Nail Trends You'll Want To Try In 2020

Nail trends evolve, just as fashion and hair trends do. Nail shapes, polish colors, and appliqués all change over time — and this is certainly true of 2020. While some of the nail styles of the new decade are fit for DIYers, you may want to consider visiting a salon for the others. However, we must first advise you to select one carefully.

"When choosing a salon, look for a clean environment, clean work stations, clean employees, and sterilization practices," Susan Nam, celebrity manicurist and owner of Polished Beauty Bar, revealed to Good Housekeeping. Hiroko Fujikawa, owner of MARS The Salon, added, "A good nail salon should not only take care of the appearance of your nails, but also the health and overall condition of your nails. Think of it like a hair salon — you want a stylist to take good care of your hair while making it look good. You should want and expect the same care, protection and treatment from your nail technician."

Now, what should you ask for once you choose your salon? According to top nail artists and 2020 runway looks, these are the nail trends you'll be dying to try in 2020. And you'll be sure to want to avoid all things that can ruin a manicure and take advantage of all hacks to make your manicure last because these looks are seriously stunning.

The modern French manicure nail trend will be big in 2020

The ever-popular, traditional French manicure isn't going away in 2020, but modernized takes on the manicure are expected to become more popular as a nail trend. According to esteemed nail artist Betina Goldstein, the French manicure is being used "in different ways." While Goldstein told StyleCaster that she still appreciates the '90s style French manicure, she updated the classic trend into what she calls the "double corner French." This trend calls for a thin line of polish applied in a half-moon shape at both the top and bottom of the nail.

In addition to the double corner French trend, the micro French manicure, which calls for a very thin line of white at the tip of the nails, was also seen on the 2020 runways, Cosmopolitan reported. And, if you like a bit more color on your nails, you'll be happy to know that non-white French manicures are also on trend. "I've been yelling at my aunt for doing a French manicure for 20 years," Miss Pop, a New York City-based nail artist, joked to StyleCaster, "and now I'm like... 'I really like a colorful French!'"

The mixed-up manicure nail trend will be seriously popular in 2020

Citing Spring 2020 runway trends, Cosmopolitan revealed that "mixed-medium [manicures]" are going to be a hit nail trend in 2020. "[Manicurist] Julie K. sent models down the Christian Siriano runway with mint-green polishes, matte tips, and lucite, sparkly bases," the publication explained. Basically, you can experiment with a pop of color and a splash of glitter without giving it a second thought. Or, maybe you're more into a gem appliqué against a multicolor nail? That works too. Whatever your jam, you can be confident that your mixed bag of nail art is not only going to work, but it's also going to be a hot trend — and one that you're going to be able to completely customize and make your own.

Because the possibilities are endless, though, you may have a hard time figuring out where to start. Thankfully, Pinterest and Instagram are always sure bets for nail inspo.

You'll want to try the "polka dotted simplicity" nail trend in 2020

"There is never a wrong time for a polka dot," said Marc Jacobs. And who are we to argue? This circular pattern has been around for a long time. According to Town & Country, the term was first used in an 1857 edition of Godey's Lady's Book, a women's magazine of the time, in a description of a scarf: "Scarf of muslin, for light summer wear, surrounded by a scalloped edge, embroidered in rows of round polka dots." Since the 19th century, polka dots never really went away. They've always had — and likely always will have — a place in fashion.

In 2020, you'll even find polka dots used as nail art. Nail artist Betina Goldstein came up with a nail trend for the Spring 2020 runway that was "fresh and almost playful in its polka dotted simplicity," Zero + Maria Cornejo revealed to Marie Claire.

Nail polish brand Jinsoon was also used to experiment with the minimalist polka dot trend on the runway, being used for the "On the Dot" trend worn by Rag & Bone models. This design featured a single white polka dot at the base of the nail against a backdrop of solid black polish.

Get ready for "electric" jungle prints as a 2020 nail trend

Safari fashion was a surprisingly popular choice on the Spring 2020 runways, but the jungle trend didn't stay relegated to clothing. Considering the hottest runway trends, nail artist Miss Pop revealed to StyleCaster that she expects nails to be veiled in animal print throughout 2020. But not just your standard, run-of-the-mill animal print. No, the manicurist said this nail trend will feature untraditional "electric" colors. 

Why the bold choice? According to Miss Pop, 2020 is all about the "futurists" who won't be holding back when it comes to trends. "I guess right now, what we're saying is be extra. Life is hard enough. Indulge yourself," she continued. You heard the woman. Now's the time to embrace those neon green cheetah nails you've always secretly wanted or those hot pink leopard tips. Seriously, go for it. Why not add some bold color and patterns to your manicure?

Barely-there polish will be a major nail trend in 2020

Not every trend of 2020 is expected to be a bold one. "Upon first glance, the Jinsoon manicures at the Coach [Spring 2020] show seem...non-existent," reported Cosmopolitan. "If you look more closely, though, you'll see the models walked the runway with barely there polish against clean, healthy nails." 

This nail trend is also the go-to for female members of the British royal family, making for another one of the beauty rules the royals are forced to followPeople revealed that Queen Elizabeth II has been wearing Essie's Ballet Slippers, a barely-there shade of pink, since 1989!

According to OK! magazine (via Teen Vogue), the queen also expects the other royal ladies to adhere to a similar understated shade. In fact, "fake nails or coloured nail polish is deemed vulgar by the royal family." Instead, "a nude colour is a neutral shade" fit "to wear with any outfit, for any royal engagement." Although there probably aren't many of us commoners out there who share the opinion that colored nails and acrylics are, uh, vulgar, you do have to agree that neutrals work with every outfit, making the barely-there trend a solid choice for 2020.

Don't be afraid to try the almond-shaped nail trend in a moody shade in 2020

For the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya Spring 2020 runway show, nail artist Naomi Yasuda "made every manicure look like it took a time machine to the 1970's with almond-shaped tips drenched in deep, moody shades," Marie Claire reported. And we are all about the nail trend. 

Choosing a nail in a rich, dark color is definitely a bold choice, but it's also a beautiful one. "Sexy, sultry for me is always a dark burgundy nail," Gerry Holford, a manicurist at Paintbox nail studio in New York City, told HuffPost

Of course, the only thing better than a moody nail color is pairing it with a moody nail shape. Considering almond-shaped nails are about as stunning as an oxblood-colored polish, they're a sure bet. In fact, celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann dubbed the retro nail shape "the chicest nail shape in the fashion world." She continued, telling Harper's Bazaar, "Sexy, slenderizing, and strong is how I would describe an almond nail shape."

The nail trend of using matte or metallic (or both) polishes will be huge in 2020

No one's ever going to be able to dull your sparkle in 2020 if you sport the new twinkling nail trend. "I think a look that's really going to take off next season is sparkle and a lot of those will be matte or metallic," Samara Walker, founder of AudaB nail polish, predicted ahead of 2020 in an interview with StyleCaster. It may sound contradictory, but you can even combine a matte polish and a metallic color.

"A matte finish makes any old nail color look contemporary," Rita Remark, Essie's global lead educator, explained to Elle. "An ultimate color shifter, it makes cream polishes look chalky, metallic shades look like steel, and pearl shades look suede." While a matte finish is undoubtedly stunning, they won't work for everyone. "...If you tend to have dry or peeling cuticles, stick to shiny topcoats," Remark advised. "Matte manicures can shine an unwanted light on dry, peeling, red skin."

One nail trend in 2020 is all about using negative space

In 2020, what you don't put on your nails is going to matter as much as what you do put on them. Yes, negative space is a nail trend to look for in the new decade. If you're not familiar with the term, My Modern Met explained negative space as "the area around and between a subject" and cites it as a "fundamental of art" that appears in all drawings and paintings." And, apparently, in some nail art.

Paintbox revealed in an Instagram post in September 2019 that the brand's artists "created a fresh take on our Holding Pattern design with Like Wild and Like Spice lacquers combined with negative space." Paintbox first premiered the exciting look at Ulla Johnson's Spring 2020 fashion show in New York. Once uploaded to Instagram, Paintbox's fans quickly fell in love with the trend, writing comments like "love love!" and "so rad!!" We are inclined to agree.

The "fantasy feel" nail trend will take off in 2020

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? It's hard to tell by our nails. Celebrity manicurist Gina Edwards came up with a wild — and wonderful — nail trend creation for the 2020 Spring runway. "I wanted to celebrate the fantasy feel of the [Alice + Olivia] collection with a fresh, whimsical take on classic nails," the expert revealed in an interview with Marie Claire. And that's exactly what she did.

Similar to the "double corner French" manicure created by nail artist Betina Goldstein, Edwards painted a delicate half-moon shape at the base of the nail and then outlined the edge of the nail in white. This made for a really unique and futuristic look, but the trend also managed to feel fairly traditional. This is good news for those of us who, you know, don't model for runway shows, as the nails will seamlessly adapt from the runway to everyday fashion.

Rocking cool neutrals will be a significant 2020 nail trend

Although natural shades are neutrals, neutrals don't have to be a natural shade, you know? Jin Soon Choi, founder of Jinsoon nail polish, told StyleCaster that neutral polishes in cool shades will be a big nail trend in 2020, especially ones that coordinate well with all of our different skin tones. And these colors aren't like the "barely there" trend. The nail guru said these nails are going to be understated, yes, but "not sheer." 

Of her brand's collection, Choi recommends trying the creamy deep beige shade Dulcet, the pale and cool gray Grace, and the stunning purplish brown Toff. You can even use these cool neutrals to add more pizzazz to your classic French or American manicure. "When we decided to start treating light shades of blue and lavender and pinks as neutrals at the salon, a whole world of mani possibilities opened up," Sarah Gibson Tuttle, chief executive officer and founder of Olive & June, revealed to Yahoo! Lifestyle. And what a fun world that is.

The 2020 nail trend of using pastels will be stunning

We hope you love pastels because 2020 certainly does. Citing Spring 2020 runway trends, Cosmopolitan said pastels, especially in yellow, are "going to be ev-ery-where come spring." The pastel trend isn't just a spring trend, though. It will also lead you into summer and, believe it or not, Sarah Gibson Tuttle, chief executive officer and founder of Olive & June, revealed to Yahoo! Lifestyle that pastels are a warm-weather neutral, meaning they'll go with everything.

But which shade should you choose? Painting your nails in Jinsoon's Tweety is a sure bet. "We formulated this bright pastel yellow called Tweety to be playful and flattering," manicurist and Jinsoon founder Jin Soon Choi explained to Refinery29. "The color is reminiscent of forsythia flowers."

If solid pastel nail polish — yellow or otherwise — isn't your thing, you might want to try what Glamour dubbed "the mermaid French." Discussing this nail trend, beauty associate Bella Cacciatore explained, "If Ariel were a cool girl in the early 2000s, this is what her nails would look like. Nail artist Julie Kandalec used Essie Turquoise & Caicos for the tips, but it would be just as pretty in any other pastel shade."

The 2020 "French pearl drip" nail trend is gorgeous

Since 2020 is calling for all kinds of extra nails, why not bedazzle your tips with gems? Manicurist Gina Edwards created a runway look for Alice + Olivia that she dubbed "a French pearl drip," which featured hand-picked stones and pearls. "I am absolutely obsessed with the nail look," Edwards confessed in an Instagram post, showing off the nail trend. "We all know that French [manicures] are trending again!!!"

Although you might want to book an appointment with a nail technician for this kind of nail art, it is actually possible to create a similar look at home using appliqués, like Kiss' Jewel Accents Luxury Nail Art. According to the brand's site, you'll just need to apply your polish as usual and let dry before moving onto the gem application process. Using tweezers, you'll remove the gem from its packaging and press into place. Although you don't necessarily need a top coat, the brand recommends applying one "for longer wear."

Prepare to see "wire nails" as a nail trend in 2020

This look isn't for the faint of heart, but, if you want to rock totally untraditional nails in 2020, this is the style for you. Manicurist Jin Soon Choi of Jinsoon told Marie Claire she took a "classic nude manicure" and gave it "an imaginative twist" at the Tibi Spring 2020 fashion show in New York by hand-sculpting open loops and applying them to the index and middle nails of the models' hands. 

Choi isn't the first manicurist to try out the wire trend, though. Eun Kyung Park, founder of Unistella salon, has been creating "wire nails" some time. Park detailed how she came up with the idea in an interview with Marie Claire, saying, "When you make neon signs, you have to bend the wires to make certain lettering. It's one long wire that's bent to create and connect the letters. I thought this was really cool and since nails are an accessory, I wanted it to be used for expression. Like rings."

Although this cool nail trend can be DIY-friendly, Park said you need to "make sure the sharp end has a nice finish" to avoid getting "caught in clothes."

Why not try the "milky" nail trend in 2020

If you only try one nail trend in 2020, then "milky nails" — especially in white — may as well be it. "Milky white is such a good background neutral color for any splash of design as well," nail artist Katie Masters revealed to Elite Daily. If you want something a little more eye-catching, Masters said "adding a white chrome on top makes it that much more classy and shiny." Milky white nails have been popping up on celebs' hands, including Lizzo and Jennifer Lopez, in the latter half of 2019 and are only expected to become more popular in the new decade. 

Interestingly, milky nails can be created using different techniques. Virginia-based nail artist Victoyria explained her process to Allure, saying, "I laid that one color [Core White by Young Nails] and topped it with a gel topcoat. A lot of people like using polish to create the milky white look, but I prefer acrylic." Either way, you'll find it looks awesome.