The simplest outfit can be turned into something extraordinary with the right presentation. Accessories, hair, nails -- you’ve got to own that look from foot to fingertip. But, you don’t need to come up with that dazzling nail presentation all on your own.
More than anything, unique is what it is all about heading into this summer. Let these latest nail fashions help guide you, then make them your own. We’ve got the inspiration if you’ve got the imagination.
Nail Style Trends in 2020
They say there’s nothing new under the sun, although a few of the trends below might still surprise you. 2020’s popular nail styles are the evolution of classic favorites, a few manicure ideas carried over from 2018, and some comeback stories.
What Is In
- Brazen individuality is hot right now...
From celebrities’ Instas to high fashion’s runway, quirky, dramatic, and otherwise, personalized manicures and nail art are being totally embraced.
Acrylic and gel manicures have always trended towards the bold since they’re meant to be put on and seen, but there may never be a better time than the present to make your nails a truly personal statement.
- ...Yet also restraint and minimalism
When it comes to your perfect nail polish style, there may be no room for compromises. Go big -- we promise that no one will tell you to go home.
But if you’d like to simply dip your toes (or in this case, fingers) into this bold manicure trend, the smaller scale may be the right look for you. You won’t need an art degree just yet -- a single, playful line down the middle of a solid color, or the traditional French manicure painted in nontraditional colors, are also totally chic ways to get unique.
Whether seeking a base to paint a masterpiece or a masterpiece of color in itself, here’s a breakdown of the best in style nail colors for summer and beyond:
- Nudes & sheer
- Neutrals -- mauve, grey, peach, brown
- Black & white
- Pinks -- soft, hot, coral
- Pastel & matte
- Sunny yellow, dark green, vivid purple
- Metallics & glitter
- As always, red
What Is Out
Few nail styles are ever really “out” for good. They are merely resting, trending down. What is a manicure if not whatever you want it to be that week? Fashion, after all, ebbs and flows, coming in waves and waiting for no one.
To stay on fashion’s good side, consider avoiding these 2020 no-nos:
Disdain for short and natural -- you should never be a nail snob, but especially since this look is having a big moment. Feel free to play with a cut and buff or clear coat styles.
Moody colors -- for warm weather, at least, don’t get caught with dark, brooding nails. If you must go dark, they must be snazzy.
The reign of the square nail -- well, mile-long squares and stilettos are still a favorite, but there is a resurgence of the rounds. Ovals, almonds, and squoval.
Messing up your manicure -- although you may be interested in the roughed up look we’ll explain below, it’s never in fashion to prematurely destroy your manicure by accident.
Be careful out there when tending to hair and skin while you’ve got on nails you love. And if you plan to touch up your summer glow with a little bottled magic, check out our self-tanner mitt kit for prep and application -- manicure or not, you’ll never have to get tanning lotion on your hands again.
The Most Popular Nail Styles of 2020
1) Two-Tone Nails
This nail polish style is versatile and relatively easy to achieve. A two-tone nail can range from fancy ombres and shimmering iridescent to the French manicure style or abrupt, lined transitions. This year’s French manicures of choice swap white end for dark solid colors against a sheer look, or even lose the nude sheer altogether, opting for something more similar to color-dipped tips.
The simple transitions only require you to tape off your nails where you want the color change to occur. Iridescent nail polish is its own reward with no additional steps. Once you put it on, it will shimmer in the light -- two coats are always optimal.
For quick ombre nails, paint the two or more colors side by side on a sponge applicator then press it onto your nails. It’ll be a bit messy and might take a little experimentation for the best results. Remove excess coloration from skin and cuticles afterward.
This one might make you once again question, what is a manicure? Isn’t this the point? Is it actually fashionable to look less put together than you could? But of course.
Imperfect here refers to both the quality of the nail polish style and the cutting and shaping of the nails themselves, and it could be this year’s most interesting and divisive style. Think smudged beneath the topcoat, the second layer of color as splattered paint, or markedly uneven shape.
3) Foil and Stickers
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Nail adhesives might not be what you typically associate with a sophisticated look. They’re the kind of things sold in drug stores and also to children, right?
Wrong. Adhesives for nails don’t need to be tacky or juvenile if you go into it with a vision.
Foils add a lovely bit of contrast to your polish, a pop of shine and intrigue, while stickers, in general, are as versatile as the two-tone look. Use them to emulate a favorite celebrity nail style or combine them with the other styles in this list to give them that all-important personal flair.
4) Nail Art
It has been established that nail art is definitely here to stay for some time, in its many varied shapes and forms. 2020 is all about geometric shapes and patterns.
The humble line is the simplest of arts possible, followed by small dots in a row and a sort of slinky line that zigzags across the nail. These are perfect for a beginner, but if you’re looking for something more complex, it could be best to see a manicurist or obtain some acrylics.
And, of course, florals are an evergreen staple. There will always be room for floral nail art. This year we see the style downsizing from extravagant renditions into daintier minimal ones. Small and similar but not identical paintings, that change from one nail to the next, are popular to diversify the look while keeping it within a single aesthetic theme.
5) Frame Nails
Framing your nail involves following along its edges with a secondary color or very small, flowing design. You can use it to create an actual frame and add some other element to the center of your nail, as an adaptation of the two-tone look, or to incorporate nail art without totally obscuring a nice base color.
End results are bold and fabulous, but the nail style isn’t particularly difficult to pull off! You can apply the frame with a fine-tipped detail brush for an organic shape or freehand in your own additions.
For crisp, easy frame lines that just go around your nails’ edges, revert to the taped off method you’d use for two-tone transitions. You can paint in the frame color first, then tape off the edges and apply your second, main color to the center; or you can paint in your main color, then tape the center of your nail leaving the edges exposed for framing.
Glitter is not having a comeback nor a moment in the sun. Glitter has never left us, as is always the case with glitter, whether for crafting, cooking, or doing our nails. It has only grown, changed, and become stronger.
This year’s glitter is an invasive species. It’s the shimmer of the metallic polish, the sparkle behind a wonderful iridescent, glittery clear coat or accents against a solid color choice. It’s little salt shaker pieces of glitter, like sand, and the big, sequin-y pieces like confetti.
If you want to wear glitter this 2020, it is in fashion in more ways than ever. If you don’t want to wear glitter, we definitely suggest you reconsider your position. You and your nails deserve to shine.