A Polished Look
What’s trending in nail art and which type of manicure is right for you By Allison Pollock-Pugh
As the days get longer and the sun pushes away the winter darkness, the world wakes up and brings out the colors of spring. This weather and nature shift is a sign that it’s time to refresh and retire our dark, moody manicures until next year.
Manicured nails are a great way to achieve a polished look while keeping your nails healthy and showing off your personality and style. Manicures let you experiment with colors and trends without the long-term commitment (like cutting bangs) or high price ($300 balayage, anyone?). But, with nail art trends going viral, and so many types of manicures, it can be overwhelming to keep up on what’s new and which option is right for you.
There are a few factors to consider when choosing your best manicure option. Think about your lifestyle, budget, current trends, upkeep, and how long you want the manicure to last. So, whether you like short minimalist nails or embellished gel-nail extensions, we’re breaking down manicure basics and trends for the season.
The classic manicure shapes and uses traditional polish on natural nails. A gel manicure is the same process as the classic manicure, but a gel polish is used and cured under a UV light. For an acrylic manicure, a combination of liquid monomer and powder polymer is layered over the nail, then polished. For a dip powder manicure, a base coat is applied, and the nail is dipped into a pigmented powder and sealed with a top coat.
Many factors contribute to the appointment duration and how long your manicure lasts, but here are some averages. The classic manicure takes about 30 minutes and lasts around seven days. A gel manicure takes about 30 minutes and lasts two to three weeks. Acrylic manicures take 45 minutes and last two to three weeks. Dip powder manicures take one hour and last up to four weeks. The time it takes for your manicure depends on the style, design, and nail technician. If you’re short on time, ask your nail technician for a time-estimate before getting started.
Long nails make a bold statement, but the short nail trend is growing—and people are opting for combination shapes that work for short to medium-length nails. Square and oval nails are considered classic shapes, but the “squoval” is taking over for the in-between look it offers. For people who want more space for design or embellishments but don’t want the full-stiletto point, almond-shaped nails are the go-to. Coffin-shaped nails are another combo option on the rise, allowing for ample design space while merging the slant of the stiletto nail with the square tip.
The natural length and shape transfers over to colors with neutral and earth tones becoming more prominent. Although bare nails with a clear coat or glazed, pearly sheen embody the natural vibe, the color doesn’t have to be a light shade. From a “vanilla latte” color to burnt neutrals and grounding earth and gem tones, the colors can be vibrant and bold. With the 2023 Pantone color of the year announced as Viva Magenta, brighter colors found in nature add a little pizzazz.
Try different styles to shake up your manicure. Milky colors allow a slight shadow of your natural nail to be seen through the polish. Adding an accent nail of a different color or sheen adds fun detail. Top an opaque color with a subtle chrome layer to make your nails glossy and slightly iridescent. Try a French manicure with a twist—a barely there French with very thin, fine white or colored tips. Rather than an abrupt color transition on your French manicure, blend the colors gradually to create an ombre look. Reverse either style to mix it up even more.
Accents and Embellishments
From rhinestones and nail piercings to experimenting with matte and gloss topcoats, adding accents and embellishments maintains popularity. Whether you want hand-drawn designs, patterns that depict your favorite fabric, stickers, nail jewels, or something new, 3-D nail art provides a lot of flexibility. Nails are truly customizable, and whether you go for minimalistic basics or bright, bold patterns, your nail art can be as subtle or as attention-grabbing as you want.