Bejeweled nails are back in a big way, and we largely have celebrities to thank. It’s not entirely surprising given that A-listers are constantly inspiring all kinds of fashion and beauty trends, but nail trends seem to spread particularly quickly. “Celebs are the biggest beauty trendsetters,” says Julie Kandalec, a celebrity nail artist and CEO of the Masterclass Nail Academy. “We may not be able to afford their clothes and lifestyles, but to emulate their nail art is much more attainable.”
Stars like Lizzo, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Jisoo of Blackpink, and Billie Eilish have recently popularized jewel-encrusted nails. Earlier this month, Minaj posted a mani covered in opalescent crystals, gold leaf, butterfly charms, and designer logos. The post has over 1 million likes, and the over-the-top look, which was created by nail artist Junkie4Nailz, quickly went viral. While earlier this year, nail artist Park Eunkyung created a gemstone mani for Jisoo, turning her nails into mini crystal masterpieces. And, of course, nail art aficionado Kylie Jenner has also been seen sporting various bejeweled nail art design this year.
Although we are seeing a resurgence of crystal-studded nails, the style has been around for centuries and can be traced back to ancient times. “Adorned nails and fingertips date back centuries; to Egypt, Indonesia Thailand, and China,” Kandalec says, adding that they came back into style in the late 20th century. “In the ’80s, long and bejeweled nails were a trademark of Olympic medalist Florence “Flo Jo” Griffith Joyner, followed in the ’90s by leading hip-hop artists like Lil’ Kim.” The recent reemergence makes sense, given the mainstreaming of hip-hop music and streetwear style, as well as the normalization of personal expression through beauty.
But while there’s certainly something fun about blinged out nails that might be considered gaudy or “extra,” it’s not necessarily everyone’s style. If you want to add a little bit of sparkle to your nails but not go over the top, there are plenty of ways to enjoy bejeweled nails in a more understated way. Metallic nail shades can act as a base for a few crystals or gems, giving your nails a subtle shine. Kandalec notes that shades like molten mercury, gilded gold, and metallic lilac are particularly popular at the moment. “My clients are also loving tiny, micro-crystals that sparkle in the light as well as cuticle art like these or 3D gold metallic plus bejeweled like these,” she adds.
How to DIY Bejeweled Nails
Want to try bejeweled nails out for yourself? Pick up a pack of nail crystals and an applicator pen on Amazon and use Kandalec’s foolproof technique. The key, she says, is to first use a top coat that doesn’t dry right away, then you can seal everything in with a quick-drying one. “When applying crystals with polish on set, I first use a topcoat that is not fast drying to place the crystals in,” she says. “If it is fast-dry, you won’t have any time to shift them around on the nail if needed.”
She suggests applying a drop of Essie All-in-One Base Coat & Top Coat to the nail, then applying the crystal to the center of the drop, and allow it to dry. “Then, go around the crystals with a thicker, fast-drying topcoat like Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat,” she says. “Try to avoid going over all of the crystals as they’ll lose their facets and sparkle, but if you’re using metal studs, feel free to topcoat the full nail to seal them in.”
Bejeweled Nail Inspiration
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