Last spring the New York Times ran a story entitled Is This The End Of The Manicure? The article explored the idea that we flock to salons simply to keep up with the beauty standard de jour and that, thanks to the generous amount of time allotted to us via lockdown, we might come out the other side of Covid-19 foregoing our standing mani appointment for an au naturel aesthetic. Several experts weighed in, but the comment that stuck with me referenced the positive social connections forged through the act of sharing self-care rituals like maintaining beautiful nails.
Hells ya! Forget about the “to paint or not to paint” argument; after a full year of social isolation, how fantastic does social connection sound? Can you imagine sitting across from a friendly face and chatting about everything and nothing at all? Me either.
I miss my nail salon. The community created there and the boost to mental wellness that comes with it is irreplaceable. I leave with beautiful nails, that’s a given, but the bonus is the snippets of conversation that change me in ways big and small. Sometimes it’s a new way of thinking about an old problem, sometimes it’s a reco for a new Netflix or podcast series, sometimes it’s just listening to someone share a funny story about a first date gone horribly wrong.
And while I might have gone in convinced I only wanted my regular colour, after a few minutes in the chair, I find myself eager to experiment. It’s the “I’ll have what she’s having” phenomenon. Seeing the woman beside me playing with some fun version of nail art, I’m like, “Why not?”
Top Trends For Beautiful Nails
Gauging by the looks coming from the 2021 fashion shows, there will be no lack of variety to choose from when you finally get back to your favourite nail spot. From hot pinks to back-to-black Goth, appliques to multi-coloured tips, a gorgeous riot of colour tumbled off the runways.
Yes, there were bare nails, too, as the NYT predicted, but many painted to appear bare. Brands have noticed this trend, too. Samantha Silvius, OPI Brand Educator, says they’ve seen a 10% global increase in neutrals, a nod to simpler times. And there’s lots of interest in “mindful pales” which Silvius says are a reaction to a world disrupted by COVID. “It’s a way of bringing some calm, comfort and balance to life,” she says.
Especially big for spring, are hues that take cues from nature. “We’ve see a 19% increase in shades of green,” says Silvius. Showing up in everything from fresh pear to muted olive, the colour is having a moment. My fave from the OPI’s new 40th anniversary collection is a gorgeous bright green, called Rated Pea-G.
Over at CND, the spring look includes lots of happy pastels. CND co-founder Jan Arnold calls the Color of You collection “audacious.” It’s all about letting your individuality shine through, she says, to help you “express your style and instantly elevate your mood.”
Feels about right. I mean, who isn’t looking for a mood boost? I’m loving Chance Taker, a sweet blue that evokes endless summer-day vibes.
For a vegan offering, Revlon has a new line, Ultra HD SNAP! Nail Colour. This one-coat nail formula offering is vegan and free of chemicals including formaldehyde, acetone, MEHQ and toluene. I love their Cherry On Top shade – it’s a magnificent red that makes me want to talk with my hands.
Pacifica Plant Magic is another vegan and “free of the big three” (toluene, formaldehyde and camphor) polish, that offers a colour-shifting shimmer made possible by naturally glittering mica powder. Tangerine Pop is a juicy orange that reminds me of eating popsicles curbside, feeling like all things are possible.
All that from a bottle of polish? You bet! That’s why I’m counting down the days until my local spot opens again. Long live the mani – I’ve missed you, my beautiful nails.
The Most Important Manicure Step You May Be Skipping
We know, we know. You’re so excited to swipe on that shiny new lacquer, it’s all you can think of. Happens to us all the time. But we urge you to stop, take a breath and admire the colour in the bottle for just a minute longer. Because, if you want truly beautiful nails, you need to start at the beginning: Ace Your Base.
It’s a simple, but key step that only adds a few minutes to your time, but could add days to your manicure. Really.
Adding a base layer, works like a primer for your nails. It smooths out ridges and other imperfections, protects your nails from getting stained and some, like our fave, Sally Hansen, Complete Salon Manicure Beautifiers, Base Coat, include ingredients like vitamin E to help condition your nails. But the key thing about bases, is that they give your polish something to adhere to which translates into less chipping and a longer, more (ahem) polished look. Need we say more?