How To Do Cow Print Nails: A Creative Guide to Achieving Fashionable Bovine-Inspired Nails

July 25, 2023 6 min read

cow nail art

Love for animal print nails is an undying one and has been with us for decades now. But, unlike cheetah or leopard print, which have been around for a long time, cow print nails are the real hit of the last couple of years.

And it's not hard to see why! After all, cows are absolutely adorable. Cow print has been conquering the fashion world, with various pieces of clothing and accessories all in black and white spots, and it was only a matter of time before we'd see it used in nail art.

If you dream about having a cow-inspired manicure and pedicure, you're in the right place. Below we present our How To Do Cow Print Nails Step-by-Step Guide, and no need to worry -- it's beginner-friendly, so you can create cow print nails at home, by yourself or with your friends, even if you don't have that much experience in nail art, to begin with.

Let's discover how to do cow print on nails in a few easy steps!

Getting Started

Gather the necessary supplies for cow print nails

You'll need a few things to accomplish this manicure. You should acquire:

  • Base coat nail polish;
  • White and black nail polish;
  • Dotting tool or toothpick;
  • Nail polish remover and cotton pads;
  • Nail file;
  • Top coat nail polish.

As you can see, you really don't need much to perfect this look. Most of these things you already have in your nail art tool kit, but if you're missing some items, feel free to browse through the ella+mila assortment to find high-quality nail products completely safe for your nails.

Prepare your nails for the process

Now the fun begins! Preparing your nails for what's to come is an important step of the whole process and should not be underestimated. It will determine the end results.

Start by cleaning your nails, removing any old nail polish with nail polish remover and cotton pads. Then use a nail file to shape your nails to the desired effect. Once you're done with that, apply a base coat to the nails to protect them from other products. This will make the removal process much easier too.

Creating the Base

Start with the white base. Reach for your white nail polish and apply one, even coat. If you deem one coat insufficient, you can apply a second one. Remember to give your nail polish enough time to dry between each coat. The key to success is to try and apply thin layers of product. This way, the effect will be more aesthetically pleasing, and you won't have to wait a long time for nail polish to dry.

With your base ready, you can move on to creating black cow spots.

cow nail art

Adding the Cow Print

Begin by creating irregular black patches

Once your base is completely dry, start applying irregular black patches of nail polish onto your nails. Now this doesn't have to be perfect. Quite the contrary. You want to achieve irregular shapes and sizes, resembling real cow spots.

If you're not sure of your skills, start with small patches. It's always easier to add more product than to remove the excess.

Use the dotting tool or toothpick to create black spots within the patches

Step two of this process involves reaching for the dotting tool, toothpick or bobby pin to create realistically-looking cow print spots. There is no one good technique for this, as natural cow spots are irregular in size and shape. So even if you don't have a steady hand, it's actually working in your favor.

If you feel like you need additional help, just google pictures of some adorable cows and try to recreate their spots and patches.

And, if you're performing this nail art print the first time, you can go one by one, moving forward to the next nail once you're happy with your results. This way, your black nail polish won't dry out before you get the chance to shape it properly.

Refining and Perfecting

Clean up any mistakes or smudges with a small brush and nail polish remover

Now that you've achieved cow prints on your nails, it's time to do some clean-up work. You can take a small brush or a cotton-tipped swab and polish remover to remove the access of nail polish near the edges of your nails. Don't hurry through this process. Precision is the key here.

Touch up any areas that require additional black or white polish

Before the final stage of the manicure, you have the last chance to introduce some changes. If you feel like some of the patches could be better, don't hesitate to add a little bit of black. Work until you're happy with the effect.

Apply a layer of top coat to seal the design and add shine

At the very end, don't forget about applying a top coat. It's a crucial step, as this will significantly prolong the longevity of your manicure, giving you the chance to enjoy your cool nails and have fun with some amazing fashion choices to match them for much longer.

The top coat is what seals the deal, and if you're looking for a very delicate yet effective product to lock your new print nails in place in no time, we have just the right thing for you. Our In a Rush (Fast-Drying Top Coat) is "17-Free," which means it doesn't contain harsh chemicals like Formaldehyde, Parabens, Sulfate, and many more.

It dries in less than 3 minutes, offering you a beautiful shine that will make your new cow nails pop off. Check out ella+mila's collection of nail care products for unmatched quality at affordable prices.

Creative Variations and Inspiration

In the world of print nail art, the boundaries of imagination do not exist. You can do anything, go anywhere, discover new color combinations and finishes, and bring out more blink or matte, depending on your mood and vision!

Here are a few ways in which you can switch up a classic cow print nail manicure to something unexpected and interesting.

Explore different color combinations for a unique twist on cow print nails

That is probably the easiest way to make your cow print steal all the attention of your friends and admirers. While most cows we see are black, white, and brown, the same limitations do not apply to nail colors!

So, if you love purple, make your cow patches using vibrant Purple Reign. If you want to bring some meadow vibes to your manicure, reach for Green with Frenzy. Those who love some unconventional solutions will fall in love with our Fourth Wish nail polish which offers all the red energy one may require in their cow print nail art.

The base doesn't have to be white, either! There are many absolutely stunning colors to choose from, and that in itself can be a worthwhile part of the whole process!

Experiment with some sparkles

The colors are important, but there are other aspects that can elevate your cow print nails to a whole new level -- one of which is using nail polish with glitter and sparkles to achieve the desired effects of cow's spots.

Now, this may not be for everyone, as one -- the look is definitely eye-catching, and two -- it may not be the easiest to accomplish. Most glitter polishes need a good base to really shine through, so the best effects are achieved when you apply them on cow spots in your base color (like black or any other color you chose for this).

But that kind of precision and skill may be out of reach for manicure beginners. However, if you're not afraid of failure and want to experiment with this method anyway, Starlight or Congo Bongo could really help you make your cow manicure even more special.

Maintenance and Longevity

When it comes to maintaining your cow print nail art, it doesn't really differ from any other type of manicure. The important thing is to always apply a top coat to protect it from chipping and losing spark. You can reapply our top coat polish every two to three days, depending on your needs.

It's also quite beneficial for the longevity of your nails to avoid doing any chores and activities that would deteriorate your manicure. This includes washing your dishes or cleaning the house with the use of cleaning products while not wearing gloves.

Following these simple recommendations should ensure your nails will look fantastic for many days!

Cow Print Nail Art Frenzy – Final Thoughts

As you can see, achieving the iconic cow print nail art is not so difficult. You need a handful of supplies, some free time, and a lot of enthusiasm. Even if your nails won't come out perfect the first time, it's all about the joy of creating something fun and silly to get you through the hot spring and summer months.

Check our Blog for more inspirations, and don't hesitate to share your homemade cow nails with us! See you next time!