Nail art is one of the most popular beauty trends of 2021 and it’s going to continue its reign well into 2022. “A lot of old trends that people assumed to be dying out or tacky, such as French tips, made such a big comeback in 2021 and many old trends [will be] updated and reintroduced in 2022” says Sarah Haidar, a self-taught nail artist who runs the wildly popular Instagram account @Heluviee. Even if you’re more of a manicure minimalist, there are definitely options for you in the nail design world. So what winter nail art trends can you expect to see in the new year?
“Swirly nail art had a good run this past year but will slowly fall off to give room for cleaner geometric line art,” explains Queenie Nguyen, who works with Alessandra Ambrosio and Kate Hudson. Brittney Boyce (also known as Nails of LA), who works with Megan Fox and Kim Kardashian, adds that experimentation is going to be a big theme in 2022. “We’ll get extreme minimalism with very simple, one-shade manicures on long nails, [but we’ll also see] a lot of 3D nail art,” she reveals.
Curious to see what the pros are loving for nail art this winter? Here are 10 trends they say everyone will be wearing for the season.
You can already see celebs like Lily Collins and Camila Marrone rocking this clean and simple trend, but don’t think there’s just one shade of neutral. “You can pick a semi-sheer one for a more natural and feminine look or an opaque one to make the color pop more,” encourages Haidar. The trick, Boyce says, is a natural shape topped with a glossy finish.
“The key is to make sure the colors complement each other, whether it’s a gradient or belonging in the same color palette,” explains Boyce. An example of a gradient would be using different shades of a single color. If you want to use multiple colors, be sure to pick in themes like neon or pastels (Nguyen calls this rainbow approach ‘Skittles nails’) for harmony.
Negative space refers to the unpainted portion of a nail design and there are no rules when it comes to this freestyle trend. “You can paint lines however you’d like and have it come out looking abstract and colorful,” encourages Haidar. Lean into any color palette you want, starting with a single hue and adding in streaks of new colors for more interest.
“To make [this look] all come together, I would recommend having one concept similar between the whole thing,” notes Haidar. The pro explains to either have opposing color gradients or try each hand in a different color with a finger or two showcasing the same design on both hands.
For something more muted, try milky brown tortoise nails. “They’re actually quite natural and have an abstract look to them,” explains Boyce. “Amp up [animal prints] by playing with the base color and using bright complementary colors,” describes the pro. Think a bright pink for the trendy cow print nail design or maybe even a periwinkle hue in the spirit of the Pantone color of the year.
“Having a thin strip of color along the cuticle or tips can give you that little accent to play up a nude manicure,” says Haidar. For color palette, think bright shades, metallics, gradients, or black and white. “With a thin liner brush, draw a barely there line in one swipe on-top of a nude base,” she adds.
“Instead of glitter all over, an ombré glitter is more chic, especially when it’s on a very sheer and neutral base,” explains Boyce. In fact Jennifer Lopez just rocked this look recently, where the glitter is thickest at the tip and subtly tapers off toward the cuticles. “It’s a good trend for both longer and shorter nails,” says Boyce.
Any take on a classic French manicure is what Boyce coins the Modern French. “This involves playing with angles and thickness of the tip,” she shares. Some of her favorite ideas are subbing in a wavy tip design, doing a half French at an angle, or splitting the tip down the center with two different colors.
Gold Foil Accents
“A subtle touch of gold accents adds more glamour to any nail design,” explains Nguyen of the trend Vanessa Hudgens recently sported. This season, Boyce predicts more French manicures using gold foil as well. “It has undefined edges to give it that of-the-moment, undone look,” adds Boyce. You can also expect to see it in the form of flakes or marble patterns.
Subtle 3D Embellishments
This past year has seen celebs like Hailey Bieber and Machine Gun Kelly experiment with 3D nail art and subtle nail jewelry, both of which will be new trends going into 2022. “It's an easy way to spice up a neutral manicure without being overpowering,” explains Nguyen. Think: tiny appliqués like pearls, rhinestones, or metallic stickers (Nguyen recommends picking these up on Amazon).