What To Know About The Blooming Gel Nail Trend

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Have you ever looked up at the sky and watched a cloud expand and change shape? Ever brushed watercolor paint across a piece of paper and seen its color unfold on the page? Now, imagine if you could stare at the same effect all day, but on your nails. 

A gel nail trend called "blooming gel nails" does just that. Like a flower unfurls its petals, a special gel agent causes this gel polish to react by spreading out ever so slightly on your nail, creating art that is completely unique to you. Similar to the look of the Korean marble nails trend, this look is feminine, colorful, and malleable to your aesthetic. Here's everything you need to know. 

The blooming gel nail technique

Blooming gel nail art is achieved using one particular product, aptly named blooming nail gel. Creative nail expert Zahra Bedassy told Refinery29 that the product is very much like a standard polish base coat. However, once you apply this gel, any color you brush on top will "bloom." Because of the effect of the gel, this trend is almost more of a technique than a look in itself that can be played with and transformed to achieve your desired results.

At-home versus salon costs

As long as you have the blooming gel polish itself (this one from Beetles costs about $10 on Amazon), a UV LED nail lamp (this mini one costs about $5 from Amazon), and your favorite collection of gel polishes (this neutral set of six from Beetles costs $15), you're set for many nail sessions at home for about $30. But to ensure that your blooming gel manicure is everything you've dreamed of, you might consider the professional treatment from a trained nail technician. 

While the cost of nail art manicures varies depending on the salon you visit and even the region you live in — a gel nail art session at this nail salon in New York might cost at least $85, while a gel nail art session at this nail salon in Arizona might cost at least $35 — it is wise to call your salon and double-check that it both carries a blooming gel product, as well as the expected cost. Typically, you can expect a range of about $40 to $80, not much more than a regular gel manicure.

Blooming gel aura nails

Aligning with the hypnotic effect the nails tend to invoke, some have created a micro-trend known as "aura nails" using the blooming gel nail technique. Taking inspiration from aura photography, which is said to capture the color of your energetic field, some have been transferring the colors of their auras onto their nails using blooming gel to create a similar look. Use one color or more, even layering them on top of each other, for a colorful and sophisticated look. Simple but meaningful, the aura nails micro-trend is a beautiful aesthetic to express a part of yourself once unseen to those around you!

Celebrities spotted with blooming gel nail art

A few celebrities have joined in on the blooming gel nail trend as well. Megan Fox went for the aura nail mico-trend back in August, after nail artist Brittany Boyce painted them a beautiful lilac and orange. FKA Twigs, an early adopter of all things cool, also displayed a psychedelic pattern with neon colors painted by nail artist @irmaninails. Dua Lipa has also shown off her blooming gel nails, which were created by ever-so-gently brushing rather than dotting the polish across the nail. The effect is what some call a snake-skin effect, another micro-trend under the blooming gel nail umbrella. 

Tips and tricks when using blooming gel

Because working with blooming nail gel can be a delicate process, there are some green-light techniques to watch out for. First and foremost, the blooming gel needs to be painted before, and not after, you lay down the color you want to bloom, and should still be wet when you add the color. Then, it can go under the lamp light. You might also want to start with a base color to create both an even base and contrast to the art. Because of the nature of the technique, the look is more artistic than precise. That's part of the fun!

Seasonal blooming gel nail art

As the holidays fast approach, you could try winter-themed nails that are far from predictable with the blooming nail technique. This nail tech, for example, created snowflake nail art with the blooming gel technique. She first used a glittery blue base coat and dotted spots of white across the nail in a snowflake pattern. As the paint bloomed, it created the effect of fluffy snow. After, she used a stick to outline the snowflake pattern and cured the nail. She then repeated the process without the blooming gel to define the snowflake pattern. As a finishing touch, she added a crystal to the center. 

Blooming gel nail tutorials

Blooming gel nails can be experimented with at home to no end. First, determine the kind of nail art you're going for, whether it be the aura trend, psychedelic aesthetic, pretty petals, or sophisticated snakeskin. There are plenty of at-home tutorials abound on both TikTok and Instagram for any of these looks. Tiktoker @hannah.rosato expresses a bright take on aura nails, while @setsby.lex exemplifies a psychedelic vibe. Meanwhile, @nineluxenails is all about flower power, and @broganbbeauty shows how to get those slithering snake scales. Remember that these are just examples. We hope you let your own creations bloom, too! For more ideas and product recommendations, check out our top five blooming gels for your trendiest manicures