I don’t know what I thought 2020 was going to bring, but for some reason, I figured there would be some Y2K-esque, Sci-Fi reset, where everyone suddenly started dressing in sleek silver bodysuits and wearing holo-colored nails.
Instead, 2020 is all about mastering nail art from the comfort of your couch. A trend I can genuinely get behind.
Evelynn Escobar-Thomas, nail-enthusiast and Instagram nail art star, and Sarah Gibson-Tuttle, founder of Olive and June, recommend making 2020 the year of self-care, with the nail beds at the center. "Zen out and focus," says Escobar-Thomas.
And if you're looking for some inspiration, the duo picked the trendiest nail designs for 2020 that you can quickly master with the help of a steady hand, patience, and a stiff brush for your inevitable mess-ups.
Keep scrolling for Escobar-Thomas and Gibson-Tuttle's top nail trends for 2020. Try them for yourself or take these picks to the salon for inspiration.
2020 will bring minimal nail art to the forefront, and resisting the trend is futile. Blocky shapes, random dots, and abstract squiggles are the perfect starting point for beginners. You can do whatever you want on your nail beds, even mess up, in the name of art.
But if you end up with blobs of nail polish in undesirable places, Gibson-Tuttle recommends keeping a clean brush dipped in nail polish remover handy: “Just sketch the desired shape and use a Clean Up Brush dipped in nail polish remover to perfect the lines.” This technique is perfect for negative space manis and French tips alike, so let your imagination run wild.
One of the easiest ways to DIY a nail art look (especially as a beginner!) is to paint your nails a solid color and use stickers to take it to the next level. You can even stick on an entire mani if you want to, using gel nail polish stickers from brands like Color Street to cover your nails in just a few minutes.
“I’m excited to experiment with minimal negative space,” says Escobar-Thomas, who’s already started playing with the trend. An easy beginner manicure option, expect the negative space manicure to populate your feeds and pop up IRL too. To get the look, Gibson Tuttle keeping a brush close to create precise, crisp lines— and to clean up after if you happen to color outside the lines.
Skittle nails were everywhere last year, and that trend will continue in the new year — especially with shades from the same color family. Expect to see a range of color spectrums dotting hands everywhere you go and don’t be afraid to try it for yourself. To pick shades that work together, try looking at photos for inspiration and picking them out before you get started. Or, use Olive and June’s Cherry Bomb Kit, which does the hard work for you.
There seems to be a hot red shade every year, and 2020 is no exception. According to Gibson-Tuttle, Cherry red is the “trending color,” this year, and a highly requested shade at the Olive and June salon. It's the perfect DIY trend — all you need is an excellent red polish and the patience to let them dry all the way.
Pastel nails aren't going anywhere anytime soon. “Recently, I've been loving pastels,” says Gibson-Tuttle, who's been experimenting with various combinations of yellow and pink. For added interest, she likes to use the soft shades in unexpected ways, like wearing the two shades on alternating hands.
“We have two hands for a reason, both designs don’t have to be the same!” says Escobar-Thomas, who recently wore a checkered French tip on one hand, and brown cow print on another. Gibson-Tuttle agrees: “I'm a total Libra so I can never choose just one shade,” she says. There are a few ways to approach this growing trend — opt for a solid-colored mani on each hand for a bold, graphic look, or try completely different designs for an unexpected, avant-garde nail moment.
"A marriage of our two favorite trends from 2019 are coming together in 2020 to create the tonal French!” says Gibson-Tuttle. When ombré nails and a French manicure have a nail art baby, the look is created. To recreate, pick a few of your favorite shades and replace the classic white shade with fresh, unexpected hues.
Return of the Matte
There was that weird moment after crackle nail polish died that matte polish exploded and everyone was rocking flat colored nails — expect to see the latter come back around for a second time. “A matte topcoat has become one of our most requested products on social," Gibson-Tuttle shared. This one’s easy to DIY no matter your skill level, just pop on a top coat and go.
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