Painted and embellished nails have been part of beauty culture since approximately 3200 BC. From warriors wearing black kohl to Cleopatra in blood-red henna, from the creation of shiny Revlon in 1920, the debut of French manicures on 1975 runways, and the Claws we see today, nails make a statement.
With infinite options for colors, designs, nail shapes, lengths and styles, from gel to dipped to acrylic, the nail industry encompasses any and all moods and preferences.
There are some constants, and for decades the classics remain steady trends. Many people are opting for shorter nails and natural-looking manicures, and short and natural nails will never be totally out of style. This can include nude or sheer polishes, or even just a simple clear coat to add shine, emphasizing the clean girl aesthetic that is currently popular.
Similarly, soft and muted tones like lilac, baby blue, and pink are almost always popular for a gentle, feminine look, while muted earth tones like sage green and dusty rose are also on-trend.
On the other end of the spectrum, bold and bright colors are making a statement. Neon shades like electric green and hot pink, as well as jewel tones like emerald green and sapphire blue, are popular choices, as well as trendy nail art.
Intricate nail art designs continue to be popular, with everything from abstract patterns to complex floral designs. Negative space designs, where parts of the nail are left unpainted to create a graphic effect, are also on-trend.
One of the more popular takes on a longtime favorite is how the classic French manicure has been given a modern update with new color combinations, like black and white or pastel hues. Nail technicians are also experimenting with different shapes for the tip, such as diagonal lines or asymmetrical shapes.
There are also many celebrity-inspired nail trends you’ll see in magazines and on the streets. Rihanna is known for her singing and as a fashion icon, currently inspiring her preferred coffin-shaped nails in bold colors like bright red and metallic silver.
Kylie Jenner, previously known for her extra-long stiletto nails, is now paring that look down for a simple milky look that all the celebs seem to be preferring.
Hailey Bieber’s “glazed” nails have become a popular trend in recent months. The look involves applying a sheer, glossy coat of nail polish over a neutral base color, giving the nails a shiny, almost “wet” look.
Some nail technicians may also use a layer of clear gel polish to create the glazed effect, which can last longer than a traditional topcoat. To keep your glazed nails looking fresh, be sure to apply a clear topcoat every few days to maintain the shine.
There are no hard and fast rules for nails at certain ages, but there are some general guidelines that can help you choose a nail style that complements your age and personal style. If you’re in the mood to switch things up, going with a celebrity trend as a fun manicure is a great way to try something new and spice things up a bit!
Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose a nail style that makes you feel confident and beautiful, regardless of your age.