2018 has had its ups and downs, that’s for sure, but it’s been a great year for inventive manicure trends overall. Leopard print, negative space, and not-so-simple scribble reigned supreme in salons and, of course, on Instagram, prompting us to ditch the failsafe nudes altogether (sorry, Ballet Slippers; sorry, Queen Elizabeth) for something a little more offbeat — and next year’s crop promises to be just as creative and cool.
Ahead, top London manicurists Ama Quashie, Ami Streets, and Lauren Michelle Pires predict the nail-art designs that are going to be major for 2019. So grab the polish remover, swipe off that inoffensive nude, and let the pros steer you in the right direction to start the new year on the right note.
This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.
Texture Meets Fine Arts
“I think we’re going to see a lean away from the played-out nude, natural nail and a comeback of playful colors and textures, but these textures will have a more fine-art approach,” Pires says. “Beads and embellishment aren’t going anywhere, but I think we’ll see a lot of different tones blended together, with physical, textured surfaces. I have a feeling 2019’s nails will be much more playful.”
“As a big fan of brown shades on nails and tortoiseshell print, I’m really excited about experimenting with this trend,” Quashie says. “It almost works as a softer animal-print look and it can be adapted to suit all skin tones. It’s also super chic, and I think it works all year round.”
“Consumers are becoming a lot more aware of what they’re putting in and on their bodies, and making more informed decisions when it comes to nails is only a positive thing,” Quashie says. “In the same way people are having an increasing amount of choice in the food they eat, materials they wear, and general consumption, I believe we should have a choice with nails too, and I wanted to bring another to the table.”
So, when Quashie opened her brand-new salon in London, she made sure to include a “free from” menu, featuring brands that are up to 90% natural, 10-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. “With a lot of research and development in place, I feel the payoff on ‘free-from’ brands is finally on par with household nail brands in how long they last, their finish, and their color range,” she says. “I feature Kure Bazaar (regular polish) and NCLA (gel) on the menu.”
“Jelly nails have influenced pretty washes of see-through color on nails, which I think will continue into 2019,” Streets says. “For a fresh take on the jelly nail trend, go for neutrals or pastel hues with a ’90s twist — pale gray, lavender, and even iridescent, shimmery colors in pinks and warm neutrals. Pantone picked Sweet Lilac (pink-infused lavender), Soybean (beige), and Living Coral (soft warm orange) as a few of its essential shades for the new season, and we’ll see more of these hues in salon for sure.”
“We’re going to see the classic negative-space manicure diversify from the typical French tips and half moons to more dynamic, graphic shapes in 2019, such as diagonal lines, slogans, or font-style drawing,” Streets says. While fonts, logos, and slogans look great on all colors, she suggests ditching bold hues for something a little more understated to keep it fresh. “Take your favorite sheer base and decorate it using bright pastel colors for an updated take on this trend,” she says.
Sheer Meets Metallic
“Metallic gold or silver accents over sheer color, such as encapsulated items using gold leaf, foils, or metal shapes, add subtle but chic interest to an otherwise very understated nail,” Streets says.
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