15 Purple Swirl Nail Ideas That Put a Playful Spin on a Regal Color

zoomed-in picture of hand with fingers curled into palm, with swirly purple nail art


If you want to take your manicure to the next level, go for multiple shades of purple. It’s fun and unexpected and works perfectly for swirly designs. To create this same look, follow Lauren’s exact method and go in with OPI’s Baby, Take a Vow ($12) for the base. Then, for the fun purple swirl moment, switch off between OPI’s Abstract After DarkViolet Visionary, and OPI ❤️ DTLA ($12 each).

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Minimalistic Purple

zoomed-in picture of hands wearing gold rings popping out of purple sweater, with nails in neutral color and shades of purple with white swirls

@thehotblend / Instagram

Seeking a purple moment that’s more on the minimalistic side? Look no further than this masterpiece created by Alexandra Teleki. Go for a pinky-neutral base and choose two shades of purple, using them to draw swirls on the bottom corner and top corner of each nail. Keep the base visible in the center, and outline your purple with two thin, white, squiggly lines.

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Pastel Swirls

zoomed-in picture of hands wearing gold rings peeking out of nude sweater, with nails painted in neutral base with white, blue, and purple swirls

@heluviee/ Instagram

Pastel shades will always be in style, and we love how these lighter hues look together. To copy this mani, start with a base coat (stick to something neutral). Then, grab purple, white, and blue polishes, painting swirls on each nail.

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Revolving Violet

zoomed-in picture of fingers popping out of chunky orange knit sweater, with nails painted in neutral base with purple accents and thin white squiggle lines

@anetaujwary/ Instagram

Turn heads with a revolving violet manicure. We think the matte base and chic white squiggles are what really makes this set stand out.

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Retro Waves

zoomed-in picture of hands peaking out of chunky knit sweater, with neutral pink base on nails and pink and purple french tips and swirls

@lolo.nailedit/ Instagram

We’re always here for a retro moment, and when we saw these wavy nails, we immediately wanted to recreate them. All you need to do is go in with your favorite nude base color. Then, create French tips, alternating between purple and pink. To complete the look, take those same purple and pink shades and swipe on thick waves.

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Purple Squiggles

zoomed-in picture of hand with gold rings and manicure, with bare base and swirly pops of purple

@phoebesummernails/ Instagram

You can’t go wrong mixing and matching purple hues, and that’s exactly what Phoebe Summer did with this fab mani. Unless you’re confident in your nail art skills, we suggest heading to a pro to emulate this look. They’ll be able to freehand the starry details with ease.

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Shimmery Purple Ripples

zoomed-in picture of hand wearing gold ring peeking out of black knit sweater, with nails painted sparkly purple with light purple swirls

@brushedbyb_/ Instagram

Make the whole place shimmer with a sparkly mani. To copy this purple ripple effect, all you need is a sparkly purple polish and another satin purple shade that’s a touch lighter. Coat your nails with the sparkle shade, cure it, then top it with swirls in the lighter hue.

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French Spirals

zoomed-in picture of nails with french white tips and purple and blue swirls, wearing chunky rings

@amyle.nails/ Instagram

Simple and chic, this set puts a playful twist on the classic French manicure. After creating a traditional French mani and letting it cure, go in with purple and two other polish shades. Paint them in swirly motions next to each other, going over the white tips and even the base.

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Billowing Purple Velvet

zoomed-in picture of hand wearing gold rings popping out of white long sleeve, with nails painted in velvet-like purple swirls

@brushedbyb_/ Instagram

One thing we like about purple is its versatility—it looks good on just about anyone and can be worn year-round. And this billowing purple velvet design might be one of the most beautiful on this list. Opt for a neutral base coat on the middle three nails and top with a swirly purple velvet polish. (Creator Brittney Ellen used Cirque Colors’ Dream Within a Dream, $15, for this set.) Then, paint your outer two nails entirely purple.

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Periwinkle Swirls

zoomed-in picture of fingers curled in, with neutral base and different shades of purple swirls on each nail

@lolo.nailedit/ Instagram

Who knew there were so many shades of purple? We’re swooning over the subtle flow of this purple and periwinkle mani, and it’s all too easy to do yourself. Start with a neutral base—like OPI’s Put It In Neutral ($12)—then grab five purple shades for each nail, drawing them on in swirls.

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Purple Swoosh

zoomed-in picture of nails, each painted a different color with swirls in shades of purple, orange, pink, light blue, and cream

@chalkboardnails/ Instagram

If you’re drawn to abstract shapes and designs, this purple swoosh manicure is for you. We love how each nail is a touch different, but the color palette remains the same. Choose a purple, pink, orange, blue, and cream, then get to work, alternating your bases and swirls. (And tbh, we think this could work with any color palette.)

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Cartoony Purple

zoomed-in picture of hands showing off manicure with light pink neutral base and pink and purple swirls on the top separated by black lines

@nuka.nails/ Instagram

This cartoony purple mani is giving pop art in the best way. If you love the look of these nails, all you need is a neutral-pink base coat to kick things off. Then, for the fun part, alternate between purple and two other shades of your choice in a swirly motion. Finish up by outlining the swirls with a thin layer of black.

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Abstract Purple

zoomed-in picture of fingers curled in, with neutral base and thin swirly lines of purple and lilac

@digitzbydev/ Instagram

Life is short—go for the abstract nails. We can’t get over this abstract purple manicure (and think it especially looks great on the almond shape).

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Gradient Squiggles

zoomed-in picture of nails with neutral base and swirly lines of purple, going from lightest to darkest, horizontally

@aliciatnails/ Instagram

You can achieve this gradient mani in just a few simple steps. After coating your nails in a base color reminiscent of your natural nails, draw on horizontal squiggles in five shades of purple, going from darkest to lightest to create a gradient.

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Purple Whirls

zoomed-in picture of hands with nails in long rectangle shape in dark and light purple with squiggle snake design going across every nail

@digitzbydev/ Instagram

For this whirly mani, all you need are two shades of purple and a steady hand. Paint one hand in a darker purple and the other in a lighter hue. Then, draw some swirls in the opposite color on each, and you’re done.


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