While chrome-mania seems to have faded since its heyday, metallics still have a lot to offer when it comes to nail art. In 2020, our experts predict that metallics will be used as more of an accent than a focal point.
Julie Kandalec, New York City-based celebrity manicurist and founder of Masterclass Nail Academy, says, “I think we’re going to see a lot of metallic accents incorporated within the nail designs, like foil and studs.” Eleanor Langston, chief creative officer at Paintbox, suggests using metallics for a brushstroke effect. She notes, “We’re loving sweeps of iridescent gold, silver, gunmetal, and champagnes.”
Whether it’s color, texture, or finish, look for 2020 to be all about contrast. Natalie Minerva, founder and co-owner of Nail Swag, is loving the contrast of black paired against pastels: “The contrast is so eye-catching to me, and I think black is always chic.”
Jan Arnold, CND co-founder and style director predicts that in Summer 2020, “Clean, bright, and high-key shades will invite striking graphic patterns in super high contrast, reaching all the way to opposite sides of the color wheel to partner the right result.”
Dynamic designs that feature swathes of matte going across a flawless shiny nail are also piquing our interest. Kandalec notes that she is already seeing clients experimenting with mixing textures across their nails, while Langston predicts that texture contrasts like matte/shiny moons will be huge.
Marian Newman, CND brand ambassador and Fashion Week veteran, suggests that “mixing tonal or clashing colors” will be on trend, so don’t be afraid to break the traditional rules of color and have fun!
2020 will take us 50 years back in time to the 1970s, with color palettes inspired by the classic earthy tones of that decade.
Kandalec predicts that “yellow and ochre, terra-cotta, and mustard shades” will be popular, and declares, “The ’70s are emerging and it’s not limited just to clothes!” Brick reds, yellows, and brown shades will be on-trend, often being paired with brighter or softer colors to modernize and lighten the sometimes-heavy tones.
OPI co-founder and brand ambassador Suzi Weiss-Fischmann admits that yellow can be a hard color to embrace, so for 2020 she hopes to see yellows in “more wearable tones like cream, champagne, and flax.”
Having trouble deciding on just one color for your manicure? Good news: in 2020, Skittles are in!
Weiss-Fischmann predicts, “For summer, expect to see ‘Skittles’ nails, featuring different shades on each nail.” Kandalec also suggests this look, particularly for clients that are looking for something a little simpler.
In order to keep this style looking polished and put together, we recommend curating colors that fit together in coordinated palettes instead of randomly choosing five incongruous shades. Think muted fall tones or light and airy pastels.
Pearl was one of our predictions for 2019, but it didn’t quite gain the traction that we had expected. However, almost all of our experts predicted pearl as a big trend for 2020, so don’t give up on it just yet!
Kandalec notes that “pearl finishes are timeless, and I see them coming and staying for longer,” while Minerva suggests that “plays on natural finishes such as pearl and opal” are great for clients that prefer a simpler look, as they “offer nail art while still being toned down.”
Weiss-Fischmann suggests that some of the biggest trends of the year include “sheer pearlescent finishes” and “pearls and pearl effects being incorporated into nail art.”
Health and Wellness
With new products focusing on natural nail care and streamlining extensions, we expect to see a greater focus on health and wellness, both for the client’s nails and for the technician.
Minerva notes that with the emergence of soft gel extension systems, “Things have become a lot more simple and streamlined for our industry when it comes to extensions.” We’ve also noted many nail technicians using these systems to help clients grow out their nails before transitioning to a natural nail care routine.
Arnold explains, “We’ve survived a period of experimentation in the nail industry that has led to a wave of nail damage. There is now an emerging awareness that our job as professionals is to protect and preserve the health of the natural nail. This new awareness will demand more careful use of product systems and following protocols to ensure excellent nail health.”
Newman agrees, saying, “I hope more nail pros will promote what is good and safe. There must be more of a focus on a better education from beginners up through continuing education courses. Without this there is going to be a major problem for us all.”
Sarah Thompson (formerly Waite) is a licensed nail tech and the creator of the popular nail art website www.chalkboardnails.com. Follow her on Instagram @chalkboardnails.
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