Unicorn Nails Are The Vibrant Upgrade To Glazed Donut Manis. Here's How To Rock The Trend

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The painting and decorating of fingernails has a deep history. For instance, Egyptian mummies from 7,000 years ago have been discovered with "gilded nails," per The Guardian. Henna has also been used to dye nails in a number of cultures for thousands of years, and in China, a type of polish was invented around 5,000 years ago that left wearers with reddish-pink nails. Then, it was in 1878 that America got its first nail salon, and the price for a manicure at the New York City shop was $1.25, according to the New York Post. One of the biggest game-changers for nail decor came with the realization that the nitrocellulose used in automobile paint could be used for fashion in the 1920s, as noted by ORLY.

In the hundred years since, the world of nail art has exploded with creative nail designs. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner may spend hours every week getting their nails done, though that time commitment isn't a requirement to get on-trend, fashionable nails. If you follow nail trends, you've likely come across the glazed donut manicure, and if you liked that glistening look, you can amp it up with unicorn nails — perfect for spring.

Unicorn nails are playful and shimmery

The glazed donut manicure soared in popularity over the summer with Hailey Bieber as one fan. She even wore the shimmery pale pink and white look to the Met Gala, according to Glamour. That same shimmer stays around but is pumped up with color for the unicorn nail manicure. And while you can get it done at the salon, it's easy enough to do at home. You just need the right tools.

The main feature of unicorn nails is its holographic, playful shimmer. The color may seem to change depending on the light, per Glamour. A polish that fits this description is Nails Inc's set called Unicorn — available at Sephora for $15. For those fans of vegan nail polish, ILNP also has a range of holographic colors perfect for this style. 

You can experiment and find your favorite colors by using a holographic or chrome nail polish on top of a different base color of regular nail polish. Or, you can do a couple of coats of the holographic polish for a more subtle look that will shine when the light hits it, via Nail Aesthetic. Unicorn nails are brighter than the subtle pink of the glazed donut look, but stick with a lighter, springtime base color as compared to a moody, darker color to really embrace the playfulness of the unicorn.

Unicorn nails can go with any outfit

If you're feeling ambitious and want a long-lasting look, you can get the unicorn nail effect with chrome powder. Once you get your base color down and your topcoat is cured, add an iridescent chrome nail powder and finish with a top coat, via YouTube. Manicurist Julie Kandalec told Glamour that she recommends the EVPCT Chrome Nail Powder Kit. A dip manicure will last you over a month, though there's more care that needs to be taken when you remove it to make sure you don't damage your nails, noted by Allure.

"[C]hrome nails are in because they are minimalist, chic, and work across the different seasons," manicurist Zola Ganzorigt told Marie Claire. And you'll be in good company with your unicorn nails. Kerry Washington rocked some unicorn nails at the 2023 Critics' Choice Awards, and her nail stylist added some bubble effect finishing touches to the mesmerizing pink look, via Instagram. Also, #UnicornNails has nearly 12 million views on TikTok, with a variety of options and embellishments to inspire you.