True ’90s kids will remember the see-through inflatable couches and jelly sandals that took over the era. Now you can carry the nostalgia with you on your fingertips — say hello to jelly nails.
As New York City-based nail artist and Essie global lead educator Rita Remark defines it, jelly nails are a translucent nail art trend that gives nails a “glossed candy” or “stained-glass” effect. “I love the versatility of jelly nails,” Remark tells Bustle. “While they give a great statement on their own, I find they work best with nail art.” Basically, there's no way not to nail this trend.
But don’t worry if your local salon isn’t able to give you the jelly nails of your dreams; the nostalgic mani is easy enough for you to do on your own. You can buy a set of clear, artificial nails on Amazon and then paint them your favorite color to get that transparent finish, or buy glass nails on Etsy.
You can also buy jelly nail polish colors or create a customized translucent shade on your own. To DIY, Remark says that all you have to do is empty out a quarter of clear top coat (she recommends a top coat that isn’t fast-drying and opting for formulas like Essie’s gel setter or no chips ahead), mix in your desired nail polish shade (she says only a pure, pigmented cream will give you a jelly finish and recommends bold colors rather than pastels), and combine them. The result will have a super cool jelly effect.
If you’re intrigued, check out some nail art inspiration and polish recommendations below.
10 Ideas For Jelly Nails
Mix two trends in one and go full-on Barbiecore with a neon pink on a pointed jelly nail that’s both bold and super fun.
Red Nail Theory
If you’re a believer of the red nail theory, red makes for a great jelly mani that’s a bit more classic and elevated.
Multi-Colored French Tips
One can never tire of the French manicure. Opt for multi-colored jelly tips (and line them with diamond-esque rhinestones if you wish) to put a unique spin on another ’90s nail favorite.
A see-through base doesn’t have to be boring. Just take a look at these clear jelly nails and you’ll see they still have the ultimate shine and cool glossy finish that gives your bare nails a certain “je ne sais quoi.” If it’s too minimalistic for your vibe, opt for baby French tips or abstract lines as an added touch.
This deep, muted olive green gives jelly nails a pretty jade-like effect.
It’s not hard to see how nail artist and design director at Nike Jessica Washick’s “seaglass nails” went viral. Slightly more opaque than your normal jelly nails, this turquoise blue has a modern matte finish that puts a cool twist on the ’90s trend.
Bring on all the good vibes and stick glittery smiley faces on multi-colored jelly nails for a manicure that is bound to put a grin on anyone’s face.
Adding jewels is an easy — and stunning — way to make any look feel more special. Add some shine down the center of the nail, at the base of the nail, or all over.
Like a real work of art, a combination of hand-painted florals and hints of gold foil are absolutely gorgeous.
These hot pink jelly nails with marble nail art details are mesmerizing to look at.
The Best Jelly Nail Polish Colors
Hot pink is just a classic shade when wanting jelly nails. This one from Cirque Colors has a transparent finish that is buildable.
This neutral shade from ILNP has a creamy, jelly-like texture that is elevated with just a hint of shimmer.
Remark loves that there are so many jelly nail polish colors on the market that you can mix and match to design your own manicure. She recommends Essie’s “Turn Up The Century,” a stunning magenta shade that dries in about a minute.
Who doesn’t love a good two-in-one product? This strengthening treatment not only gives you that jelly nail effect, but it also conditions and nourishes your nails so that they look stronger and healthier.
Another two-in-one nail product, this Zoya nail polish neutralizes discoloration and gives you a light lavender jelly-like finish.
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