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Want to Amp Up Your Nail Game? These 20 Nail Art Trends Are Dominating 2022

UPDATE 2022-nail-art-trends-thumbnailUPDATE 2022-nail-art-trends-header
Photo by Jin Soon Choi

Hey there, just checking in—how are your 2022 beauty goals going? If you need a little boost to get you back on track, you’ve come to the right place. When we’re seeking inspo to feel refreshed, embracing a new beauty trend or two always does the trick. The easiest place to start? With a shiny new mani. “Nail art is only partly about beauty. It’s mostly enjoyable for people because it’s a fun way to experiment with your look and get creative,” says Steph Stone, Los Angeles–based celeb nail artist. And after picking up cues from Fashion Week runways to scoping out the nail art designs popping up in our feeds, it’s clear this year’s nail art trends are packed with opportunities to show your personality (which is just how we like it).

From glitter-flecked tips to flower nails and more familiar faves (with a twist, of course), there’s something for everyone to love this year. “It seems like simpler nail art is making a comeback this year—regular French, colored French, and accent nails are on the rise, while last year we saw more intricate designs,” says New York City–based celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi.

We tapped Choi and Stone to share the best nail art trends for 2022. From fun decals to multicolor manis, there’s enough fun to last all year long.

About the Experts:

Jin Soon Choi is a New York City–based celebrity manicurist, and founder of JINsoon Hand and Foot Spas and JINsoon Nail Lacquer
Steph Stone is a Los Angeles–based celebrity manicurist.

1. Fun Decals

A closeup of a hand with white base nail polish and colorful nail decals
Photo by Jin Soon Choi

From polka dots to cool textures to colorful prints, there’s nothing more fun than nail decals. And the best part? It’s a look you can truly make your own. Choose smileys (like the above) or take your nail decals to the next level with 3D options, which are a Jin Soon Choi favorite. “3D nail decals are usually used on gel or acrylic nails using glue or gel,” she says. A few tips to create it: “On regular polish, make sure the polish is pretty dry before applying decals, as thick, heavy 3D decals need glue in order to stay on the nail. Some nail stickers, like JINsoon Flower decals already have adhesive on. I usually recommend applying the decal before the top coat. Alternatively, another method I recommend would be to apply a top coat, drying it a bit, applying the nail decal, and then applying another top coat—this way the nail polish dries faster!”

2. Dazzling Gems

A closeup of hands on fur with dazzling gems nail art
Photo by Jin Soon Choi

If it’s sparkling, shining, or attention-grabbing—you know we’re into it. One of our favorite trends for 2022 checks off all of the above. “This is a very festive trend,” says Choi. “I recommend using gems on sheer nail color so the gems are the main focus without being too garish.” Classic gems and rhinestones, jewel-tones, pops of bright color—you can’t go wrong.

3. Swirls and Waves

A closeup of a hand with swirls and waves nail art
Photo by Jin Soon Choi

Funky, fun, and surprisingly easy to create, we can see this nail trend buzzing well beyond 2022. “This is the hottest nail design (along with a colorful French manicure),” says Choi. Here, she breaks down the look: “Prep your nails by cleaning and shaping as desired. Apply a thin base coat. Apply two coats of [your base color]. Draw wavy lines in different sizes on different areas (she used JINsoon Love) using a thin nail art brush. Draw wavy lines [in a new color] right next to them. Finish with a glossy top coat.”

4. Half-Moon Manis

A closeup photo of a hand with a pastel half-moon mani
Photo by Jin Soon Choi

When you’re stuck in a nail art rut, a half-moon mani is a no-brainer, so we’re excited to see that this popular nail trend is still going strong. It’s also easy enough to DIY. Here are Choi’s tips to create it: “Apply a thin base coat (like JINsoon Power Coat Base). Using white polish (like JINsoon Absolute White), paint one layer on half of the nail from the cuticle to the midpoint of the nail. Then, using a detail brush or the side of the nail polish brush, draw a thin smile/half-moon outline [with the color you choose]. Paint a thin coat of the same color to fill in the rest of the nail, leaving the half-moon white shape at the base of the nail to cuticle. Allow to dry, then add a second coat for an opaque finish.”

Pro tip: “Top coat is your BFF. If colors are looking streaky, a layer of top coat will help to seal and make the surface smooth.”

5. Bright French

Close-up of a woman's hand with pastel colored french tips
Photo by Jin Soon Choi

French manis never truly go out of style—they just get better. And this bright version is proof that they’re more versatile than we ever thought. Try bold hues, pastels, or take it up a notch with neons (perfect for a heat wave). “Neon is your best friend for the summer,” says Choi. “Try a colorful French mani instead of applying the color on full nails to celebrate the season!”

6. Flipped French Mani

Close-up of a woman's hand with a flipped french mani
Photo by Jin Soon Choi

Another fun take on the classic French? A flipped version that’s eye-catching and unexpected.  Here’s Choi’s take: “Using a thin nail art brush, draw lines by your cuticle instead of on the tip of your nails. There are a variety of looks you can do with this type of nail design: clear polish with white and black lines, different pastel tones—either one color or all different colors, neon colors, ombré colors, the list goes on!”

7. Hot Red

This perpetually popular hue is an all-time fav for a reason. Bold red is a shade that truly stands the test of time and flatters just about every skin tone. Whether you’re looking for a pop of color for the summer or the perfect holiday mani, reach for one of red’s many variations and you’ll always be in style. 

8. Mixed Textures

We love high-shine nails, and mattes are always on our list, but 2022 tells us it’s time to embrace them both at once. Reach for a matte topcoat and paint one nail, a part of a nail, or as many as you wish. Add a pearlescent, gloss, or shimmer topcoat on other nails for a hit of major shine. Mixed texture nails are a quick way to add instant depth, dimension, and fun to your nail looks.

9. Nail Charms

Our childhood selves are jumping for joy, because it looks like nail charms are here to stay!  This playful trend provides endless opportunities for flair, whether you choose delicate, dangling gems or bold geometric shapes.  

10. Earthy Greens

As one of 2022’s most popular shades, we’re seeing green nails everywhere we go. From soothing sage and olive to mossy hues, there’s a shade to complement every skin tone. Wear this versatile hue all over, as accent color, or create a graphic design—anyway you wear it, this shade is sure to stun. 

11. Holographics

Look, neutrals will forever be in our nail color lexicon, but metallic manis are poised to take their forever place on the podium. “I think people are wanting to lean into bright and flashy things that spark joy when they look at their fingers,” says Stone. If you want to stare at your nails 24/7, try a holographic finish like this one from COLOR CLUB—we promise you’ll be obsessed.

12. Glitter Ombré

Calling all glitter lovers: Think beyond your go-to golds and silvers and bring on the color, like this rainbow French manicure. Elevate the look with a gradient, paint each tip a different color, or nix the negative space and go for an all-over glitter look.

13. Manis For All

From Harry Styles to Machine Gun Kelly to Tyler The Creator, male celebs are launching nail lacquer brands faster than our polish can dry—proving once and for all that anyone, regardless of gender, can rock a killer mani.

14. Hot Rod Red Nails

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We might be seeing a ton of innovation in 2022, but just like neutrals, a classic red will always be in demand. “They’re staples and requested more than others, no matter what season it is,” Stone tells us. Put a twist on your usual red with a layer of matching glitter for that vintage car effect.

In need of a new red? COMPLEX CULTURE Get Set Nail Polish in Hustle is a surefire winner.

15. The “Skittles” Mani

“The skittles (aka multi) mani isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. When you can’t pick one color, why not pick them all?” says Stone—and we couldn’t agree more. If choosing a polish shade from the salon wall feels like a test, ease up on the decision stress and pick a handful of hues to build your own color story. Go for pastels, earthy monochromes, or make up something that’s totally you.

P.S. This warm-toned trio from PRETTY WOMAN will give your color curation a head start.

16. Oil Slicks

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Oil slick swirls are perfect for those searching for metallic nail looks on the moodier side. They’re edgy—but still full of eye-catching shine—and a fab complement to all of your grunge makeup looks.

17. Return of the Tortoiseshell

Animal-inspired nail art like tiger stripes and cow blobs dominated the DIY scene, and while Stone thinks they’ll continue to be popular in 2022, she predicts that we’ll see tortoiseshell make a comeback to join the animal-print ranks.

18. Minimalist Daisy

Florals will make their annual bloom on manicures everywhere in spring and summer. So what’s the 2022 take? Stone recommends swapping busier designs with something delicate and minimal. “Perhaps just a single flower on each nail! Something that catches someone’s eye without being over the top and flashy.”

19. Chain Accents

Kind of like an accessory for your nails, chains and rhinestones add a 3D element to your usual nail looks. Lay down dainty chains along the edge of your nail frame (over your natural nail color or on top of a fun color) and prepare for major compliments.

20. Pearlcore

Pearls have been popping up over the last few years, but signs say this (also 3D) embellishment is going to be a 2022 must-have. Pro tip: Look for flat-back pearls that will lay flush against your nail—they’ll stay put much longer than spherical pearls.

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About the author
Pia Bhattacharya
Pia is a New York-based beauty editor at IPSY with over 10 years experience including editorial, public relations, and copywriting. Her work has appeared in SELF magazine, in beauty and branding for Bloomingdale’s, and others.
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Article Last Updated July 8, 2022 12:00 AM