For many of us, getting a manicure is a self-care write-off. It takes time and money, yes, but there's just something about carrying around nice fingernails (insert your adjective of choice: long, rounded, neutral, bright) that makes the hard things in life feel just a teeny bit easier. Of course, you can always do your own nails at home — grab a polish bottle or a box of press-ons and the glue they come with — but nothing can replace the full value of a salon manicure, especially if you're looking to have it all handled: shaping, gel extensions, and the pièce de résistance in 2022: nail art.
We've been charting the rise of nail art for the past few years, and the trends in designs have evolved. While there's no colour or design that's certified 'in' or 'out,' because your art aesthetic is personal and subjective, there are a few fun looks that are predicted to be really-trendy this coming year, according to artists, creatives, and industry pros. To find the inspiration to bring to your next appointment, scroll through the 2022 nail art trend report, ahead.
Glazed Doughnut Nails
In a recent interview, Hailey Bieber told R29 about the manicure everyone has been asking her about. Fans have been calling the aesthetic 'glazed doughnut' for two reasons: It plays off of Bieber's brand of skin care, and because the high-gloss sheen kind of resembles a sheer coat of icing. "I do one thin layer of a color and then I rub chrome dust over it," Bieber tells us. "Well, my nail artist Zola does." So, the trick, if you're at the salon: Ask for a thin layer of sheer polish (OPI Funny Bunny is your best bet), with a chrome dip powder, like Tin Man also by OPI.
Sojin Oh is a nail artist who has made lifelike, amorphous nail art her M.O., creating custom designs, like "amoeba nails" for Euphoria's Hunter Schafer and jellied "koi fish nails" for Normani. Her clients come specifically for her 3D gels, like these, which are rapidly becoming more mainstream. "I think people are starting to realize [3D art] is not as intimidating as it seems," Oh explains. "[The art looks] more like little sculptures on your hands, rather than just polished nails."
Blue Nail Art
If you're looking for the shade of-the-moment, many artists are gravitating towards art with tones of blue. "2022 is all about 50 shades of blues," says nail artist Queenie Nguyen, who recently constructed this negative-space design with a cobalt blue OPI polish. It's both calming and refreshing at the same time.
"Embellished French manicures are everywhere right now. Think of it as a typical French manicure, perhaps in a fun colour, with some other design element accompanying it. This trend is a fun way to spice up an otherwise-ordinary nail look." - Emily H. Rudman, CEO and Founder of Emilie Heathe
Hoops & Charms
"Crazy add-ons, such as hoops and nail charms, will make a strong appearance across manicures in 2022. When it comes to our nails, we don’t necessarily prioritise practicality over making a bold statement. Choosing a nail design that you want to show off to everyone you come in contact with will always spark joy — or, at the very minimum, a conversation." - Chaun Legend, Celebrity Nail Artist
"I believe the swirl nail art trend will continue to be popular throughout 2022. It's fun and versatile: it can either be muted, with earth-tone colours, or really fun, if done with bright, vibrant colours. Depending on the colours you use, this trend can be worn in any season." - Alexa Liberatore, Nail Artist and Founder of Facile Nails
"The combo of different art on every nail is big! We will see a lot of fun colours and pattern combos, whether it be with nail decals, press-ons, or hand painted art, all in the same manicure. The options are endless, which allows people to let loose with their creativity." - Liberatore
"A clean, bold-coloured manicure — like hot pink or red — brings a sense of fun and vibrancy back to people's lives. We've been living through some tough times, and nail art has been a highlight for many of my clients. Their love and appreciation for nail art has grown, I believe, after the salon shutdowns of 2020. Some of my customers have told me that 'nail day' is the highlight of their month. Looking down at shiny, sparkly little works of art on their fingertips is a reminder of who they are: awesome people carrying on with life, enjoying the little luxuries of pretty nails, even on the hard days." - Mia Rubie, Nail Artist and Founder of Sparkle SF Salon
"I hope to see confetti-style glitter looks start trending in 2022. They are just so festive, fun, and go with any ‘theme’ or season. Last year was all about neutral/muted tones, so this year I'm hoping for something a bit more bold and bright to bring happiness to everyone!" - Rebecca Ludwig, Nail Artist and Educator
"Right now, I've been drawn to gradients of green — nods to new starts, growth in winter, and the beautiful range that exists in a single colour. [It's] a theme we explored earlier this season with a JH polish collaboration with the talented @sojinails, who designed an otherworldly interpretation of JH greens with a swirled, three-dimensional layering with our colours Eames, Patina, Artichoke, and Compost." - Jess Hannah Révész, Founder/Designer of J. Hannah
"A two-toned French manicure is an easy way to step up a nail your nail game and take it to the next level! It's so versatile, you can pair it with almost any colour." - Brittney Boyce, Celebrity Nail Artist and Founder of Nails of L.A.
Pink + Black
"I love it when boys defy the norm and wear pink! It's a really excellent contrast colour that looks great as a base with simple black nail art to create that extra pop. I created this look using UN/DN LAQR polish in Party Favour and Depressionist." - Boyce