Nail art by  Winnie Huang

Nail art by Winnie Huang

As a nail tech, you are the liaison between the future and your client. You want to offer cutting-edge nail art and products to put your services on the map.  “I look at two-year trend forecasting coming from Paris and Milan,” explains OPI co-founder Suzi Weiss-Fischmann. “I also turn toward industries beyond beauty; for example, trends in food and music are dictating the landscape for trends in fashion and decor. OPI also stays ahead of the trends by looking at where the industry is headed, such as bio-sourcing for the eco-friendly consumer.”


Prediction: Embellished

New and unusual ways to embellish, such as elements found in nature or technology, will translate from the runway to real-life.


Prediction: Off-the-Nail

Nail art by  Halley Fortenberry

Nail art by Halley Fortenberry

Art that goes off the nail, using the free edge and nail bed as a starting point, will be right on target for 2016.

Nail Accessories: Statement Rings, Gold

Photo courtesy of CND

Photo courtesy of CND

This scarab was made out of nail products by Ashley Craig and served as a statement ring worn by models on The Blonds Spring/Summer 2016 runway.

This scarab was made out of nail products by Ashley Craig and served as a statement ring worn by models on The Blonds Spring/Summer 2016 runway.

Shapes: Squoval, Oval

Click here to learn to file a squoval nail.

Click here to learn to file an oval nail.


Prediction: Text

Newspaper nails were big a few years ago, but expect to see more wording, clever slogans, or typography in the year ahead.

Menu Offerings: Longer-Lasting Polish, Custom-Color Choices, Textured Polish, New Technology

Because today’s consumer loves options, add longer-lasting polish to your menu in 2016. Don’t be afraid to charge a bit more for this gel-lacquer hybrid, since it’s a premium service and provides improved wear.

Offer to formulate a custom-color creation by blending together multiple shades to complement skin tone or a piece of clothing. A unique blend will not only make your client feel special, it will give you an additional color option without buying extra product.

JINsoon Sahara is a polish with a sand-like texture.

JINsoon Sahara is a polish with a sand-like texture.

With companies beefing up the spectrum of salon offerings, make sure lacquer doesn’t get left behind. For polish purists, look for fun ways to amp up their choices by carrying polish with unique textures.



Nails and tech collided in 2015 with the influx of apps, but in 2016, expect to see more innovation in application such as spray-on polish and nail art machines.


Prediction: Fringe

Fringed nail art made with delicate materials like feathers instead of chain will blow clients away.

Colors: Greens, Muted Metallics, Apricots



Prediction: Sheer

Sheer designs that layer texture and patterns for an edgier version of the encased look will add dimension to nails in 2016.

Nail Art: Abstract, Graphic, Minimal

Photo courtesy of CND

Photo courtesy of CND

Bold shapes and graphics will be all the rage. “We will see a lot of unstructured, yet organized graphic patterns,” says Jan Arnold of spring. “Geometric designs and abstract painting using pastels will be popular,” echoes Jin Soon Choi. Choi recommends these designs be done on short-to medium-length nails for maximum impact.

Cuccio’s Marilyn Garcia is noticing more and more clients departing from the fine lines of the traditional French manicure. Contemporary takes on the pink-and-white nail will include a blurred line rather than a crisp smile. A faded ombre, reverse peek-a-boo, or a more abstract divide made with mylar or other embellishments will take the French manicure into the future.

Photo courtesy of Essie

Photo courtesy of Essie

Essie global color designer Rebecca Minkoff predicts that nail art in 2016 will either be graphic and mod or have “minimalist detail.”  Choi echoes this statement, citing a simple and modern point of inspiration. Particularly in the summer, Arnold foresees delicate and playful looks: “Think vintage, lace, bows, and taffeta.” The minimalist trend of negative space will also remain popular into 2016. 


Prediction: Texture

Nails by CND

Nails by CND

We’ve seen unique textures like flocking, crackle, matte, and sand, but for 2016 we’re anticipating molten and bubble looks to stand out.


Prediction: The Smart Nail

Last year we saw LED lights make nails shine bright with the help of a phone. In the past we have seen a nail used as a stylus and a polish that can detect the date rape drug. Now that the Apple Watch is out, we’re hoping to see even more advances in wearable technology. 

Rachel Zoe's Advice

For clients who are fashion-forward, pass down this advice from stylist, author, designer, and editor in chief of The Zoe Report, Rachel Zoe (above left). “I love nude nails or bordeaux,” says Zoe for 2016.

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