"Jelly Nails" Are Trending On Instagram — & They're Perfect For Summer

Photo: Via @jessicawashick
Nails have long been used as a form of self expression. Thanks to their commitment-free nature, you can decorate your fingertips according to any given mood or moment — and nail artists like WAH, Madeline Poole and Imarni are leading the way in intricate and statement-making designs. We thought we’d seen everything — from pierced tips to surrealist scribbles — but a new micro-trend has emerged on our Insta feed: #jellynails.
With 4,000 tagged photos on Instagram – including Kylie Jenner's pink jelly nails, which have a Nike swoosh on the pinky and over 4 million likes – the look might just bring some sweet nostalgia to your beauty routine. Reminiscent of the jelly sandals we wore back in the ‘90s (such a look), we're seeing the translucent acrylics in a variety of shapes, colors, and finishes.
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"The trend is also known as glass nails," manicurist Michelle Humphrey tells Refinery29 UK. "Although it’s trending now, it’s actually been around for some time with OPI bringing out a Sheer Tint range back in 2014."
So how can we create the look? WAH Nails’ senior nail tech Holli Anna says, "Jelly nails are made by translucent colored acrylic being sculpted onto your nail. You place a foil under the nail and we apply the acrylic on top to the shape and length you want." Explaining that you can also mix glitters or encapsulate sequins in the color, she adds, "It’s really fun, Instagram-friendly, and the light shines through like crazy," making it all the better for summer.
While Michelle says you can recreate jelly nails at home by mixing a clear polish with a color and painting it on as usual, she advises that it's best left to a pro nail technician. Ahead, some of the best inspo picks to take to the salon today.
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@nail.lord
Because you're already making a texture statement, try one color on one hand, and a completely different shade on the other. Bright green and fuchsia are dueling tones that are both inherently '90s.
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A more subtle take would be to keep your jelly coat clear or blush-toned, jazzing it up with a glitter overlay.
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Nail artist Jessica Washick says she drew her inspiration from Jolly Ranchers and lip gloss, adding that this retro look is easy to DIY. "For the color, all you do is mix some top coat with a few drops of your favorite polish and voila: candy coated nails," she says, explaining that she applied clear tips and an extra layer of clear topcoat to complete the look.
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@beautythiccc
We can't think of anything that goes better with glossy, '90s nails than distressed denim.
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@thenailtender
The jelly finish and highlighter-bright color add playfulness to pointy acrylics.
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@dollfacedidit
Like glitter lipgloss, a designer emblem feels so '90s.
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@matsui.e
To make the trend modern for summer 2018, try half-dipping your jelly polish.
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@paintedbykerib
You don't need to add acrylics or extensions to try jellies, the subtly translucent technicolor rainbow looks just as cool on shorter nails.
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@luv_all_ova
Use a glittery jelly nail as a fun accent against an all-matte mani.
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@nail_swag
Ariana Grande's manicurist has been inundated with requests for clear, lucite nails, so you know it's on-trend.
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