The biggest nail trends for SS20

Published 02nd Mar 2020 by PB Admin
The biggest nail trends for SS20

The Spring/Summer 20 catwalks were abundant with modern twists on the classic French manicure, right through to negative space nails and nostalgic references. Here, the backstage experts reveal the four key trends to watch out for.

Marian Newman and CND for Halpern Julie Anne Larviere Nail Art 

Images (L–R): CND for Halpern SS20, Julie-Anne Larivière Nail Art, The Gel Bottle for Yuhan Wang SS20 

1. French Revolution

“More and more people are asking for traditional pink and white French manicure in salon again after a period of absence,” says Jenni Draper, session manicurist and creative manager at distributor Louella Belle. However, the trend has taken a playful turn for SS20. Expect to see more double-tipped French manicures in clashing colours, ultra fine ‘micro tips’ and alternating hues on different nails. “There are so many options, but I think we’ll be seeing a lot of those deep smile lines again,” adds Draper.

At Yuhan Wang’s SS20 London Fashion Week (LFW) show, The Gel Bottle team presented a twist on the traditional French manicure by scalloping the tips of the nails, while backstage at Halpern, session tech Marian Newman created transparent stiletto nails with a reverse French in emerald and soft pinks. “The bolder clients might opt for the reverse French with foiling instead of polish to add a metallic effect to the look,” says CND education ambassador, Victoria Trafford. “The traditional French Manicure will always be a staple trend, but the reverse French is set to take hold this spring.”

Neon tips or macaron pastels are set to be popular, and a neutral or clear base provides the perfect platform for colours to pop – ideal for those looking to experiment with a touch of colour. “The look has grown in popularity over the past few months and is set to be very big,” says Salon System nail artist Julie Anne Larivière. “This year is all about standing out from the crowd and making everything your own.”

  Fyodor Golan

Images (L–R): Bluesky for Paula Knorr SS20, Julie-Anne Larivière Nail Art, Jessica Nails for Fyodor Golan SS20

2. Sheer Brilliance

Barely there nails are not going anywhere. However, for SS20, they’re now being paired with embellishments or providing a clear canvas for artistic and geometric shapes to pop.

“Over the years we have noticed that nude or almost clear nails have become more and more popular, especially on the runways,” says Larivière. While pared-back bases are here to stay, adorning them with maximalist embellishments will be key this season. “We are now adding a bit of a pop to a clear mani,” says Larivière. “Encapsulating sequins, or adding chunky glitters rhinestones and jewels to clear, glossy nails is all the rage for the summer.”

At Paula Knorr’s LFW SS20 show, gold foil was encrusted into clear gel polish, whereas other designs saw delicate gemstones atop long clear acrylics. Among the looks at Julien Macdonald, Marian Newman created a glittering wash on the nails, before the tips were embellished with a string of diamantés; while at Fyodor Golan, sheer pink nails were finished with a single pearl accent at the base.

Sparkles aside, negative space nails will also be big news for SS20. “Geometric patterns and minimalistic negative space will be a trend you will definitely want to keep an eye out for,” says Larivière. Experiment with abstract, modern art-inspired patterns that expose the bare nail underneath. As the effects can be dialled up or down, the trend is ideal for less adventurous clients who want to try something different or update their regular neutral manicure with an accent nail. 

CND for Libertine Julie-Anne Larviere Nail Art CND for Libertine

Images (L–R): CND for Libertine SS20, Julie-Anne Larivière Nail Art, CND for Libertine SS20

3. Wild Thing

Not for the faint-hearted, classic animal prints and exotic motifs are reinvented in electric hues.

“Bold patterns are going to be big for spring and we’ll start to see some tropical prints in there too in terms of birds and flowers – these designs will work best with bold colours, giving clients a standout look, hot off the catwalk,” says Samantha Birkett-Leigh, CND education ambassador and session tech.

Think your usual leopard print, but reimagined in acidic yellow, or floral motifs on thorn-like extensions, as created by CND for The Blonds New York Fashion Week SS20 show. At Libertine, jungle tigers were contrasted on an electric blue base, and 3D flowers bloomed upwards and outwards from the fingertips.

Try experimenting with clashing animal prints on each nail and in different colour ways. “This trend was definitely the biggest one of Summer 2019 and it is still going strong into 2020,” says Larivière. “But once again, we are making it bolder, brighter, funkier.” And as for your more tame clients? “Cow print will also stay on trend for a while alongside the usual leopard and zebra prints,” she says.

Florals will also be popular, but this time there’s no middle ground – it’s either going to be full-out floral or barely there, says Trafford. “To create the barely there floral, we’ll see incredibly sheer or clear shades being used for the base, with simple flowers such as white daisies drawn on,” she adds.


OPI for House of Holland  The Gel Bottle for Charlotte Knowles

Images (L–R):OPI for House of Holland SS20, Jaz Moger Nail Art, The Gel Bottle for Charlotte Knowles SS20

4. Nostalgia Nails

Geometric nail art has been gaining popularity year after year, but this summer we are going back in time with it. “People are getting more and more nostalgic about the ’80s and ’90s, especially since the start of the new decade,” says Larivière. “It is all about reliving those decades through nail art.”

Fans of funkier patterns will be pleased to hear that retro flashback manicures are set to stay. The trend will be imagined in mix-and-match graphic patterns. “We are talking bold and bright colours with zigzags and shapes,” she says. “From Fresh Prince of Bel Air graffiti to Saved By The Bell geometric patterns – the bolder the better for this throwback trend,” she says.

Look to House of Holland, where the LFW SS20 show saw ’90s rave-inspired glitter in abundance on the eyes and reflected in the nails too. Playful pastels were seen at Olivia Rubin, with pick-and-mix neopolitan colours painted on each nail, while at Charlotte Knowles, The Gel Bottle team layered multiple colours and filed them down to create patterns reminiscent of lava lamps.


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PB Admin

PB Admin

Published 02nd Mar 2020

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