The Swirly '70s Manicure Trend That Will Bring A Retro Aesthetic To Your Nails

From curtain bangs and trendy disco curls to flared jeans and platforms shoes, recent years have seen the undeniable influence of '70s fashion on current culture. Characterized by political unrest and an emphasis on individualized self-expression, this decade is associated with diverse, experimental styles, including bohemian, punk, and disco.

Modern appreciation of these styles manifests in revealing silhouettes (think miniskirts and halter tops), polyester and suede fabrics, and lots of psychedelic swirls. As hallucinogenic drugs became more common throughout the '60s and '70s, so did the trippy, multicolored prints they inspired. It's these psychedelic swirls that have been popping off within the nail art community, providing a retro vibe to manicures everywhere.

If you're looking to incorporate some '70s influence into your own nail design, these hypnotic patterns are definitely a great option. Coming in a wide range of colors and sizes, there's lots of room to experiment with this trend. For some vintage nail art inspiration, we've compiled some of our favorite renditions.

Cosmic colors

Whether you're getting a salon manicure or giving yourself an at-home manicure, make psychedelic swirls your own by choosing colors that speak to you. While earth tones such as green, brown, orange, and red are heavily associated with the '70s, you can take your nail art design in whatever color direction you'd like. For example, check out the nail set from @getnailedbristoll, whose psychedelic-printed nails are more cosmic than earthy. Regardless, they still feed our retro needs perfectly.

Negative space swirls

Another easy way to play around with this swirly '70s nail art trend is by experimenting with negative space. If you're unfamiliar, negative space refers to the areas around and in between an artwork's subject. While not as noticeable, it's often used to emphasize the actual focus of a piece of art.

An example of a psychedelic nail art look that utilizes negative space comes from @brushedbyb_. In this look, a pinky nude base makes up the negative space surrounding a red, orange, and yellow swirl for a truly striking effect. We also love the hand-drawn sparkle details and the continual flow of swirly lines from one nail to the next.

Flower power

Alongside psychedelic swirls, floral prints are heavily associated with the '70s, making the two a perfect duo for your nail art design. While five-petal flowers are often mixed into groovy patterns, you can really take your floral design in any direction you want to. We love how the daisy-inspired flowers look in this nail set from @beholdbeautyomaha, which also features a swirl in green, blue, red, and orange.

For your own '70s-inspired nail art, try pulling inspiration from retro floral designs for a flower-power look.

'70s motifs

In addition to floral patterns, the '70s has a host of commonly used motifs that can be easily incorporated into your swirl psychedelic designs for a groovy look. An example of this comes from, who shows off a nail set featuring cartoon smiley faces, pink mushrooms, and hand-drawn stars. All of these details work with the rainbow swirl design to create a truly psychedelic look. When designing your own set of swirly nails, brainstorm some shapes that you associate with the decade or search the web for some inspiration.

Psychedelic pink

The Barbiecore color palette works great with the swirly nail art trend to create a cute, girly look. For the uninitiated, Barbiecore is an ultra-feminine aesthetic inspired by the classic Barbie doll. It's been super popular recently, especially in anticipation of Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

The nail set from @pressedbycharlotte_ proves just how great the Barbie aesthetic meshes with a retro look. We love how the hot pink, pale pink, and white swirl design is both far-out and feminine.

Swirly French tips

While we love the boldness of psychedelic swirl patterns, you don't necessarily need things to be bright and colorful to follow this design trend. For instance, the look from @sweetsalonspa balances the '70s aesthetic with more muted, wearable colors. Two of the nails feature swirl-infused French tips, which gives the entire look a sense of classiness that works super well with the color scheme.

When planning your own psychedelic nail art, don't be afraid to pair the pattern with more traditional design elements, such as the beloved French tip.