Wearing your heart on your sleeve (or in your makeup or manicure, for that matter) isn't exactly new. One of the best aspects of fashion and beauty is just how outwardly self-expressive you can be without saying a single word. But with the rising aura nails manicure trend, you're displaying more than just what you're into or how you're feeling—you can convey who you really are. Beloved by celebrities like Cardi B and Megan Fox, aura nails incorporate the colors of your own energy essence into trendy, bright, freeform nail designs. Like an even more personal form of astrology, the TikTok-approved nail art is already staking its claim as one of fall 2022's biggest manicure trends. Below, Byrdie speaks to the aura experts for professional insight on how to nail aura nails.
How To Find Your Aura
First thing's first—in order to do aura nails, you need to know your own aura colors. An aura is essentially a colored field of energy thought to surround individuals and even animals. Auras and auric energy is a metaphysical belief that spans plenty of different cultures and continents, but the concept is arguably more popular—and widespread—than ever before. "We’re finding that people are becoming more and more interested in all forms of spirituality, magic, astrology, and manifestation," says Brooke Ozaydinli, Creator Marketing Lead at Instagram. "With the rise of dopamine dressing and people craving expressive color, it was only natural that would extend to our nails."
If you want to enjoy the trend without taking the steps to find your individual aura, there are plenty of ways. Ozaydinli points out that different colored auras are associated with different characteristics and inclinations which you can channel through nail polish color—greens are linked with communication, for instance, while blues are more intuitive. "Some people use these as guides for which color aura they’ll use for their nails and some are choosing purely on aesthetics and mood," she says.
While it's entirely possible to get the aura nail look without ever even knowing the color of your own aura, the personalization adds a fun, special layer to the look. According to Susanna Merrick, known as The Aura Stylist, your aura is best detected through either a person who can read them or by having your picture taken by a camera type capable of measuring and interpreting bodily frequencies, like a Fujimax 6000-series. Herself professional aura-reader, psychic, and stylist, Merrick developed the concept of matching your aesthetic to your aura to maximize the benefits of both. "Color is a great tool to help you know more about yourself, and to connect to your manifestations, what you want to heal," she explains. "Color is a great way to experiment with your mood, your energy. There's so much psychology collectively behind it that we all can tap into."
How To Do Aura Nails
When it's time to actually get started with your aura manicure, you're down to pure aesthetic choice. There's color scheme to consider (true, classic chakra shades or a more demure tone like pastels?), shape, and length. To get the hazy, realistic finish of an actual aura photograph, the most popular style of aura nails uses an airbrush tool and a professional nail tech. If your salon doesn't have airbrush paint in the shades you want, nail artist Angie Bonilla of @amelodyxnails has the best hack. "You can use a few drops of gel polish and mix it with acetone instead, she says. "My usual ratio is three drops of gel and four of acetone." When considering colors, bold is almost always better, too. Bonilla says she's seen virtually every style of aura nail, but the most memorable keep a neutral background with stand-out shades. "Personally, I think the best pairings are the colors you really wouldn’t expect to go together," she says. "I’ve done blue and orange, and also brown and pink and they look so good!"
Keeping in step with their personal feel, aura nails are surprisingly easy to DIY at home with the help of a few unexpected tools. For the cloud-like effect, nail artist Hanina Ibrahim of @nailsbyhanin says an eyeshadow palette and wedge beauty sponge can easily stand in for airbrush—just dab the shadow over a base shade before sealing with a topcoat. Bonilla adds that a blooming-style gel polish can help create a similar feel, too. She advises applying a thinner, uncured layer of your base gel polish to start before depositing the blooming gel aura color with a dotting tool to avoid interference. "After applying your desired color, wait a few seconds before curing so that the colored gel can bloom and expand into that aura look," she says. "After that, repeat the same steps with a different color in the center and you have your dual aura look!"
As incredible as the aura nails look, they might just feel even better. Merrick's right—the psychological impact of color is real, and channeling your aura through wearable color might just be the self-improvement propellent you've been looking for. "Auras are an underutilized tool that can help us in our self-development journey, our life, our purpose, our path, our spiritual journey," Merrick says. "The colors are here to assist you."