Hot nail trends for spring/summer 2024

Published 20th Mar 2024 by Kezia Parkins

We take a deep dive into the “cores” and “aesthetics” that will be dominating the TikTok feeds of your clients to become top nail trends of spring and summer 2024

In 2023, we were blasted with core everything – cottagecore, fairycore, mermaidcore and even bogcore. Then there were the aesthetics – coastal grandma aesthetic, clean girl aesthetic, crying girl aesthetic, you name it. Well, actually the internet named it all and it got pretty exhausting to keep up.

“But, the good thing about these trends is being able to have a conversation with clients and having an instant reference with just one word without the need for a visual prompt,” says Ellie Bebbington, owner of inclusive alt nail and beauty studio Doll Parts in Manchester.

Botany gone bonkers

Florals for spring. I know, original, right? But in 2024, botany in nail art is about to go bonkers. This could be off the back of the 3D orchid trend we saw last year. 3D flowers, especially roses, have always been a thing but orchids gave a fresh take on this trend.

“I think Colombian singer Kali Uchis’s album Orquídeas [which means orchid in Spanish] was the inception of this,” says mobile manicurist and PB London speaker Alex Philamond. “It also could be inspired by the MUA Hungry, a drag spectacle rather than a performer, who would make appearances at clubs like Berghein in Berlin, and whose theatrical make-up is inspired by orchids.

“There is something so captivating about their symmetry and shape. It’s a front-facing flower so when you think about the line work, the shape and the pattern on the petals, it really lends itself to nail art.”

Instagram creators like @Bone.Uk are harnessing this kind of floral symmetry to create cyberpunk and Y2K-reminiscent styles, which Philamond says could be picked up in a big way for 2024.

Something else we have started to see a lot of, quite surprisingly, is 3D slugs. It sounds gross but many are somehow making slugs look chic, with translucent earth tones and tiny details making them appear almost like a fine glass figurine.

Bebbington, who saw a lot of orchids come through Doll Parts, believes that we are going to see a lot more nails inspired by flowers grown closer to home.

“Slugs, roses – it’s like a look into an English garden,” she says, making us think of tulips, daisies and the daffodil, which was brought to life in 2023 by the likes of ‘the human 3D printer’ Anouska Anastasia of Nuka nails. “There’s nothing tropical about it,” continues Bebbington. “It’s Lana Del Rey in the mud. We’re looking at something a lot more mushroomy; ‘goblincore’ for 2024.”

Japanese and Korean nail art

Last summer, a huge trend was Japanese and Korean syrup and jelly nails, which involved using milky blush-toned gel-polish to create kawaii-style looks that UK techs had to mix to recreate themselves.

As we move into 2024, a trend we have been seeing, via techs from Asia influencing European techs, is a layering of clear, jelly gel and chromes to create natural, earthy looks with uneven or faceted overlays.

“Brands like Kkookie, a distributor for nail brands from Japan and Korea, are enabling UK techs to do these kinds of designs,” says Philamond. “We are going to see a real renaissance in terms of nail artistry being turned on its head because we finally got access to these products.

“By layering a lot of glass colours with pigments, cat-eye gel and other materials, you can create real depth and dimension,” adds Philamond. “Paired with texture, which will continue to be huge this year, you can create something that looks like stone or an uncut gem. It’s unrefined and 3D but it looks elegant and is not going to trigger your tropophobia.” 

Luxury manicures

Last year in our SS23 nail trends feature we wrote about prescriptive and medical manicures that take into account the health of the whole hand. Since then, we have seen even more luxury elements added, with designer products and perfumes used with meticulous care.

“Offering luxury manicures is an incredible way of adding value for the client and an easy way to boost income,” says Philamond. “Also, because so much of being a nail tech is about content creation, it’s a great way of elevating that.

“Many nail content creators have partnerships with jewellery brands or are gifted things by jewellery companies so it’s a partnership that makes sense for social media.”

Earring stacking and curation is a trend that has always been common in alt communities but has recently gone mainstream with the boom in luxury piercing companies and Instagram jewellery brands.

Now, at brand launches and luxury events, we have started to see permanent jewellery popping up, where bracelets, anklets and necklaces are soldered onto the wearer as a forever gift or memory and we envision this becoming a permanent fixture in the salon space.

“We’re thinking of having a permanent jewellery pop-up in the salon, says Bebbington. “It plays into the ‘mob wife aesthetic’, the idea of ‘what more luxury can I have?’”

Philamond believes the luxury manicure, with scrubs, massages and other added-value services, is becoming quite commonplace now, meaning we will start to have to do more to stand out. “It will be more about the niche and functional skincare and products that are used to elevate a manicure to become luxury, as opposed to this kind of excessive luxury and opulence,” he says, suggesting a further move into the “skinification” of the nail industry.

Mob wife aesthetic

On the flipside, it is exactly the concept of excessive luxury that is being brought into mainstream consciousness with the “mob wife” aesthetic, a trend that has been bolstered exponentially by the hit Netflix show Griselda, starring Sofía Vergara, depicting the “godmother” of the Miami cocaine scene, as well as the 25th anniversary of The Sopranos. “It is such an antidote to the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic and the ‘quiet luxury’ trend,” says Philamond. “It’s about audacity. There is nothing modest. It’s about looking hyper-glam and feeling great about it. It’s totally aspirational.”

While the quiet luxury trend, supported by clean-girl nails and make-up, was very old money, the mob wife aesthetic is what could be seen as more new money, bringing in concepts of flaunting wealth and expensive items and the things rags-to-riches protagonists often prioritise – furs, designer bags and a fresh set of nails.

“The idea is to look like you’ve had your nails done just to flaunt them, and having those luxury treatments and feeling bougie in those kinds of ways, it’s the return of the classic nail trends,” says Bebbington. Think deep and classic reds and pink and white French with deep smile line.

Shape is everything; to make these classic evergreen nail looks “mob wife”, your square needs to be sharp and your almond long. Also, a prominent apex is a must. “That curve, there is something so sexy about it,” says Bebbington.

“Because of the high arch in structure, I do feel as though it is a trend that lives within acrylic historically and that’s what would have been used when many of the film and TV references that the aesthetic is based on were made,” says Philamond. “But if you are not confident sculpting a perfect apex, full-cover tips are a great option to get that immediate dramatic, arched extension.”

Balletcore

In 2023, with the release of hit movie Barbie, we were under the spell of Barbiecore, with pink everything and unabashed girliness. “In 2024, it’s not so much Barbiecore as balletcore,” says Philamond. “There’s something incredibly statement-making about the hyper-feminisation.”

Balletcore is a trend that developed off of the back of the “coquette” aesthetic that has been trending for the past few years. It’s a whimsical, super-girly style that harks back to the Victorian era: ruffles, silk, pastels and lots of bows.

 

“The bow thing is massively in and I think it’s going to be one of the biggest nail trends of 2024,” says Bebbington. “It’s going to take us into a new romantic era and the colour palette will evolve. We’ll see more off-pinks and plummy purples rather than the usual pastels and neutrals, going into that early 2000s mumsy colour palette.”

We predict the coquette/balletcore trend being heavily adopted in alt spaces, being worn more ironically and juxtaposed with grungy looks. “It’s mainly being used in this subversive context with a darker twist, which is really interesting,” says Bebbington. “I think it will split into two camps – hyper girlies going for a cutesy version of it, while others will wear it with a dark, bondage edge.” To keep things sweet, pair pinks with pearl embellishments and 3D bows. To give an alt edge, add metal chains and darker accents. 

Spring shades

A trend that we see traversing the autumn/winter months into spring/summer is the chocolate mani in rich shades of brown, reminiscent of milk and dark chocolate. As Bebbington mentions, muted, boyish tones will be big – grey, beige, burgundy, navy blue and deep green. Dare we say it’s giving “grandadcore”?


Boyish tones pick 'n' mix created at Doll Parts...

 

On the flipside, pastels will always be in for spring and with “peach fuzz” named Pantone’s colour of the year, is peach the new pink?

Making a statement, Bebbington says 2024 might just be the year chrome is finally out. “I see the Y2K tribal design morphing into something more ’90s-surfer vibes – think Billabong – and instead of using chrome for these details, muted boyish colours will be used.”

Spring nail trends always take reference from the catwalk and no show has made more of an impact so far than Maison Margiela’s SS24 collection, largely thanks to the haunting porcelain doll make-up by MUA Pat McGrath (read more on page 80).

“I think that, over the coming months, a lot of techs will use this for inspiration and we will see this come through in colour,” says Bebbington.

The make-up application is reminiscent of the aura nail trend, which we expect to continue with the use of McGrath’s palette of yellow, emerald, ethereal blues and red over pearl shades to depict porcelain skin, topped with iridescent top coats for that eerie plastic finish.


Clowns created at Doll Parts...

This reminds us of the Jiwinaia happy/sad clown earrings techs recreated on nails a few years ago. “The clown thing is back in a huge way but not in a cringe way at all – it’s high fashion,” says Bebbington. As for shapes, the short square is back with a simple solid colour.

 

Kezia Parkins

Kezia Parkins

Published 20th Mar 2024

Kezia Parkins is the deputy editor of Professional Beauty. She has a background in medical journalism and is also as trained nail tech. As such, she is particularly passionate about all thing nails, as well as the science behind beauty products and treatments. Contact her at [email protected]

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