We have some tremendously good news: In 2024, nail art trends are finally getting a make-under. Listen, we love a stacked and studded manicure when the vibe is there, like Megan Thee Stallion’s gold-jewelry nails or Doja Cat’s bedazzled manicure, but for everyday life? In this economy? Please give us something easy. (We’re tired of this, grandpa.) Thankfully, the universe has delivered and the next year’s batch of nail looks is filled with clean and simple designs, like negative-space French tips and easy dotted florals. Plus, we’ll see a surge in tools like nail stickers and squeeze tube gels that make more intricate art attainable for everyone.
Of course, if you’re a nail-art purist who prefers to spend three hours in the salon, you’ll still have some intricate options, like hand-drawn porcelain nails that rival the antiques sitting at the Smithsonian. Basically, the nail art of 2024 is a choose-your-own-adventure moment that can be classed up or dressed down.
To walk us through all the best nail-art inspo — and how to recreate the looks at home — we chatted with the industry’s top nail artists and manicurists. Keep scrolling and get ready to screenshot.
Meet the experts:
Floating French tips
French tips have officially taken over next year’s nailsphere and the spring 2024 runways were no exception. At Staud, lead nail artist Julie Kandalec re-imagined the micro-French tip by adding a negative-space spin to it. Using an ultra-skinny paint brush (yup, actual paint brushes), she floated each “tip” up and across the lower third of the nail for a striped effect. “This look is a low-risk entry into nail art, especially because you can add a little bit of color without it feeling like a statement,” says Kandalec.
Because a floating French is the inversion of a typical painted tip, Kandalec recommends “starting with a neutral base color with some coverage, so it can hide the natural free edge of your nail.” For some not-too-sheer coverage, we like Lights Lacquer Nail Polish in Mrs Potts (for lighter skin tones) or in the shade Mrs Wheeler (for deeper skin tones).
3D jelly art
Despite being incredibly popular in Korea and Japan for the last few years, 3D jelly nails haven’t amassed the same fan following in America quite yet. But that’s about to change in 2024, according to our experts, who have been seeing a rise in 3D accents this year (like the pink 3D bow above, or the silver 3D heart, or the clear 3D raindrops). “It’s a super fun and crafty way to apply gel,” says Kandalec, who loves the Korean brand Jello Jello ZigZag Nail Gel for her three-dimensional designs (another popular K-beauty option is the Keepu Custom Gel, or you can go with Amazon-favorite Makartt 3D Artistic Gel).
“The quick and easy way to get this look at home is to use a 3D gel in a tube or a pot,” says Los Angeles-based nail artist Vanessa Sanchez McCullough. “The gel stays where you place it, so you just squeeze or dab it in the shape you want, then cure it and potentially build upon it with other colors.”
Swirl nails, ripple nails, whoa-that-looks-like-water nails — whatever you call ‘em is fine, just as long as you’re talking about them for 2024. As we head into the new year, these twirly, swirly nails can be found on virtually every artist’s IG grid, and for good reason: They’re an easy way to play around with bright color combos, without requiring a perfectly steady hand.
“I’m a huge fan of bold, contrasting nail shades, so I love seeing them paired together in swirl designs, as they tend to ‘pop’ a bit more,” says Portland-based nail artist Brittney Ellen. “You can experiment with groovy swirls, abstract swirls, psychedelic swirls, and textured swirls — really, it’s just about expressing your personality and mood with these types of designs.”
Every artist has a different technique for creating their swirls (Ellen prefers to carefully draw them on with a nail brush, while Kandalec likes to use Gelish Blooming Gel for a marbled effect). Regardless of the technique, make sure to use “a generous amount of topcoat,” says Ellen, to prevent the design from bleeding and smudging at the end. “I’ve noticed that when a brush doesn’t have enough topcoat on it, it touches the design and tends to ‘pull’ the polish and create ridges.” She likes to use UNT’s Base and Top Coat to finish off her swirls, but you can also try the high-shine, long-lasting Essie Gel Setter Topcoat (it’s so good, it’s won an Allure Best of Beauty award three times).
Aura nail art
Good news (or bad, if you’re a h8r): Aura nails aren’t going anywhere in 2024. In fact, our experts say they’re one of the biggest nail-art trends we can expect to see next year — and honestly, we aren’t mad about it. “I love the illusion of aura art,” says Kandalec. “It creates this really beautiful apex and gradient on your nails that looks expensive.”
If you’re a pro at doing your own nail art, you can try to recreate this look on yourself by painting the aura design onto a clean makeup wedge, then dabbing it onto your nail (peep this aura tutorial from Ellen to see how). Or, you can try the eyeshadow method, which involves stippling eyeshadow over slightly tacky nails before sealing with a topcoat.
Glazed porcelain nails
Sorry grandma, but we’re taking your antique ceramics and putting them on our nails for 2024. “Blue-and-white prints have had a resurgence of popularity recently because they’re effortlessly elegant, timeless, and loved by so many cultures,” says nail artist Emily Zheng, who paid homage to the Year of the Rabbit with her Chinese porcelain nails above.
Brooklyn-based nail artist Samantha Rose — whose nails take inspiration from Dutch Delftware — agrees: “The color combo is so comforting, like a thrifted vase or vintage teapot, that you can’t help but be drawn to it and stare at it.” Though both experts free-handed their own porcelain designs (“none of it is painted perfectly, which adds to the overall vibe of the design,” says Rose), we suggest leaving this trend up to your manicurist for the sharpest results. Or, you can attempt a similar vibe at home with a set of Delft-blue nail decals (great for beginners) or try your hand at nail stamping with some Chinese porcelain-print plates and a Delft-blue nail polish.
Molten chrome accents
One of the biggest nail trends and pedicure colors of 2023 was chrome — specifically, a full set of monochromatic silver that screamed bling. But for 2024 nail art, the megawatt shine will be dialed back and replaced with molten chrome accents that snake along your nails like flames. “Chrome nail art can really elevate a simple nail look and spice it up without feeling overwhelming,” says Ellen, who prefers to use chrome nail stickers rather than free-handing the design.
You can pair your chrome accents with a complementary base color, like Zheng’s metallic polish above, or mash it together with a mix of 2024 trends, like adding it to aura nails or crystal nails. Either way, “chrome is not a short-term trend,” says Brittney Boyce, a nail artist and founder of the nail-care brand Nails of LA. “It’s here to stay.”
If you first came into consciousness during the early aughts, you probably spent the first few years of your manicured life with floral nail art adorning your toes. But don’t worry, the squared-off French tips won’t be joining us in 2024 — just the dotted flowers sprinkled across each fingernail. “These are the simplest flowers you can paint for a beginner, yet they will always look impressive,” says Rose. She suggests using a dotting tool, bobby pin, or toothpick to create the florals, and to play around with their size and color to change the vibe of your mani.
Also, unlike many of the ‘00s trends that burn brightly for a month before fizzling out, these throwback flowers “aren’t specific enough to be associated with a season,” says Rose, meaning they can easily be worn year-round. “I can do them in red, green, and white, and nobody is wondering why I’m doing floral nails for Christmas,” she says. “They’re truly a blank canvas for every season and holiday.”
One of the easiest nail art trends of 2024 is the mono-crystal mani (also seen at Eudon Choi’s spring/summer show), which requires virtually no skill or planning. As long as you’ve got some tiny rhinestones and nail glue (or, tbh, a tacky base coat), you can easily recreate this look at home. “This is a look that anyone can pull off,” says Boyce, who accented her neutral nails with free-edge crystals, while Rose opted for crystal-lined cuticles against a French ombré mani. Don’t get too hung up on the placement of the gem though. “It’s not about the crystal itself; it’s more about the reflection when it catches the light,” says Kandalec.
When attempting this look at home, Boyce recommends letting your base coat, polish, and topcoat dry for 10 minutes, then dotting nail glue onto your nail before pressing and sticking the crystal in place with tweezers. “Make sure to hold the stone in place for about 30 seconds, then avoid water contact for 30 minutes,” says Boyce.
Elementary school is back in session for 2024 with alphabet manis — i.e., individually lettered nails that have started to pop up in different iterations as we creep closer to the new year. At Helmut Lang’s spring/summer show, models wore the designer’s name spelled out across each nail in sans-serif typeface, while celebrity nail artists like Boyce have been playing around with gothic fonts against French tips. Even Vanessa Hudgens tried alphabet nails for her bridal manicure, spelling out “BRIDE” and “MRS. T” in gothic letters along her French ombré nails.
“I’m obsessed with this look,” says Boyce of the alphabet trend. “It adds a minimalist tattoo vibe to your mani that feels slightly edgy.” To help the lettering better stand out, start with a milky base coat that matches your natural nail, but provides a bit of coverage, like the Londontown Perfecting Nail Veil Polish collection of nudes. Then, for the typeface itself, “you can either have a nail artist hand-paint it at the salon, or you can use decals or stickers to get the same look at home,” she says.
Discover more nail trends:
Now, watch how to get the chrome nails trend: