Pierced Nails Are The Latest '90s Trend To Make A Comeback

You can pierce your ears and many other body parts — this is hardly a new practice. Researchers have traced body piercings to almost every culture throughout recorded history, according to the British Medical Association. Given that body jewelry is a statement of bold creativity and undeniable fashion, it's easy to see why piercing has remained such a popular practice.

Another stylish way to accessorize is with your nail art. From a simple French manicure to neon embellished nails, you can't go wrong with decking out your digits. Now, the boldness of piercings and the art of nail polish have come together again for the return of pierced nails.

The '90s birthed many trends, some we'd rather forget and others that we're dying to try again (kitten heels, anyone?). Fashion was a stand-out during this decade, as was experimental and over-the-top nail art. Pierced nails allowed people to show off unconventional and sometimes wild styles on their fingers with ease, and it looks to be the same this time around. If you didn't get to try this trend at the end of the 20th century, now's your chance to adapt it to fit your own personal aesthetic. 

Barbell pierced nails are super fun

Part of the fun of piercings is customizing the jewelry. Rings, barbells, and gems are popular embellishments that come in various shapes and colors. Straight barbells are cool and edgy, which may explain why they're the most popular choice for industrial ear piercings (per Fresh Trends). However, barbells for your pierced nails don't have to mean a rocker aesthetic. Curved barbells lend to a whimsical vibe, and picking bright-colored end pieces helps to create a feminine look. The dice and cone barbells on the above inspiration photo complete the colorful design with a funky, bold flair.

Hoop pierced nails can be classy and elegant

Hoop earrings are a jewelry staple for those with pierced ears. They can elevate any look, no matter the size or finish. Plus, they work just as well for your nails as they do for your ears. A single hoop for your pierced nails gives you a classic, elegant design. It's an easy way to upgrade any manicure regardless of whether you're keeping it simple with white polish or painting on a bold neon.

Chain-link pierced nails lend a punk vibe

First come barbells and hoops, then come chains. This isn't something you'd find at the scrapyard but rather an unconventional accessory to complete your manicure. Bondage kink aside, chains are the ultimate addition for a punk vibe or even to complement the bikercore trend. You'll be guaranteed to stand out with chain-link pierced nails. For a less industrial look, go for rose gold or bronze hardware. The shimmery pink will add femininity, while brown is a neutral color that calms the loud design, MasterClass suggests.

Try press-on pierced nails if you don't want to commit

Commitment can be scary, especially with new trends. You can't just take off acrylic and powder nails if you decide you don't like them, but with press-on nails, the story is a bit different. You can try the pierced nail look guilt-free with a press-on set. Even Kim Kardashian rocked stiletto nails and kicked them to the curb hours later with the magic of press-ons (per WhoWhatWear). You can style a basic set of pierced nails yourself, or find pre-styled versions on Etsy.

Short pierced nails are great for office workers

Short nails aren't just more functional, but they can be healthier too. According to dermatologist Dr. Soma, long nails can hang onto viruses, bacteria, and other nasty germs that we'd rather avoid (via Glamour). Thankfully, you don't need long talons to try this nail trend. The nails do need to be long enough to be pierced without splitting, but that should be easy enough. One of the best things about nail art is transforming it to fit your aesthetic while staying true to the style. 

Double hoop pierced nails are funky and fun

If you love hoops, why not double the fun? Your pierced nail designs can have hoops on multiple fingers or multiple hoops on one digit. The design is reminiscent of a double helix ear piercing. However, unlike with body modification, you can be adorned with more bling without any pain with this trend. Nail artist Iram Shelton is a fan of the return of this '90s trend, telling Grazia, "I just love how nail piercings can elevate a traditional manicure and make your nails a focal point."

Animal print pierced nails are the height of fashion

Animal print is huge in the fashion world, and it has a place on your nails as well. Whatever your favorite animal, its print is a perfect pairing for the pierced nail trend. Big cats are popular animal prints, but don't forget about the snake, cow, and giraffe patterns too. The above tiger print inspiration is bedazzled with a single hoop pierced through the thumb. However, feel free to go wild (pun intended!) to find your perfect style.

Pierced nails with charms are darling

If you think nail piercings can't get any better, you are sadly mistaken. Who needs a charm bracelet when you can have charm nails? Attaching these tiny trinkets to your manicure is a unique way to match your earrings, necklace, or body piercings. You can represent your favorite animal, flower, or sports team with an ornament in a totally unique way. It's worth noting that if you type a lot or do other work with your hands throughout your day, you might want to opt for small charms.

Barbell and hoop pierced nails take the look to the next level

When you can't decide between barbells and hoops, go for both. The green and blue nail inspiration is pierced with the two jewelry styles, and we couldn't ask for better. This look truly embraces the idea of "the more, the merrier." The rainbow hardware proves you aren't limited to one color of metal, either. Mix and match the nail piercings to amplify the punk vibe. To highlight the jewelry, keep the nail polish simple and go crazy with the piercings. Or, to highlight the polish, keep the piercings minimal and go wild with the nail art.

Maximalist pierced nails aren't for the faint of heart

This trend screams maximalist. Playing with different mediums, textures, and colors is a fashionista's dream. As celebrity manicurist Maria Salandra tells Billboard, "Nail art is a direct creative expression of someone's personality. Why should anyone live in a grey world?" Our inspo nail design has a piercing in every nail, throwing in barbells with playful end pieces and even a horseshoe ring. Every nail is painted differently, yet the manicure comes together perfectly in the end. You can go simple for your pierced nails, but why not push the bar(bell)?

Gemstone pierced nails lend a little bling

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but that could be said of any sparkly gems. Piercing your nails with gemstones is a classic way to transform this trend from edgy to elegant. Lil Kim's money manicure was even featured in the Museum of Modern Art, per The Guardian — that's how high-brow this look can be. Add a precious rock to that manicure and your nails will be a piece of art worthy of display in any gallery. Match your tooth gem or rock your birthstone for an extra classy nail piercing.

Lipstick-shaped pierced nails take an innovative approach

Oval, squared, and stiletto-shaped nails are among the traditional ways nails are filed. However, tradition is already out the window with pierced nails. A lipstick-shaped manicure mimics the silhouette of one of the most classic and popular makeup products. The angled tips are playful, like an asymmetrical bob. As expert manicurist Kristin Gyimah tells InStyle, "The shape of lipstick is symbolic ... It embodies feelings of sexiness, femininity, empowerment, and glamour." It's not just a set of nails but a statement — and a jeweled one at that.

Heart cut-out pierced nails are worthy of love

Hole punches are not just for paper! The heart-shaped hole punch nails first came to life on Rita Ora's hands by nail technician Britney Tokyo (per Allure). Now, these must-have nails for Valentine's Day are colliding with the '90s pierced nails trend. Loop your favorite ring through the heart or secure a barbell to mimic Cupid's bow. The hearts soften the cool aesthetic of the piercings, but feel free to pick a shape that matches you to a tee. Just don't forget the jewelry.

Glow-in-the-dark pierced nails will light your way

Who needs a night light when you have glow-in-the-dark nails? This delightful design typically comes around during the spooky season, but the pierced nail trend has it showing its face all year long. Glow-in-the-dark may sound somewhat immature, but both the young and the young-at-heart are welcome to try this style. Bella Hadid even showed off her glow-in-the-dark nails, done by nail tech Mei Kawajiri, on Instagram. With piercings to finish the look, your manicure will be sure to light the way.

Oval-shaped pierced nails are subtle but beautiful

Oval nails are a classic for a reason. The shape lends to a natural design and it's perfect for those who want a subtle look. It's also the ideal nail shape to pair with the clean makeup aesthetic. Celebrity nail stylist Elle Gerstein is a big fan of the oval shape, telling MindBodyGreen that the extra surface area of the nail gained by using an oval shape allows you to show off more of your amazing nail art. It definitely helps to display the nail piercings too. The roundness of oval nails and hoop of piercing rings is a match made in heaven.

Stiletto-shaped pierced nails are scarily sexy

Stilettos aren't just for heels. It is a popular nail shape, and one look tells you why these claws are a hit. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi says it's great for those who like to take risks when it comes to fashion. The artist says, "People who want to sport a nail look that is outrageous and noticeable get this as a fashion accessory." And to push the envelope even further, they add nail piercings. The feature inspiration picture is a dark and daring stiletto nail shape, staying true to the pierced nails' original edgy and grungy look.

Pierced glass nails are full of artistic wonder

Piercing glass sounds dangerous and very unlikely to be successful. Of course, if you do manage to achieve it, the result is a true work of art. Also known as jelly nails, the design is transparent but far from basic, even before you add nail piercings. You can get clear nail piercings to match too. Nail expert Jane Safarian tells Allure, "The sheer jelly nails look almost like stained glass when the light shines through them." Combined with the pierced nail trend, your manicure will be simultaneously daring and delicate.

Square-shaped nails

Nail artist Mei Kawajiri took to Instagram to show off her square pierced nail design for fashion designer Philipp Plein's runway show. The nail expert, who has worked with brands like Balenciaga, featured chains, safety pins, and hoops in her pierced nails. The square shape perfectly accommodates any piercings of your choice, plus it tends to be hardier than other styles. The founder of Nails Inc., Thea Green, shares, "Square nails tend to be harder wearing and withstand more impact than other shapes so your nails could last longer" (per The Zoe Report).

Furry pierced nails bring out the animal in everyone

Animal print is one thing, but animal fur is a whole other level. According to Cosmopolitan, models at the Libertine Fall/Winter 2016 runway show sported faux fur and fuzzy nails. Co-founder of CND nail polish, Jan Arnold, was the mastermind behind the idea, which is just as compelling today. You too can have your nails runway ready with pierced furry nails. Perhaps the style is more picture-worthy than functional. However, the fur design puts the 'fun' in "funky."

Jumbo jewelry pierced nails are truly maximalist

If you want to embrace the pierced nail trend, the jewelry should stand out. With jumbo jewelry, it couldn't fly under the radar if it tried. Big hoops, horseshoe rings, and barbells create an over-the-top look that's to die for. It fulfills every piercing fantasy without the pain of a needle. While it's not particularly practical and should probably be reserved for special occasions, go big with your choice of jewelry when you want to try something bold and totally memorable.