Pastels are a perennial springtime favorite — and the cheery palette doesn’t have to be boring. Ganzorigt encourages people to step away from a solid, glossy manicure in favor of experimenting with eye-catching finishes like chrome or velvet. For a chrome finish, apply one to two coats of your pastel of choice and top with chrome powder using a nail sponge. For a velvet finish, layer on magnetic nail polish.
3. Ombré: Bring back faded tips in a bold way.
“Ombrés are hot,” says Choi. But it’s not the ombré of the early aughts. Choi says the fade is starker this time around with more color concentrated at the tips. “Take a small soft sponge and dab at the tips with the darker color, gradually fading [toward the cuticle],” says Choi, stopping about a third of the way down your nail bed. If black isn’t your springtime vibe, you can remix the look with different color combinations.
4. Micro-French: Keep things minimal with a dainty design.
The classic French manicure has gone full-on minimalist this spring. “Micro-French nail art is the most frequently requested nail design at my salons,” says Choi. She predicts the look will replace solid-colored pastels, at least for the next few months.
5. Milky Nails: Dress up your neutral manicure with a pearl finish.
Healthy-looking nails never go out of style, and this spring is no exception: “[A sheer, pearly manicure] was the most sought-after and favorite on runways and fashion campaigns of the season,” says Choi. We spotted it at both Sandy Liang and LoveShackFancy’s fall 2023 shows. To dress up your bare nails with a milky finish, apply one to two coats of opalescent pink lacquer like JinSoon Pixie or OPI Bubble Bath. It’s your nails, but better.
6. French Ombre: Blur the lines of two designs.
If you love the look of ombre and French manicures, why choose? Combine them for an ethereal look. “The ombré effect diffuses the [usual] contrast and adds a touch of subtlety,” says nail artist Rita Remark. To blur the lines, “layering is essential,” says Ganzorigt. “Apply layers of polish as thin as possible to create the gradient effect.” This allows the color the blend together.
7. Florals: Embellish your nails with a blooming design.
Cliché as it may be, florals continue to scream spring. We aren’t talking about one dainty daisy though. “I’m seeing so much more detail going into floral-designed nails and clients are wanting louder, more eye-catching sets,” says nail artist Morgan Dixon. If you’re not confident in your freehand painting abilities, nail artist Erica Hipp recommends using a dotting tool to create petals. Also, “retracting the click button on a ballpoint pen does a good job,” says Hipp.
8. Black Polish: Channel Wednesday Addams this spring.
The Wednesday Addams effect isn’t dying down anytime soon, so expect to see some moody manicures. Models at Rodarte and Alice and Olivia’s fall 2023 shows walked the runway with long, stiletto-shaped nails coated in black polish. At Rodarte, nail artist Danielle Candido added a metallic finish for a bit more shine. In the spirit of spring, Candido suggests using black as an accent color (try a black flower accent nail) or testing out a French manicure with dark tips.
9. Negative Space: Try a design on half of your nail.
This spring’s take on negative nails is slightly different than the traditional. Unlike the original negative space look, the whole nail is painted with a sheer lacquer to make the design look “more polished,” says Hipp. One negative space design we will be referencing is Vanessa Hudgens’s black and white mod-inspired manicure she wore to the Oscars. Nail artist Hang Nguyen recommends painting on these intricate designs with a thin nail brush.