Summer 2013: What’s New in Nails?

Ever since smart phones replaced handbags as the “It” accessory, nails have gotten their fair share of the limelight. (Chalk it up to all the texting, tweeting and Instagram-ing they’re now busily engaged in.) So why not try a statement-making manicure worthy of its own hashtag? New technology allows for more creativity than ever. Here, eight photo-ready trends that will have you garnering followers on all your feeds.

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1Foil manicure

Like confetti for your nails, this metallic, multi-colored manicure screams “party.” Inspired by London’s Fashion Week runways and edgy street style, Ciaté’s Very Colourfoil Manicure kit, $19, gives nails a mirror-like shine with tiny glints of rainbow-hued foil. First, apply one of three creamy polishes to create a solid base. Next, use the Foil Fix Glue to adhere tiny pieces of Colourfoil paper to tips. (The set includes 30 sheets, so you can try different styles, from color-blocked Mondrians to French nails.) Finish with a clear topcoat, then sit back and enjoy your handiwork for up to two weeks.

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2Holograph Nails

For sure Jerrica Benton and her alter-ego Jem would have rocked SuperBlack’s Holographic manicure, $12. The handmade batches, formulated and bottled by creator Natalie Dee in Columbus, Ohio, come in five holographic shades ranging from a galactic black (Whip) to an oceanic blue (Torque). And, amazingly, they are 4-free (with no Formaldehyde, dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, or Formaldehyde resin), so you can apply them without worrying about your health or the environment.

3Glow-in-the-dark nails

Illamasqua’s limited edition Paranormal UV Nail Varnish, $17, will have you clamoring for black lights like a co-ed in a club. That’s because the three vibrant shades, which appear neon green, violet and pink in daylight, glow in the dark. Even the clear shade takes on an eerie iridescence at night, so get ready to surprise unsuspecting after-dinner companions. Inspired by the unknown—with spooky names like Omen, Séance, Ouija and Geist—this lacquer collection will take you from summer soiree to All Hallow’s Eve in style.

4Japanese nail art

Leading Japanese nail art salon chain Spa Nail—which creates intricate, tiny masterpieces on your fingernails—just opened in New York City. Known for multi-dimentional designs including beads and crystals, and a new technique known as Tarashikomi, which is based on the very old tradition of Japanese water painting, here’s to hoping the chain brings its talent to more cities across the country.

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5Chalkboard polish

If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve seen chalkboard paint updating everything from refrigerator doors to Mason jars. Now the quirky, retro-classroom surface is appearing on nails—just waiting for your own doodles and personalized messages. The Ciaté Chalkboard Manicure Nail Set, $25, includes a black matte polish, four water-soluble colored chalk pens (nostalgically named Teacher’s Pet, Satchel, Jump Rope and Recess), and a special topcoat to seal your artwork, while delighting your inner child.

6Polka Dots

Black and white look anything but basic in the form of Maybelline Colour Show Polka Dot in Chalk Dust, $6 in drugstores. The granulated polish, suspended in a clear base, gives your nails a chic Dalmatian finish. Try it on short, slightly rounded nails for an evening out. They’ll instantly dress up an LBD—just leave the cocktail rings at home.

MORE: Easy DIY Nail Art Trends

7Glittery nails

Who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle? But if major chunks of glitter on your nails make you feel like you raided your toddler’s art supply cabinet, try Orly’s MegaPixel FX collection, $9 each, instead. The formula’s ultrafine particles have a multidimensional, textured effect when painted onto tips. For a smoother, glossier, sophisticated finish, just apply a clear topcoat. In six hues, ranging from silver to aqua to black, this is one polish you’ll have to hide from the kids.

8Press-On Gel Manicure

If you’d rather DIY, try a press on. New formulas, like the ones from Broadway Nail imPress Press-On Manicure, $8 for 24, come in dozens of professional designs (marblized, animal print, ombré, florals, to name a few), are as easy to apply as a sticker, and can last up to a week. Bonus? No drying time, and the ability to mix-and-match styles. If hot pink leopard is too much for you, just try two on either ring finger and paint the rest a complementing shade of magenta.

9Sensitive Eyes and Skin polish

Leave it to Clinique to create a line of colorful lacquers that won’t irritate eyes and skin. Their quick-drying, glossy formula—called A Different Nail Enamel For Sensitive Skins, $16—comes in over a dozen bright and trendy shades and has even been tested by ophthalmologists. If your peepers tend to get itchy and watery when you come in contact with nail products, give this line a go. Try a different hue on every nail, a combo of two or three in the same palette, or just an accent finger to give your tips a noteworthy look.

MORE: All About Sensitive Skin

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