Nail trends 2021


The year 2020 was particularly trying and interesting for the beauty world as a whole, but it was especially so for our nails. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw closure and timid re-openings of nail salons, an increase in eczema due to preventative handwashing, a call to end nail-biting in fear of contracting the coronavirus, and an uprising of at-home manicure techniques like press-on nails — all in less than one year. Seeing as we’re all in the dark about what 2021 will hold for our “normal lives,” the same can certainly be said for nail trends.

three side by side images of nail art ideas for 2021

Even nail artists and manicurists aren’t totally sure what to predict of the future, but they are confident about one thing: DIY nail trends are going to remain every bit as popular, even as professional manicures once again become a routine part of life. We asked them to break down which nail colors, art, and techniques are going to be big next year — based on their feedback, it’s going to look nothing like what we had predicted last year.

Here are the biggest 2021 nail trends to watch out for, according to the experts who know.

Multi-Colored Manicures

Learning to think outside the box was a necessity in 2020, and in 2021, people are going to apply that mentality to their manicures by painting each of their nails a different color. That’s what nail artist Elle (whose clients include Blake Lively, Emilia Clarke, and Laverne Cox) predicts. “This is for those that want to make a bold statement,” she tells Allure. And because the only skill this trend requires is knowing how to paint your own nails, it’s the easiest way by far to draw attention to your nails.

Plus, there’s no end to the different potential takes on this trend: Keep all of your polish in the same color family to create a light-to-dark ombré effect, use a color wheel to pick out complimentary shades, or let some of 2021’s new nail polish collections curate shades for you. Essie’s latest creation, the Not Red-Y For Bed collection, is a line of red, pink, and muted blues in glossy and metallic hues (and it launched early online). OPI and Olive + June will also be launching collections within the first couple of months of the year, so there’s plenty to look forward to.

With stress at an all-time high, people are looking for new ways to express themselves, and that’s why runway and editorial nail artist Gina Edwards foresees a spike in calligraphy and other hand-lettering on manicures soon. Given the A-list people who are already fans of this growing trend, she must be spot-on. Jennifer Lopez wore calligraphic nail-art to the American Music Awards in November, as did Billie Eilish in her “Therefore I Am” music video.

“Achieving this look at home works best on a press-on nail if you want to amp up your skills,” she advises. “If you don’t have a steady hand or the patience, a decal sticker is your next obvious choice.”

Static Nails make full sets of transparent press-on nails in all sorts of shapes and sizes — you can add your own hand lettering with nail polish and a fine-tipped brush. Otherwise, you can take the easy route with nail stickers in the font of your choosing (this old-English style from Amazon are intensely trendy).

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