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The art of the manicure is all about experimentation. In the new year, maybe you got into shaping and painting your nails at home in an attempt to save money. It's possible that TikTok influenced you to try the red-nail theory that had many of us wearing (and considering the subliminal messaging of) Big Apple Red.
This spring, there are more trends to try. Given the state of the economy, it stands to reason that many of us will be DIYing the designs, trying a hand (literally) at a micro French or just a simple, single colour manicure. Here, we give you a mix, so whether you're heading to a salon or painting your nails at home — realistically, you'll do both this season — here are some ideas to inspire.
For spring, we're seeing mirrored metallic nails swing back into the trend sphere. Kim Truong, an L.A.-based nail artist, says this will be less of a glazed-donut vibe, and more colourful. "More intense than a glaze, metallic can be achieved in bright colors which will be perfect for the summer," says Truong. Opt for a fun base tone — like this deep teal — and then add the white chrome powder to make it metallic.
On TikTok, one of the new trends is the "milky" manicure. What makes a manicure dairy-like? Your nail polish colour should be a white or on the white-pink spectrum (more strawberry milk) and it should be opaque but still glossy. You can do a milky French, adding a thin white tip, or just keep the neutral milky tone on its own. Here, Truong uses a Japanese gel polish, but you can get the same tone with CND Romantique, OPI Pink to Envy, or Manicurist Paris Gloss.
If you're looking for something brighter, try neon orange. "For festival season, I’m expecting to see colourful, neon shades," offers Truong. "A trick to making your neon polish really pop is to apply white underneath." In this example from Paintbucket, we're seeing an interpretation of the "aura" or "blooming gel" manicure with a neutral pink-nude base and and large tangerine ombré orb at the centre of each nail.
If you have yet to try the mismatched manicure — your left hand has one design or colour and the right gets another — spring is the time to try it. If you're into press-on nails and have a few boxes at home, mix two different designs in the same manicure. Or, you can just use regular polish. A green and blue, maybe. Or, a peach and yellow, as seen in this example by Chillhouse. Given that we're heading into a new season with many transitions ahead, this is a perfect design to keep in your 'Saved' folder.
Pink Lip Gloss
Truong predicts that tones of sheer pink will be popular as we move from winter into spring. Truong recently told R29 how to achieve this look: Mix a solid pink colour with a clear top coat, which will make the polish more translucent, or gossamer, like the lip gloss aesthetic.
A big plus: This style can act as a reset when you've been wearing chrome-dusted nails and you want something less shimmery but not totally bare.
Pearlescent polish plus 3D gel, gives us the jellied oyster nail art trend. It's subtle, but if you look closely here — this nail art by Los Angeles artist Mary Grace Koh — you'll notice that a few fingernails have these raised, semi-amorphous droplets. It's a Korean nail-art trend, so if you're looking for something similar, I'd recommend seeking out a Korean nail salon or studio in your area.
Instead of wearing the same design across all ten fingers, combine a few different colours and designs (we're partial to navy and pearl) for a mismatched manicure, a trend that will continue to feel fresh in 2023.
According to Rachel Glass, the founder of NYC-started salon brand, Glosslab, the French manicure continues to hold a title as the most popular nail art, across cities. However, the 2023 update is a micro French. "The thinner line of this micro French mani is super subtle and chic," Glass offers.
The micro French is not a new trend, but we love when it cycles through for a few reasons: it's minimalist, you can bring in any colour you're into at the moment (black is fresh), and it looks great on short nails.