When it comes to fashion, you don't do anything halfway. You're a trendsetter who wears undiscovered designers and the latest haute couture light years before the masses even hear about them. You're always ahead of the curve. You wouldn't be caught dead in capri pants, you shudder at the mere mention of Crocs and you've never set foot in a Gap.
It goes without saying that you would never be seen in public with unmanicured fingers. And not just any old nail polish will do. Old-school French manicure? Please. You don't even like all of your fingers to be the same color. Glitter polish, nail decals, acrylic tips -- they're all totally yesterday. No, the weirder, the better for you.
You certainly have plenty of options to choose from these days if you're looking to shock people with your nails. There's a mind-boggling array of nail-art options out there, from simple DIY ideas to more complicated designs best left to professionals. All of them are guaranteed to turn heads and cause people to ask where on Earth you got your nails done.
It might be beneath you to follow a Web site's suggestions for nail trends, but here are 10 of the most fiercely creative -- and eye-catching -- nail trends we've seen.
Geometrically patterned nails -- especially checkerboards, stripes, Xs and chevrons -- are a straight-off-the-runways trend. You can be brave and go freehand, but scotch tape or nail stickers will be your best friends if you want to pull off a really clean look. If you don't think you can achieve perfection with a uniform design, you can always try your hand at an abstract pattern.
If your manicure is looking a little ragged but you're not quite ready to throw in the towel, a little bit of crackle could be just what the doctor ordered. Crackle polish comes in just about any color, so pick one that contrasts well with your base color. As soon as you've applied a coat, you'll see it begin to crack and expose the original polish. If you've always wondered what it would look like if you dipped your fingers in a vat of acid, crackle's for you!
Sparkly nails are obviously nothing new, but once again we're seeing a trend being taken to new levels. With "3-D holographic" glitter polishes, you no longer have to apply five coats of polish to achieve the right amount of flash. Or instead of springing for a bottle of pricey polish, why not brush on some nail glue and just plunge your finger into a container of glitter? Top it off with another layer of glue and a coat of clear, and you've got amazing sparkle for half the price.
Metallic nails are nothing new -- silver, gold and copper polishes have been around forever. A chrome manicure, however, kicks up the shine quite a few notches. For the brightest effect, you could lay down $40 or so for a Minx manicure (in which thin foils are applied to your nails), but the new super-metallic chrome polishes give pretty darn close to the same effect.
Who says all 10 of your nails have to look exactly the same? No one. Of course, it's nice to have some consistency, so pick a color scheme and get to work creating a different look for each nail. Stars, stripes, glitter, a few strategically placed sequins or rhinestones -- the sky's the limit. You could also paint eight nails in one solid color and make one crazy accent nail on each hand.
The Internet is ablaze with video tutorials for "water marbleizing" your nails, a technique that involves dipping your fingers into a container of water with floating blobs of nail polish. It's difficult to explain and (according to some) even tougher to master, but what a beautiful result if you can pull it off! The swirling colors will make your nails absolutely mesmerizing.
Glitter polish -- even the holographic kind -- not quite enough for you? Take your bling levels through the roof by covering your nails in sequins and rhinestones. Start with a couple coats of whatever polish you'd like, then pull out your trusty tweezers and nail glue and get to work bedazzling your digits with tiny sequins or rhinestones. It's painstaking work, but the payoff is huge.
We thought we had heard everything, and then someone clued us into magnetic nail polish. Basically, you apply two coats of polish that contains magnetic particles, and then you hold the bottle's magnetized cap over each nail for a few seconds. The result is a raised chevron pattern that's sure to turn heads. We are honestly not sure what they'll think of next.
Say goodbye to pristine nude nails: The tried-and-true French manicure has been completely overhauled. The basic idea -- different-colored nail beds and tips -- still holds, but it's basically anything goes from that template. Glittery green nails with navy blue tips? Sure. You can also do the reverse, with colored nails and white nail moons. We've also spied matte black nails with shiny black tips. The possibilities are endless.
Ombré/gradient (when colors gradually fade into each other) is a major trend in nails right now. For the most basic effect, get two shades of the same color and apply the darker one to the bottom half of your nails. While that color is still wet, drag the lighter shade through it and up to the tip of your nail. Or, as nail blogger, The Nailasauras shows us, you can create the same look by swirling two colors together and sponging them on your fingernail. Glitter ombré is hot, too -- after polishing with a solid color, brush loose glitter over the base or tips of your nails for a faded-out effect.
Today it's second nature to paint your fingernails and toenails. But it's been a long road to here. HowStuffWorks breaks down the colorful history.
- Davis, Dawn. "I Tried it Tuesday: Marbleized Nails." Cosmopolitan.com, July 12, 2011. (April 29, 2012) http://www.cosmopolitan.com/hairstyles-beauty/beauty-blog/marbleized-nails-picture-071211
- Mari, Francesca. "The History Page: Little Luxuries Go Big." The Daily, Aug. 21, 2011. (April 29, 2012) http://www.wondersandmarvels.com/2010/05/the-history-of-nail-polish.html
- McIntyre. Megan. "2012's Most Swoon-Worthy Nail Polish Trends." Refinery 29, Jan. 12, 2012. (April 26, 2012) http://www.refinery29.com/nail-trends-spring-2012
- Molvar, Kari. "The Best Spring 2012 Nail Trends." Harper's Bazaar. (April 26, 2012) http://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/spring-2012-nail-trends#slide-1
- Seventeen. "The Hottest Spring Nail Trends!" (April 28, 2012) http://www.seventeen.com/beauty/tips/spring-nail-trends#slide-1
- Schuler, Charli. "Nail Trends to Get Into Now." Total Beauty. (April 26, 2012) http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/gallery/nail-trends-spring-2012-mbl
- Shapouri, Beth. "5 Big Nail Trends Happening Right Now: Which Would You Wear?" Glamour, April 26, 2012. (April 26, 2012) http://www.glamour.com/beauty/blogs/girls-in-the-beauty-department/2012/04/5-big-nail-trends-happening-ri.html