It can be hard keeping up with the pace of the fashion world. Price tags can far exceed budgets – and even when you make an investment, trends pass quickly. No sooner are you ‘on trend’ that you are very firmly out of it again.
Following nail trends, however, is different. A bottle of nail polish or trip to your nearest nail spa (plus a little creativity) will allow you to follow fashion closely, without blowing the budget. From painting graphic prints on our nails, to going for subtle nude hues, to choosing extravagant embellishments, we have rounded up the manicure trends that will get you noticed for all the right reasons this autumn..
Much like the deep berry shades swathed across the lips of models on the new season catwalks, hues of claret, deep purple, and raspberry red were big news for nails, too. Seen at shows including Preen, the shape of nails was kept short, round, and with a high-shine top coat.
So what is the key to wearing dark, berry shades on our nails? ‘Prep, prep, prep!’ says Revlon nail expert Jenny Longworth. ‘I can’t stress enough the importance of a good base – not only to anchor your polish in place but also to prevent deep colour pigments leeching into your nail and lingering long after you’ve moved on to another shade. Start by gently buffing the nail and then using a cotton pad soaked in remover to ensure you have an oil-free, polish-free base. Finish with a top coat, running it along the edge of the nail as well as the length of it. This will help prevent chipping – and reapplying every two to three days will extend the life of your manicure impressively.’
Try Start with a good quality base, such as Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Clear’d for Take Off (Dh39, supermarkets nationwide). The 7-in-1 product can be used as a top coat too, promising a long-lasting and chip-free finish.
When it comes to colour try the deep inky purple hue of Lauren B Beauty Nail Couture in Hollywood Royalty (Dh65, Glamazle.com) – those who prefer something a little brighter try the raspberry red of Wow by Wojooh Color Ritual in Berry Stain (Dh55, Wojooh.com).
Ever considered painting zebra prints on your nails? The backstage team at Henry Holland did exactly that for their autumn-winter show, using nail art pens to create graphic, eye-catching stripes on talons. But that wasn’t the only arty print seen on nails this season. From monochrome polka dots, to outlines in black, creativity was out in force.
So how do you recreate it? Ideally you need a black nail art pen – but failing that, nail art guru Miss Pop (misspopnails.com) suggests, ‘paint a porous piece of paper towel with a stroke of black regular nail polish and dab it down on the nail for a similar effect.’
Try Start with your base coat. At Henry Holland, the base to the zebra stripes was silver – and Dolce & Gabbana Nail Lacquer in Baroque Silver (Dh130, Paris Gallery) would be ideal. Then it’s time to get arty – and investing in a nail art pen is a wise choice. Wow by Wojooh Nailed It Pen (Dh30, Wojooh.com) will make it easy. Simply dip the end in your polish of choice – we recommend jet black Essie Nail Lacquer in Licorice (Dh40, The Nail Spa) – and then get creative with your design. Not got a steady hand? Lottie London Paint by Numbers Manicure (Dh65, glamazle.com) allows you to create a design with the help of stencils. Simply pick your polishes and fill in the design to create unique nail art.
Prefer a natural look? You’re in luck, as Dior set the trend on the autumn winter catwalks for short, square, tidy nails painted in natural, nude hues. But with so many shades on the market, which one will suit your skin tone?
‘The best neutral tone for fair skin is pink because it supports the pink and blue undertones in pale skin tones,’ explains top manicurist Jin Soon Choi.
Celebrity manicurist Jenna Hipp continues: ‘Medium skin tones look best with a pinky beige. It can help brighten the natural skin tone. It also looks fresh, clean, and current. You should, however, avoid nudes with yellow undertones because instead of enhancing it, the polish will bring out the subtle yellowness common to your skin tone, and it’s simply not flattering.’
Jenna Hipp adds, ‘For olive skin tones, peach hues are especially pretty in the summer months when skin tends to have a bit more of a tan.’
And for dark skin? ‘You’ve got options,’ explains Jin Soon. ‘Dark skin tones can handle the greatest variety of colours. Rosy beige is my favourite. The beige component contrasts nicely with dark skin while the warm tone of rose complements it nicely.’
Try Fair skin tones can’t go wrong with Gucci Bold High-Gloss Lacquer in 020 (Dh170, counters nationwide), whilst medium skin tones will be flattered by China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Whats She Dune (Dh36, Glamazle.com). For those with olive skin, the delicate peach hue of Ciate Paint Pots in Couture (Dh60, Wojooh.com) will work well, whilst Lottie London Lacquer in Sand Castle (Dh39, Virgin Megastore, Yas Mall) will work beautifully with darker skin tones; a flattering rose pink, infused with gold glitter for a little extra sparkle.
We have the label Libertine to thank for showcasing nails decorated with the most extravagant embellishments this season – and we’re not just talking about a little diamante… Think along the lines of faux fur trims and elaborate crystal-embellished eye sculptures attached to the nails, all created by the CND Design Lab Team (who have worked with the label for the past few seasons).
‘They are a dream team sent from heaven above,’ says Libertine designer Johnson Hartig. ‘This season, they not only created out-of-this-world nails for the female and male models, but they even sculpted miniature eye pins to accessorise the clothing. They go above and beyond every season, and the show just wouldn’t be the same without them.’
Try But how do you get creative with embellishments off the catwalk? The easiest way is to visit a nail spa with talented artists, such as the Contemporary Art service at The Nail Spa (Dh15-20 per nail, Thenailspa.com). Several locations have an art bar, described as ‘an innovative lab for nail design’ where you can choose embellishments and jewels to adorn your manicure.
Want to do it yourself at home? Your easiest route is to invest in a nail art kit, such as Ciate Caviar Manicure in Cotton Candy (Dh145, Wojooh.com). Follow the steps to adorn your nails in tiny pearls for a quirky, but professional result.
Sparkling silvers, burnt bronzes, and glittering golds shouldn’t just be reserved for the festive season – as thanks to labels Creatures of the Wind and Opening Ceremony, metallic nails are bang on trend for the season ahead.
But let’s be honest; metallic colours aren’t the easiest to get right. So how do you apply the polishes like a pro and avoid a streaky mess? According to celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann, it’s all about investing in a ridge-filling base coat.
‘Start with clean dry smooth nail,’ she says. ‘Then, apply a ridge-filler base coat and let this dry for two minutes. Next, apply two very thin coats of your metallic polish, letting each coat dry for two minutes in between. Resist the temptation to try to get the look on the first coat.’
Try Seche Base (Dh45, Glamazle.com) was specially formulated to disguise imperfections and fill ridges, making it the ideal first step to the perfect metallic manicure.
Fans of darker metallic hues will love Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer in Métal-Montaigne (Dh129, counters nationwide), whilst those that prefer brighter golden shades will like Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Colour in Golden-I (Dh19, supermarkets nationwide).