my favorite of the bunch.
25. Siamese Cat Eye
Ok, I know we’re talking cat eye nails here but why is this entire photo giving me Siamese cat vibes? Not sure if the nail artist intended for this but it’s beautiful and clever nonetheless!
Opulence and luxury are what I think of when I look at these shimmery emerald green nails.
27. Blue & Purple Gradient
Everything about these blue and purple nails is perfection!
28. Black Velvet
Black velvet nails are as grand and lavish as the fabric.
29. Silver Studs Nail Art
Adding silver stud 3D nail art to an already super glitzy velvet nail takes this mani to next level glam.
30. Goth Cat Eye
There is something mysterious and alluring about these long black and red cat eye nails. Also, they remind me of Morticia Adams.
31. Olive Velvet
As with all velvet and cat eye nails, these olive green velvets are classy with a splash of glam.
32. Hollow Hearts
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, these exquisite pink cat eyes with heart outlines are just the ticket.
33. Feline Paws
It’s all feline vibes with these silver cat eyes and claw-like shape and length to match.
34. Magenta Cat Eye
With magenta being named 2023 Color of the Year by the Pantone Institute, I had to include a gorgeous cat eye nail in the breathtaking hue.
This cat eye pattern reminds me of the luminous gas and dust clouds in outer space where stars are born, hence the name.
36. Taupe & Silver
The deep brown contrasted with the silver pigments is a rich and beautiful combo.
37. Minimalist Cat Eye
For a cat eye nail that’s a bit more subdued, these are clean, short and practical with just a hint of glam. Nothing too over the top, of course.
38. Pink Velvet & Hearts
Here’s another pink cat eye nail with hearts that’s perfect for the day of love, or any day for that matter!
The purple ombre motif and shine factor of these nails make it look like a purple star just exploded.
40. Champagne Cat Eye Tips
This French mani with champagne gold cat eye tips is proof that you can combine the classics with the trendy and get pure perfection.
41. Pretty in Pink
These long almond pink velvets are exquisite and very femme.
42. Sheer Elegance
The subtle shine of these sheer velvet nails gives them an elegant, quiet-confident vibe.
43. Black & Orange Cat Eye
I could stare at these mesmerizing orange and black cat eyes all day.
44. Green Velvet
The light green shimmer and delicate snowflakes give these nails a very zen vibe.
45. Cosmic Purple
This is what I imagine it would look like if I woke up one day and the entire sky had turned purple.
46. Multichrome Cat Eye
This combination of violet and red with blue shimmer is simply spellbinding!