The Experts Have Spoken—These 6 Nails Trends Are Set to Be Huge in 2022

Over the past year, we have experienced somewhat of a nail frenzy. While makeup and hair used to give us our aesthetic kicks on Instagram, in 2021, we noticed a dramatic shift in the sorts of things the beauty set were paying attention to. Nails used to be considered beauty’s annoying little cousin that no one really wanted to play with. Doing our nails was a chore and nail art was reserved exclusively for in-salon acrylics.

Nowadays, however, nails are king. We spend hours scrolling through Instagram, saving down all of the cutest nail ideas that come our way so that we can show them to our nail techs. And while nail trends used to be limited to simple shades and finishes, thanks to the internet and calibre of artistry out there, what we’re now dealing with is forward-thinking, super-creative styles that we can’t wait to get on our nails.

And the good news is that the biggest nail trends of 2022 are set to be even more beautiful than the ones we have seen this year. To get some insight into what nail trends we can expect to lead the way next year, we reached out to some of the top nail technicians in the game. Trust us—these are the nail trends to know.

No, this isn’t particularly ground-breaking news, but just know that polished neutrals aren’t going anywhere next year. “Fresh neutrals are timeless,” says OPI brand ambassador Georgia Rae. “Clean cuticles, nourished skin and a thin layer of a sheer nude to complement your skin tone will remain a trend in 2022,” she adds.

And the best bit is, according to Rae, this trend really does work for anybody and everybody—even those who don’t like polish. “I even think short, neat nails worn bare are so chic,” she says.

We have already dipped our toes into this trend in 2021, but next year, things are going to ramp up. While Harriet Westmoreland’s iconic micro-French is still leading the way in terms of the most popular nail trends around, the French manicure has even more potential than anyone originally thought. CND education ambassador Victoria Trafford explains, “The French is being taken in all directions. It’s been turned 90 degrees to create a side tip and is being created with wavy tips, too.”

And the wavy tip is set to be a real standout. “We’ll be seeing lots of quirky variations on this classic, such as the ‘wavy French.’ You don’t need a steady hand to re-create it, as the charm is that each nail is slightly different,” says Rae.

Behold, the rise of the micro mani. “Random minimal details, such as micro hearts, stars or pretty much anything you like are a fun yet subtle way to spice up any manicure,” says Rae. And while nail stickers are a super-easy way to achieve a professional-looking finish, if you’re feeling creative, you can get the look with polish, too.

“Hearts are surprisingly easy to paint,” reveals Rae. “Decant a little polish onto a palette, place two dots on the nail using the end of a bobby pin and then join them up with a nail art brush to form a point at the bottom!”

This year, we saw Bottega green leading the way as the nail colour of choice, but things are changing for 2022. “Blues will be the colour of 2022,” says Rae. “They look cool as a detail on a nude nail or worn as a block colour.” 

And it can be worn in a number of ways. “For winter, try a deep, navy-blue hue like CND’s High-Waisted Jeans. In spring, try creating an ombré of blue shades on each hand—it’s so easy to replicate at home,” says Trafford.

Shake off any preconceptions you have around animal print on nails because in 2022, it’s going to look chicer than ever before. “Animal prints are here to stay. At Rodarte S/S 22, we saw the zebra print flawlessly painted onto nails, creating a bold and striking statement,” says Trafford. And it’s not just zebra print that’s set to hit the big tim; cow prints are having a serious moment too.

Potentially the biggest overarching nail trend of 2022 will be a major continuation of creative nail art. “I think we’re going to see a rise in those asking for more complex and brighter nail art,” reveals Trafford. “The rise of nails on Instagram means that everyone is flooded with inspiration every day. After two years of uncertainty, everyone will be looking forward to their nail appointments and getting to express themselves through their nails again.”

What’s more is that this trend is encouraging people to get braver with practising their own nail art at home, too. If you really want to explore your creative side, why not invest in a gel lamp and keep your handy work lasting longer?

Next up, 11 nail polish brands that deliver salon-grade manicures.