The Trendiest Nail Art Trends of the Season – And How To Get Them
With so many cool nail art ideas bombarding us daily on Instagram, Pinterest and other social media platforms, it’s hard to know what to start with. Nail art is a great way to express yourself, enhance your outfit, and stand out in a crowd. I love, on the days when I’m feeling low, to look down at my nails and smile as I wiggle my fingers – those little gems of color really cheer me up, and I’m always thinking up new designs. Luckily, so are lots of other nail enthusiasts, which means there are always awesome ideas to copy or adapt.
So, here I’m sharing with you some of my favourite nail art ideas!
1) Nail Stamping Kits
Nail stamping is a technique allowing you to stamp, or print, the design onto your nails via a plate with the design etched into it. Apply polish to this plate, then transfer the designs made on the polish to the stamper, finally using the stamper to apply the designs on your nails. Often the designs are highly intricate and complicated.
Once you’ve applied a base and top coat to your nails and allowed them to cure, follow these steps to create stunning stamped nails. Remember to work quite fast as the polish dries rapidly.
- Pick the plate with the pattern you want
- Paint a thick layer of the nail polish across the pattern
- Taking the scraper, pull it across the image, removing any excess polish
- Put the stamper on the image and firm press it over the plate in a rolling motion so that it picks up the polish on the image.
- Transfer the imageto the nail. The easiest way I’ve found is to use a rolling action from one side of the nail to the other.
- Clean up any messy bits and protect with one or two top coats. There you go, simple isn’t it!
2) Nail Stickers
Stickers are a great idea for quickly creating intricate and beautiful designs, simply. Here’s how:
- Ensure your nails are grease-free, clean and dry. Whether applying on bare, or fully manicured, nails, the stickers won’t adhere if there’s any grease or moisture
- Using tweezers, pick your chosen design off the backing sheet
- Very gently place the sticker on your nail, only pressing down with the silicon tool when you are completely happy with the position
- Make sure you smooth the sticker from the center to the edges which removes any trapped air bubbles. If your sticker is long and thin, smooth from the base to the tip
- Trim any rough edges from the stickers, making sure they follow the shape of your nails
- Apply two top coats over the entire nail, and cure as normal. That’s how to apply nail stickers like a pro!
3) Matte Nails
The trend for matte nails is hitting an all time high, and companies are remaking some of their best selling shades as matte colors to match the increasing popularity of this style. However, rather than stocking your mani kit with these new matte polishes, it makes sense just to concentrate on getting a decent clear matte top coat which can transform the shiniest top coat into a slick, sleek finish.
Matte polish contains a microscopically sized amorphous silica which affects the light reflection of the polish. This lowers the refractive index from high, which we see as glossy, to low which is seen as matte.
Many nail techs recommend applying nail hardener to ensure an even finish. However, and this is where it gets fun, adding the matte coat can make a huge difference to the color of the polish. One of my favorite ways to wear matte is over a metallic polish. This produces a unique crystal-like appearance, isolating every single fleck of sparkle – it’s truly stunning!
4) Nail Decorations
Blinging up your nails is one of the easiest, most lively ways to play with your appearance, and with the warmer weather just on the horizon, now is the perfect time to jump on those new, fun trends.
This year it’s all about bold colors and fun nail art, with eye catching graphic lines and rainbow effects trending big time. From gorgeous rhinestones to the most delicate real flowers designed specifically for manicures, this years look is all about you – expressing yourself, showing your individuality, and doing your own thing!
5) Diamond Nails
As much as I would love to wear real diamonds on my nails – or even just one nail, sadly it’s not to be. I tell myself that it’s for reasons of practicality, but we all know different, don’t we girls!
To make up for that, though, there are some fabulous faux stones out there, and 3D diamond nails are trending like crazy.
6) Chrome Nails
Along with diamond nails, chrome and holographic nails are pretty hot at the moment, and transforming your fingernails into small silver reflective mirrors is a mesmerizing process that even after doing it myself many times, still mystifies me. How does the silver colored powder metamorphose into a solid shiny surface?
Understanding how regular polishes work can help explain it. Polish is made from molecules called polymers that are dissolved in solvents. Once applied to your nails and exposed to air, these polymers meld together forming strong bonds that look, to our eyes, like a smooth surface. Almost immediately the solvents start to evaporate, leaving the polymers behind. This is what forms the polish surface.
However, gel polishes are different. They need the UV or LED light to activate the polymer molecule. The reaction from the polymer to the light causes them to form even tighter, more intricate bonds than with regular polish, hence gel polish has increased durability and longevity.
With metallic finish nails, once the top coat is almost hard, the nail is dipped into a powder comprised of glass, silver and pigment; in the case of holographic nails, miniscule flecks of holographic polyester are also added. This powder is gently rubbed in, and a clear coat of gloss applied and cured.
Now here’s the weird bit.
The powder, sandwiched between the coats of polish, never solidifies, even though it looks as though it does. If you were to magnify it multiple times, you could see there’s spaces between each of the powder particles, but with the naked eye, it looks solid, perfect and incredibly shiny. So, after a quick buff with a soft cloth, you can dazzle away with the best of them.
7) Holographic Nails
Like chrome nails, holographic nails offer a mesmerizing effect that changes according to light and your perspective! The process is very similar, and the same stunning effect can also be achieved by applying ordinary nail polish that includes microscopic reflective particles. The best part is that you can choose whether to have a relatively subtle mirror effect using nude colors, or a full, glamorous, holographic manicure. Whichever way you choose, the results are guaranteed to be out of this world.
8) Ombre Nails
I don’t think it’s any secret that I love a decent ombre nail. They are simple, yet so so chic, and work well with any color scheme and are surprisingly easy to create.
- Prep your nails as usual, applying base coat and curing
- Then apply the lightest shade of your ombre design as your base. If you want really popping colors, use white as your base color
- Apply some Vaseline around your nail to avoid getting color everywhere during the next phase
- Create your gradient by painting your ombre colors onto a small piece of paper. Use straight, wavy, horizontal, or vertical lines – whatever you wish, and make sure they slightly overlap each other
- Press your nail sponge onto the paper, transferring the design onto it.
- Carefully roll the sponge onto your nail, roll it left to right repeatedly until you’ve achieved the desired effect.
- You may need to repeat the steps for each nail
- Swipe on a couple of layers of top coat, and voila, perfect ombre nails
A different technique that produces the same effect, and can be used to create many more nail art designs, is to use an airbrush. These tools are great fun, and are really simple to use.
9) Crackle Nails
Crackle polish is so much fun, with endless color combinations! A dark color looks great with a light color, pick any two colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel, or experiment with a smooth polish, matte, glitter or another texture.
- Choose your colors. Apply a good quality base coat and cure
- Apply one or two coats of your base color and cure thoroughly
- Quickly brush on a thin coat of the crackle polish
- Because the polish shrinks after it is applied, you get a cracks as it dries. It normally takes less than 5 minutes for it to completely crack, so just be patient.
- Once it’s dry, apply a couple of top coats, and cure.
The resulting effect will look awesome, and every design is unique!
10) Rhinestone Nails
Just like diamond nails, rhinestones are appearing on nails everywhere, from celebs to the high street, and I just love them! 3D nail art is creative, imaginative and eye catching, and anyone can do it.
Applying Rhinestones with Nail Polish
Using polish to stick rhinestones on is never going to work longer than a day or two – so if you’re really stuck (sorry, had to be said) use it, but don’t rely on polish.
After applying top coat, allow the nail to dry slightly. Then, press the gem into the top coat when the surface is wet enough to set it, but not too wet that the gem slides or smudge. Then apply a top coat around the base of the gem, across the nail.
Applying Rhinestones with Glue or Resin
Nail glue is a strong adhesive that sets quickly. It’s important to make sure the polish is dry. or cured, thoroughly first, and it often helps to buff the shine off the area you plan to put the stones to aid adhesion. Always apply glue to the nail and place the stone on the nail using a wax-tipped tool for maximum control. Additional glue can be placed at the base of each stone for more strength.
Applying Rhinestones with Gel
This method is strong enough to adhere even the largest stones. No special surface preparation is needed. Simply apply gel and crystals directly over the cured color or set acrylic.
Choose a thick, stiff gel to set the gem, and while it cures under the lamp, turn your hands slightly to ensure the gel dries from all possible angles. If you wish, for extra security, then apply a looser, thinner gel around the base of each gem; this holds the stone firmly in place, like the prongs on a diamond ring hold the diamond in place.
Whether you cover your nails with rhinestones, or pick an accent nail, following this method will ensure the gems stay exactly where you put them, for weeks of glittering glamor. And once removed, clean them up ready for reusing – it’s the gift that keeps giving!