Since you’re reading Who What Wear, it’s probably safe to assume that you enjoy keeping up with the latest and greatest in fashion and beauty. Even if that’s not the case, odds are you like to experiment with your personal style every now and again, and what better way to dip your toes—erm, fingers—into a new trend than with your manicure? Taking a new nail color, design, or technique for a test drive doesn’t have to be a major commitment, which is why we’re excited about experimenting with a bunch of exciting new nail trends in 2020.
Of course, as Who What Wear editors, we don’t just follow the trends—we discover them. Thanks to four of our favorite nail industry experts, we’re pretty sure these nail trends are going to be making waves in the next year (and new decade) to come. So whether you’re a classic French manicure devotee looking for a subtle way to change it up, enjoy experimenting every time you visit the nail salon, or prefer to go the DIY route at home, our experts have predicted 19 nail trends that should definitely be on your radar.
Keep scrolling for incredible nail art inspiration, subtle new shades, sleek designs, and even a few technical innovations to keep an eye out for according to the professionals behind buzzworthy brands Olive & June, Mazz Hanna Beauty, Jin Soon, and Varnish Lane. These women definitely know what’s up when it comes to the latest and greatest in nail care—just don’t forget the top coat!
For early 2020, Sarah Gibson Tuttle of Olive and June says we can expect to see metallics continue to dominate our feeds. "Everything from warm rose gold to icy platinum," she predicts.
Celebrity crystal manicurist Mazz Hanna agrees, predicting we'll see a variety of different hues with pearly metallic finishes. "It's been a while since frosty colors have been on trend, so I predict this making a comeback in a big way."
Editorial manicurist Jin Soon Choi predicts that yellow will see a major comeback due to its "undeniably young and fun spirit." Eva Chen, pictured above, sported a bright yellow Jin Soon shade for the 2019 Met Gala.
Lauren Dunne, co-founder and CEO of Varnish Lane, predicts that dark greens are going to be big in 2020. "It's a shade that people weren't comfortable wearing for a long time, and they're just now realizing that it's an extremely universally flattering shade that gets tons of compliments."
For spring, Tuttle expects to see shades reminiscent of a garden party. "We are in a sage, sunny yellow, and pinky lavender mood," she explains. "Adding a higher concentration of white into shades really makes the color pop."
"We're so excited to see classic blue chosen as the Pantone color of the year for 2020 because we already see this color becoming more popular for nails," says Dunne. Jin Soon Choi agrees, noting that blue is definitely an It color for next year.
"I used various nudes during the 2020 fashion week shows for Tibi, Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Coach, and Longchamp," recalls Choi. She recommends experimenting by using nude alone, nude/ombre, and nude in a matte finish for a cool spin on the nude trend.
Olive & June clients are still not over the ombré mani. "I think we'll see this design trend transition from a different shade on every finger to a more subtle two or three shade ombré," explains Tuttle.
This is not your grandmother's French manicure! "For 2020, instead of a traditional crescent, we'll see new tip styles such as heart shapes, double Frenches, and asymmetrical placement," says Tuttle.
Hannah agrees, noting that we should expect to see more variations in the tip color and width of line work on the nail tip as pictured above.
Choi concurs, sharing, "Simple nail art, such as tweaked versions of French manicures and halfway negative space, confetti, and one big dot on each finger will be popular." A lot of artists used this modern style of French nail art during the NYFW S/S 20, as seen above at the Rag & Bone show.
Tuttle says she is looking forward to applying color theory to create more nuanced and custom colors. "We'll see the layering of polishes to give even more dimensionality to shades," she explains. Try layering a metallic under a barely there sheen for a subtle glow from within that works year-round.
Creating products that really work is a priority across the beauty business as we head into the 2020s. Tuttle shares that the Olive & June team is working on a few new treatments and looking forward to creating even more products that are truly innovative (like its patented universal polish bottle handle, pictured above) in the coming decade.
Hanna is super excited about Orly's Builder in a Bottle product, which she says has totally changed the nail extension game. "It makes gel nail extensions super easy, which is great because it's a much healthier alternative to toxic acrylics."
Poly gel is the latest nail tech invention that has caught Choi's eye. "It's a breakthrough nail enhancement that can be applied as an overlay or used to sculpt a full set of nails," she explains. "The enhanced formula delivers strong, flexible, feather-light nails—it is astonishingly light on clients yet stronger than hard gels," she raves.
Additionally, Choi predicts that gel nail stickers with fun colors and designs will continue to grow in popularity, longevity, and shine as seen above on Choi's client.
When it comes to the biggest trend in nail care, Varnish Lane is already leading the way. The Washington, D.C.–based salons are setting the standard for waterless nail care.
By eliminating water, a main source of infection when getting a manicure, they have created a much safer service for clients. Additionally, when hands and feet are soaked in water, they become waterlogged and are not able to absorb any other moisturizing products. Furthermore, nails also expand in water, which causes polish to chip prematurely. If all of this isn't convincing enough, waterless manicures save up to 15 gallons of water per service, making it much more environmentally friendly than the traditional treatment.
Saving the planet's water supply one manicure at a time? That's something we can all support in 2020.