Now that we’ve officially entered a new season (and a new year!), it’s high time to start looking for the new nail inspiration that will carry us through to spring. Even though we’ll likely spend a good portion of the winter with our hands tucked into gloves and pockets, we also know that nothing raises our spirits quite like a fresh mani. And during the dark winter months, we’ll take all the TLC we get.
To learn which nail designs, shapes, and colors are going to be in high demand, we tapped two celebrity nail experts for their predictions. From gold-tinged looks to extreme minimalism, we’ve rounded up all of the serotonin-boosting nail inspiration you need this season. Read on for the top 11 nail trends for winter 2022.
Expect to see tons of gold-tinged manicures all over your social feeds this season, as gold foil is the latest nail accent that will dominate in the coming months, says Brittney Boyce, a celebrity nail artist and founder of Nails of LA. “Gold is having a moment this winter,” she tells us, adding that the versatile trend can be pulled off with everything from simple foil accents to raw French tips.
As Boyce explains it, “People love motifs, whether it’s something personal or something ‘90s-inspired.” She predicts that the ‘90s takeover will continue this winter, with some of the decade’s most notable symbols (think: evil eyes, Nirvana-inspired happy faces, and aliens) popping up on manis everywhere.
“You’ll see them incorporated somehow, either with hand-painted nail art or with nail decals and nail wraps,” says Boyce, noting that some of her celebrity client’s like Madonna and Travis Barker have already adopted the trend.
New Year’s Eve might have come and gone, but we’re still seeing tons of low-key sparkle looks everywhere this season. “Accenting nails with a glitter or shimmer is a fun yet subtle way to elevate your manicure without saying too much,” says celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann.
Our favorite takes on the trend involve just a coat or two of a sheer shimmer polish for an effortless effect.
According to Boyce, nail artists will be taking a cue from art icons like Monet and Van Gogh this winter. “Impressionism seems likely to trend as nail artists focus on brush strokes, colors, and lighting over lines and contours,” she explains. "I think nail artists will be experimenting with different techniques, textures, and finishes."
Since Pinterest predicted that Pearlcore will be one of 2022’s biggest style trends, it only makes sense that there’s a matching manicure to go with it. Stick-on pearl accents are one of the easiest ways to take the classic French mani to the next level. Plus, the versatile look will go with just about every possible outfit in your wardrobe.
Yes, a timeless red manicure is always in vogue, but Lippmann says the shade is particularly suited for the winter months. “As a warm and dynamic color, red is known to be energetic and exciting while also passionate—all traits that lift your spirits,” she explains.
Instead of the festive reds you might’ve reached for during the holidays, Lippmann recommends opting for a deeper, moodier hue like her Gel Lab Pro She’s A Rebel ($20) shade to fit the season.
If you’re looking to start off the year with a low-maintenance style, the extreme minimalism nail trend is the simplest way to look polished without the effort. “I think as creative and bold as nail art is going to be in 2022, there’s also a push for extreme minimalism,” Boyce tells us. “Just very clean nails in a natural shape in either a sheer neutral that looks really glossy and shiny, or in a ‘new neutral’ shade.”
Short nail fans, rejoice: Boyce says that as a result of the pandemic, many of her clients have been requesting short, rounded-square (or squoval) shapes recently. “Because of the current surge, a lot of people are going back to natural nails,” she explains.
“When nails are short, they look good with round tips,” adds Boyce. “Plus, it grows out nicely and can easily be shaped into ovals.” Lippmann agrees that 2022 is the year of the natural mani shape. “I always recommend finding the nail shape that is best suited for your hand which can be done very easily by properly pushing back your cuticles and mirroring the shape of the tip of your nails,” she shares. “This gives you the most natural, elongated nail.”
Very Peri Nails
“I’m really excited about the periwinkle trend inspired by the new Pantone Color of 2022, Very Peri,” Lippmann tells us. You can opt for subtle accents, or go for a full periwinkle look that will both boost your mood and take you right into spring.
To get the look at home, Lippmann suggests using her Gel Lab Pro Polish in the shades Young, Wild & Free ($20) and I Put A Spell On You ($20). “Also, using a good base coat and topcoat will never go out of style and will help preserve your manicure,” she notes. Lippmann recommends starting your DIY mani with a base coat of Hard Rock ($20), a protein-rich nail strengthener, and topping it off with a coat of High and Dry ($20) for a high-shine finish.
To balance out our winter blues, Boyce predicts that a bright, attention-grabbing version of the shade will be highly requested in the coming months. “The blue that’ll trend in 2022 is the kind that catches your eyes, that’s bold and rich and statement making,” she says.
As for which mood-boosting hue she’ll be reaching for this winter, Boyce recommends Orly’s It's Brittney, Beach ($10), a bright cobalt blue that she actually conceptualized and had named after her. “It looks great as an all-over color or used for geometric color-blocking nail art or french tips,” she says.
While coffin and stiletto-shaped nails were all the rage in 2021, Boyce says that the tides are changing for 2022. “Most of my clients are still asking for long, natural-looking oval shapes,” she says. “It’s very classic, it elongates the nails, and looks great with either a minimal nail polish, a simple French tip, or a more involved nail art.”
Plus, she adds, oval shapes are universally flattering, no matter what your natural nail shape or width is. “For example, some people’s nails are on the wider side and a stiletto shape doesn’t taper quite as naturally,” says Boyce.