If you grew up playing with My Little Pony, the nostalgic unicorn nails trend has your name written all over it. Like the mystical creature they’re named after, unicorn nails are colorful and mesmerizing. Don’t worry, we’re not telling you to paint actual unicorns on your nails, instead this trend is all about the color and finish. Think: iridescent pastel shades and color-shifting shimmer.
According to Rachel Goodman, the Beauty and Luxury Partnerships Lead at Pinterest, unicorn nails fall right under the “All the Raves” category that Pinterest identified in their 2023 Predicts report. Inspired by colorful rave culture, the category is all about a “chrome look and colorful vibes,” just like unicorn nails.
Manicurist, Julie Kandalec, and founder of Julie K Nail Artelier in NYC agrees, and says that unicorn nails are “a more fun and colorful version of the glazed donut nail.” Mazz Hanna, CEO of Nailing Hollywood and founder of her eponymous nail brand, adds that this trend is timely as “unicorn nails are a subtle nod to the upcoming bright spring palette, while still remaining wintry.”
Some of the best things about this look are that it’s “easy to recreate at home, at the nail salon, and also matches many different fashion looks,” says Kandalec.
Unlike glazed donut nails, which are more neutral and subtle, unicorn nails are playful and fun. The best chrome nail polishes will help you get a similar look, but unicorn nails typically use pastel shades. Think of your nails like a mood ring: you’ll see different pastel shades within the reflective chrome finish. “Glazed donut nails use a sheer chrome pigment, so the base color shows through more,” explains Kandalec, while “unicorn nails have a white chrome base with an opalescent flash in different shades like pink and orange, and green and purple.”
Now, to replicate the unicorn trend. It’s easy enough to bring inspo pics to your salon. But, unlike intricate nail art, you can actually DIY it.
If you’ve gotten chrome polish done in the salon, you know that the powder looks almost like an eye shadow with a sponge applicator, which Kandalec says that you can actually use! But, the technique can take some time to get the hang of, so prepare for some possible streaks.
If you want to try your hand at powder, though, she says that Opi Chrome Effects Top Coat and evpct Chrome Nail Powder Kit are the perfect pair. After you apply a white or cream base– this will help the unicorn colors pop–she says to apply the top coat and cure it with an LED lamp. We like the mini, budget-friendly version from Dashing Diva. Then, apply the unicorn powder with a Real Techniques Miracle Mini Complexion Sponge and finish with another layer of the top coat and cure it again.
Want to take it up a notch? Kandalec recommends swapping the chrome powder for Danessa Myricks Beauty Infinite Chrome Flakes Multichrome Gel for Eyes & Face. The brand offers ten opalescent shades, but the one called Strobe Light is perfectly on brand with the rave trend predicted by Pinterest. It’s described as “winter white with opalescent purple shift.” These flecks will provide more of a textured look than the chrome powder alone.
If powder isn’t your thing, there are polishes that give a similar look. Hanna’s favorites are Zoya Nail Lacquer in Leia, a creamy shimmer with a pink glitter effect, Dazzle Dry Spiritual Diva, an iridescent pink oyster shell, and Orly Crystal Healing, sheer white lilac shimmer. Kandalec goes for the subtle off-white and blue shift polishes from Lights Lacquer in Voulez-Vouz and Clara to recreate this look. Nails Inc also has a Unicorn Nail Polish Duo in a sparkly blue and purple combo or a rose gold shimmer.
For the most low maintenance way to score unicorn nails, Hanna recommends Dashing Diva Pearl Glaze, which are gel nail strips that you apply and then cure with an LED lamp for a long-wear gel finish sans the actual nail painting or powder process.
The post Unicorn Nails Are the Iridescent Manicure Perfect for Spring appeared first on Glamour.