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K-Pop Nail Art Inspired by All K-Pop Generations

9 min read

Need new dip mani inspo? K-pop nails are the way to go.

Yes, there’s more to K-pop than meets the ears. This South Korean pop music IS a delightful music genre to listen to, but beyond the catchy choruses (and kickass choreographies!) are fashionable idols in aesthetically pleasing music videos or marketing promos — a perfect combo for your Pinterest dip nail inspo board.

Vintage, Monochromatic Black, and Pastel Nail Designs as seen on K-Pop Idols

But before we travel deeper into the world of dip powder nails inspired by the audiovisual delight that is K-pop, here's an FYI for those new to this music genre that goes beyond Oppa Gangnam Style. (Eh, sexy lady!)

What is K-pop?

K-pop is short for Korean popular music. This genre was born in the early 1990s, way before the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync even came out with their self-titled debut albums and way before Britney Spears crooned "Hit me, baby, one more time".

In the K-pop world, the artists run the gamut from soloists to boy bands or girl groups, and they are called "idols".

The evolution of K-pop is characterized by "generations", and that's how we're going to categorize the K-pop nail designs in this article.

(Interested in more K-pop behind-the-scenes stuff? Turn on your Netflix, look for Explained Season 1 Episode 4, and learn about this global music phenomenon from South Korea.)

Now, let's get back to discussing what you came here for... K-pop nails... where the designs go from bold to pastel colors with simple to intricate details. Here are the nail looks you can recreate using DipWell Dip Powders.

1. Vintage Nail Designs

Dip Mani Inspo: K-Pop First Generation (1990s)

The origin of idols is said to have started with Seo Taiji and Boys back in 1992. Thanks to their debut hit, "Nan Arayo (I Know)" — a pop song that incorporated Western-style sounds. Other K-pop idol groups, like H.O.T. (Highfive Of Teenagers) and S.E.S. (Sea, Eugene, Shoo), soon followed in the late '90s.

Even way back then, you can spot the colorful rainbow colors that are synonymous with K-Pop style and fashion today.

Look at this photoshoot of H.O.T., for example.

H.O.T., the first idol group (image via Koreaboo)

It's an oldie but a goodie, and it can be your inspiration for your next dip manicure session. To do an H.O.T.-inspired dip powder nails, follow this tutorial on Neon Stripe Nail Art Using Dip Powder.

In the words of Paris Hilton, "That's hot!"

To create the neon stripes nail design, use the following dip powder shades — all from the Neon Dip Powder Collection.

  • NE 11 - Neon orange dip powder color
  • NE 05 - Dayglo yellow dip powder color
  • NE 12 - Neon green apple dip powder color
  • NE 22 - True ultramarine blue dip powder color

BONUS DIP MANI INSPO ALERT!

The first generation of K-pop superstars is not all about the multi-color trend. Not at all.

As shown in these old photos of Seo Taiji and Boys and S.E.S., these first gen K-pop idols also dipped into the monochromatic look accentuated by classic plaids and striped prints.

Seo Taiji and Boys, the first K-pop group (image via KProfiles)

S.E.S., the first K-pop girl group (image via Amino)

For monochromatic dip powder nails with a vintage twist, we recommend the following looks.

Dip Mani Tutorial: How to Do a Half-Moon Mani

Try the following dip powder colors, then create a half-moon design (or other irregular moon shapes for that matter).

  • CL 6 - Fire engine red dip powder shade
  • CL 2 - Bright leafy green dip powder shade
  • NE 22 - True ultramarine blue dip powder shade

Don't forget to check out the Vintage Nail Designs: Retro Dip Powder Nail Art in 2021 blog post for more nail inspo.

2. Monochromatic Black Nail Designs

Dip Mani Inspo: K-Pop Second Generation (Early 2000s to Late 2000s)

The monochromatic, coordinated trend extended until the second generation when the South Korean pop idol industry began to evolve. (And, frankly, you can still see this go-to, matchy-matchy look among most K-pop idols to this day.)

Lest you think it's all about bright colors or pastel shades when it comes to K-pop fashion, an all-black outfit is actually a favorite among the second generation K-pop superstars, such as Rain, Big Bang, Se7en, Wonder Girls, and even the third generation-ers EXO (EXOPLANET) and Psy (Gangnam Style creator).

Image sources: Photoro, Daily Kpop News, Amazon, and China News

For nail art inspired by the K-pop 2nd generation, here are your chic black manicure options with silver, yellow, and white accents.

Wonder Girls and BigBang-themed nail art courtesy of Nails At Home and Nail Art Online

Glam up your nails with these black-themed looks using the following dip powders.

But if you want truly all-black dip powder nails without the bells and whistles, you'd love our matte black nails with glossy tips.

Dip Mani Tutorial: How to Create Matte French Mani

For this simply glamorous look, you'd only need CL 64 True Black dip powder and your usual dip liquids.

BONUS DIP MANI INSPO ALERT!

The second generation is not bereft of more vibrant colors, of course. If you're not into the moody look, here's a more colorful nail art option inspired by the second gen K-pop idols SHINee's music video for their song "View".

Image source: Not Your Average Nails

It looks a bit similar to our Summer Sunset dip powder nails. Just switch the colors and add in the letterings!

Dip Mani Tutorial: How to Do Ombre Dip Powder Nails for a Summer Sunset Look

To achieve this Shinee look-alike mani, grab the following dip powders.

  • GL 23 - Neon dip powder shade with blue-green glitter
  • CL 15 - Monarch orange dip powder shade
  • NE 17 - Bright magenta dip powder shade

3. Heart Nail Designs

Dip Mani Inspo: K-Pop Third Generation (2011-2018)

Here’s another K-pop term for you: Hallyu (aka The Korean Wave). It’s a term coined to describe the global boom of cultural exports from South Korea.

When the South Korean pop idol industry went international, there was no stopping third generation-ers BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan or Bulletproof Boy Scouts) and Blackpink from dominating the overseas audience's attention. They're arguably the most popular K-Pop boy group and girl group in existence.

Around this same time, another cultural export from South Korea emerged: The Finger Hearts. What in the K-pop universe are finger hearts? Simply crisscross your thumb and index finger, and... voila! You just created the shape of a teeny finger heart — the gesture of choice whenever K-pop idols pose for photos.

Their penchant for the heart shape can also be seen on their album covers and official merchandise.

Image sources: The Korea HeraldiBigHit, and Target

For nail art inspired by the K-pop 3rd generation, don't hold back on designing each fingernail with hearts.

BTS and Blackpink-themed nail art courtesy of Lacquer Lover, Not Your Average Nails, and Nail Designs

The easiest look to recreate is the first BTS-inspired nail art on the left. To do this gradient mani in varying shades of pink and coral, use the following dip powder shades, some of which are from the Classic Dip Powder Collection and Naturale Dip Powder Collection.

  • PA 14 - Ultra-light, pink neutral dip powder color
  • CL 55 - Sparkling cool blush dip powder color
  • CL 03 - Warm watermelon dip powder color
  • NA 15 - Classic bubble gum pink dip powder color
  • GL 27 - Iridescent glitter dip powder

For a much simpler heart nail art, you may also choose between the two nail looks below.

(left) Dip Mani Tutorial: How To Encapsulate A Heart Glitter Mani

(right) Dip Mani Tutorial: How to do Pink Gradient Nails with Heart Design

For both these heart nail designs, you'd need the following pink dip powder colors.

  • PA 14 - Ultra light, pink neutral dip powder shade
  • PA 01 - Delicate, cool pink dip powder shade
  • NA 15 - Classic bubble gum pink dip powder shade
  • NE 15 - Bold magenta dip powder shade

BONUS DIP MANI INSPO ALERT!

If you're looking for more shapes other than the heart, you can try this K-pop nail art inspired by the third-gen idol BOL4's single "Leo".

Image source: Not Your Average Nails

It looks perfect for spring! To add in a glow in the dark effect to it, try on our Electric Sky Cloud Design.

Dip Mani Tutorial: Glow in the Dark Nails

Get these dip powder colors from the Glow In The Dark Dip Powder Collection, and give the BOL4 mani a glow-up.

  • GW 05 - White by day, light green dip powder shade in the dark
  • GW 04 - Light blue by day, electric blue dip powder shade in the dark

4. Pastel Nail Designs

Dip Mani Inspo: K-pop Fourth Generation (2019-present)

You've learned about BTS, now meet TXT. Tomorrow x Together (or TXT for short) is one of the latest K-pop superstars that make up the fourth generation (although some would argue it's only the 3.5th generation). Among the other fourth gen K-pop idols are Ateez, Stray Kids, and Itzy, just to name a few.

This group may be comprised of K-pop idol rookies, but they've definitely nailed the pastel game like a pro — from their music videos to other promotional materials, right down to their outfits and hair color that's spring-worthy.

Image sources: The Korea Herald, We Heart It, Quotev, and ♥Isa Mara♥

For nail art inspired by the K-pop 4th generation, you can opt for simple symbols or detailed designs.

TXT and Ateez-themed nail art courtesy of ベルMorelia More, and Killua Moon

Recreate these looks with the following dip powder shades from the Pastel Dip Powder Collection.

  • PA 04 - Light coral pink dip powder color
  • PA 11 - True yellow dip powder color with a hint of sparkle
  • PA 14 - Ultra-light, pink neutral dip powder color
  • PA 15 - Light green dip powder color with tints of blue
  • PA 17 - Super light, translucent blue-gray dip powder color

In case you missed it, we've also recently showcased various pastel nail designs, including the nail art featuring our newest dip powder colors from the Milky Dip Powder Collection.

(left) Dip Mani Tutorial: Milk Bath Nails with Milky Dip Powder

(right) Dip Mani Tutorial: How To Apply A Pastel Gradient Mani

To recreate the look from the Milk Bath Nails tutorial, you'd need the following non-shimmer milky dip powder colors.

  • MK 01 - Creamy white milky dip powder shade
  • MK 03 - Bashful blue milky dip powder shade
  • MK 05 - Pastel purple milky dip powder shade
  • MK 07 - Strawberry pink milky dip powder shade

BONUS DIP MANI INSPO ALERT!

We can't get enough of Itzy's pastel pink-haired member, Ryujin.

Image source: Ryujin Pics

The hair! The outfit! Doesn't this look just scream springtime?! And you bet we have a dip nail design to match it.

Dip Mani Tutorial: Pink & Blue Color Block Nail Art with Dip Powder

To create the dip powder nails version of Ryujin's look, all you need are these two dip powder shades:

  • PA 14 - Ultra-light pastel pink
  • GL 42 - Medium blue with glitter

Aaand that's the end of your K-pop nail inspo + K-pop idol introduction. =D

If you're new to the K-pop style, these four K-pop nail art categories inspired by the superstars of each K-pop generation are a good place to start.

And if you want to go all-in and match your new K-pop nails with some K-pop outfits, here's some fashion inspiration for you: 

We can't wait to see what K-pop nails and outfit pairing you come up with!

Share your pictures with us on Facebook (Dipwell’s Dipper Club) or Instagram (@dipwellnails). As always, use the hashtag #DoYouDipWell). <3