2022 Nail Trends You'll Want to Bookmark to Show Your Manicurist
Trend predictions across all categories – from beauty and fashion to cooking and travel — for 2022 are starting to roll in and it's become clear that everyone's in for a wild year. "Naked dresses" will be popular, potato milk is poised to dominate food trends, and kids will be calling the shots on family vacations.
Nail trend predictions for 2022 are no less intriguing. In its annual in-depth trend report, Pinterest predicted "nailscapes," or literal artistic landscapes on your digits, will be the biggest craze, citing an increase in searches on the platform for "galaxy nail art," "desert nails," "geode nails," and the like. Ulta Beauty also reports that '90s-influenced nail art will play into an overall "expressive revival" in beauty, and Yelp found that nail art is getting "more intricate than ever."
On that note, one can only hope you'll also see some pared-down versions of eccentric designs that are a bit more IRL-friendly. "This year, nail artists really took their art to the next level by creating elaborate sculptures on nail enhancements," says celebrity nail artist Mimi D. "Some included pieces with two to three inch-high 3D artwork that looked like it should be in a museum. Maybe for 2022, these artists will find a way to scale down their sculptures so the looks can be worn in real life." (Related: Winter Nail Designs You Can Totally Manage at Home)
Curious what else you can expect to see on social media and the fingers of your coolest friends throughout 2022? Shape asked nail artists to list the top nail trends of 2022, which you can file away until January or start wearing now — if you're rebellious.
Everyone who was a fan of magnetic nail polish when it hit the market in 2011, should be happy to know it's about to have a major resurgence. Celebrity nail artist Elizabeth Garcia specifies that she predicts magnetic gel nail polish will be more popular than regular magnetic polish, though both types of polish achieve the same effect — the gel just lasts longer.
If you didn't hear about magnetic polish when it first came onto the scene, the gist is that each nail polish comes with a magnet that you hold over your nail to create a rippled, gradient effect. "You can purchase different magnets online and they come in several patterns," says Garcia. For a magnetic gel manicure, you'd prep your nails, apply a base coat, and cure them under a UV lamp, then apply a coat of the color and cure again, says Garcia. Next, you'd apply another coat of color and hover the magnet above each nail before it dries to create the design. Finally, cure, apply top coat, and cure once more. Try Nails Inc. Get Magnetized Nail Polish Duo (Buy It, $18, sephora.com) for regular magnetic polish or Ur Sugar Glitter Gel Nail Polish Set (Buy It, $17, amazon.com) for gel.
Remember how '90s trends are making a comeback? The decade's airbrush designs made a return this year, and "will continue to reign supreme" in 2022, says Mimi D. To create airbrush designs, nail artists place a stencil on nails before spraying them with paint using an airbrush machine (which is like a scaled-down version of the machines used to create airbrush art on t-shirts, according to the L.A. Times.) As you've probably gathered, it's not the most practical trend to DIY, but airbrush kits are available to purchase if you're set on giving it a try at home. (Related: Olive and June Is Finally Launching Press-On Nails — and They're Worth the Wait)
If you're wondering what trending nail colors 2022 will bring, the short answer is "anything that glistens." "Adding a hint of sparkle to your nails will be super popular come next year," says Salina Néou, a nail technician who's on the beauty booking service StyleSeat. "Metallic accents will also be popular, and can give your nails a chrome-like look."
Garcia expects to see flash gel polish (shown in the IG post directly above) emerge as one of the latest nail trends in 2022. "Flash gel is a type of glitter [gel nail polish] that comes in different shades," says Garcia. It gets its name since it reflects light if you shine a camera flash on it, she notes. The application process is the same as other gel polish. To tackle the trend at home, try Born Pretty Reflective Glitter Gel Polish (Buy It, $23, amazon.com)or a similar option.
Don't be surprised if the long nail extension devotee in your life abandons their ways next year. "Long nails have reigned supreme for years, but I'm predicting that shorter nails are the future," says Néou. "Shorter nails that are decked out in designs are the best of both worlds — you get nails that are a practical length while still expressing your creativity." This is one of the 2022 nail trends you can get in on as a minimalist if you haven't already started, unintentionally.
They aren't just for kids: Nail stickers now come in more grown-up designs (even Gucci's getting in on this nail trend). Whether you go with the new sophisticated take on nail stickers or more lighthearted designs, the decals make nail art quick and easy. With a nail wrap, which spans your entire nail, "you can cut and file the sticker so that it fits your nails perfectly," says Néou. "Or, you can add a smaller sticker, such as a flower, heart, or star, to give your nails a fun accent." With either, applying a top coat to seal in the sticker is key, she says. Check out Scratch (Buy It, $10, ulta.com) or Nails of LA (Buy It, $16, nailsofla.com) nail wraps for a full-coverage sticker, Deco Miami Nail Art Sticker Sheet (Buy It, $8, urbanoutfitters.com) for accents. Or try Inked By Dani x Nails by Mei Temporary Tattoo & Nail Art Set (Buy It, $13, nordstrom.com), temporary tattoos made especially for nails. (Related: Temporary Nail Tattoo Designs Are Now a (Brilliant) Thing)
Mismatched nails (i.e. nails with a different color on each finger) were a top trend this year, and all three pros agree that this is one nail art trend that's sure to be going strong in 2022. But next year, you can expect new takes on artistic expression. "For 2022, I anticipate the trend being pushed further by using colors that don't necessarily match but still go together," says Mimi D. "Like red, yellow, moss green, brown, and cobalt blue or tan."
In the same vein, Néou and Garcia foresee a trend of wearing different designs on each nail. "You can use different tools to achieve mismatched nails such as dotting tools, thin brushes, or things around your house such as toothpicks for dots, [single-use floss picks] for lines, and makeup wedges for ombré," says Garcia. The sky is the limit when it comes to DIY'ing your favorite 2022 nail trend.