Just like fashion trends, nail trends have changed drastically and continuously over the past decade. From French manicures and light pink polish to over-embellished acrylic nails and dip powder designs, I can’t wait to see which colours, shapes, and textures define this new decade. But first, here’s a look at the top nail trends from the last 10 years. Some might bring back memories of manis past and some might catch you off guard, but I promise, each of these trends was a must-try fad at one time or another.
Whether you’re at home experimenting with DIY nail art or dreaming of your next visit to your favourite nail salon, here are the top nail trends from the past decade to help inspire your new mani!
The early 2000s were all about natural nail shapes and solid colours. However, in 2010, nail polish became an accessory in itself, according to Nonie Creme, Founding Creative Director of Butter London. While the colour of choice remained fairly neutral – greige (grey/beige) dominated runways – designers and nail artists focused on unique textures to play up their nails. Does OPI’s Suede Collection ring any bells?
People were ready to take nail art to the next level in 2011, but weren’t really looking to learn a whole new skill. Sally Hansen nail polish strips dominated this year. With super-easy application and tons of out-there designs, decals were the way to get on trend in 2011.
Led by Katy Perry, who had her own nail polish line with OPI, 2012 was all about shatter nails. While Huffington Post claimed these looks were “well into their Minute 16 [of fame].” There’s no denying we had our fun with this one.
Matte nails didn’t begin in 2013 but the rise of matte polish on the market made the trend instantly accessible to the masses. In April of this year, OPI launched their matte top coats, encouraging users to switch up their manicures with a new finish.
Nail art went beyond the nail in 2014. Lorde hit the Grammy’s stage with black dipped fingers and was followed shortly after by NYFW designers including Creatures of Comfort, Mara Hoffman and Adam Selman, who all wanted to hop on board with this emo-esque trend.
Enter Kylie Jenner. With the launch of Kylie Lip Kits, Jenner (and her crazy long nails) began getting loads of extra attention on social media. And what did Kylie love to post about in 2015 (besides her lips)? Nails. People became obsessed with Jenner’s coffin-shaped claws. And while some people found them creepy, others saw it as a larger canvas for their nail art.
Bigger, bolder, but not necessarily better… In 2016 nail art went 3D as pom pom nails and ‘Polish Mountain’ became the biggest viral trends of the year. Practical? No. But if you were looking to make an eye-catching statement back in 2016, either of these trends would have done the trick.
It’s no coincidence chrome nails were one of the biggest nail trends of 2017. We were still all trying to recreate some Met Gala magic from the 2016 event which celebrated fashion in an age of technology. People were so obsessed with the look, Pinterest reported at the time that chrome nail searches increased 570%.
We loved animal print in 2018. Cow spots, zebra stripes, and leopard print were everything this year. You could keep it super minimal with an animal accent nail or go full out with neon finger fangs. However you chose to spin it, this was the go-to design of 2018.
Although the dip powder trend remains popular in 2020, it really gained popularity last year. Not only is it satisfying to watch, but it coats the nails quickly and stays on longer than a normal mani. Unlike gel nails, the powder dip is pretty easy to remove and touch up if needed. It’s no doubt everyone is searching the city for a dip powder salon.
While a bunch of different trends have been popping up since the beginning of 2020 (e.g. milky nails, waterdrop manicures, and over-the-top acrylics) there’s one trend that’s arguably the most unique one yet: lipstick nails. Giving us a whole new shape to fawn over, these slanted claws created by South Korea’s Eun Kyung Park, these are the edgy update your fingers have been begging for.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Jordana Colomby)