From Moonlight to Velvet, 5 Summer Manicure Trends On The Rise

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The other day, a friend asked me, 'Are people still doing that glazed-doughnut thing on their nails?' I laughed, remembering where the trend all began — in an interview, Hailey Bieber told us that her manicurist rubs chrome dust over her nails and TikTok coined it the 'glazed doughnut' manicure. Obviously, the reach was global.
I offer that the concept of a glazed doughnut manicure is still very much in because of how versatile it is (you can add chrome to any base polish colour, which makes it kind of timeless). However, if you're thinking about alternative trendy nail art designs — maybe for a holiday party — we have a few ideas. Ahead, we're giving you the manis that our editors are wearing to mark the end of the year.

Velvet nails

A trend by a few different names — velvet nails, the cat eye, or magnetic gels — this look involves a sparkle polish and a magnet. To get the look, Refinery29 US Beauty Director Sara Tan went to a Lou’s Beauty Bar in Hermosa Beach, California and saw Mimi, an artist who specialises in Japanese gel manicures.
Basically, what happens is, you pick your base colour — a sandy beige is a solid neutral option — then the artist holds a magnet to the gel, which essentially lifts the sparkle to create a velour-like finish.
Truthfully, we don't really understand how this works. But here, nail artist Queenie Nguyen shows a closeup of her process. She uses the Velvet Vision Gel Effects Collection by OPI, which comes in six different shades — plus the magnet, of course. This isn't an at-home system, because it's a gel that has to be cured, but it's worth asking your local salon if they can recreate the look with alternative brands available in Australia.

Comic nails

"Have you ever heard of 'comic' nails?" was a question that recently dropped in our R29 Slack channel. I was clueless, but a bit of digging proved that 'pop art' or 'comic book' nails are circulating on TikTok. Celebrity nail artist Elle showed us her take. "For my version of the #PopArtNails, I chose neutral tones to make it more sophisticated and fun for fall," she says. On each nail, she outlined the neutral base shade with black polish and then added "a curved exclamation point" for the caricature-like 'pop.'

Red half-moon nails

Popularised by burlesque icon Dita Von Teese, the red half-moon manicure is experiencing a modern renaissance. Beauty expert Cat Quinn cites popular media as a big player in the trend explosion. In Don't Worry, Darling, Olivia Wilde's character wears a red half-moon manicure. We also see Taylor Swift wearing the same design in her 'Bejeweled' music video. Von Tesse makes cameos in both productions.
To try it: Use a small brush to trace around the arch of your cuticle growth (you can see this on your bare nail), then fill in the rest of your nail with polish. The result is minimal but classically chic.

Glass nails

The 'glass nail' trend comes imported from Korea. This is a gel manicure that uses foils to create the illusion of shattered glass on your fingernails. It takes a bit of time, as the foils have to be applied individually like a mosaic, but the result is super intricate. This manicure is one of my most complimented, ever.

Moonlight nails

We're slowly seeing an uptick in the trend of a 'moonlight' manicure. In essence, the style is a white nail with a reflective pearlescent finish. Here, Hannah Harris, the founder of Brown Girl Hands, shows the trend, wearing a press-on manicure. You could also try this trend at the salon, using a white pearlescent gel or dip powder. At home, you could use a white polish with a shimmer top coat.
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