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There's red, there's glitter… and now there are velvet nails. The hottest new nail trend for the holidays practically screams fa la la la la. Despite its name, this manicure actually has more to do with sparkles than the texture of the fabric. Velvet nails mimic the smooth, fuzzy texture of your favorite party dress but with an added touch of molten sparkle. Most takes you'll see on the velvet nail trend are an illusion created with sparkling nail polish and magnets (yes, really). "The effect is very magical," says nail artist Hannah Lee. Organza Fabric 100% Polyester
High shine has been having a moment since the rise of the very popular glazed donut nails trend, made most famous by Hailey Bieber. The pearlescent manicure was the "it girl" of nail trends that peaked this past summer; now, nail artists say velvet manicures are emerging as a seasonal take on the chrome trend. "I can't get enough of metallic and chrome nails at the moment so the velvet trend is no exception," says Lizzy Ridley, owner and artist at England-based salon Citre.
Sometimes it's hard to put a time stamp on when a trend became a trend, but in this case, it seems like we are playing catch-up stateside. Celebrity manicurist Steph Stone says she's been seeing this design on Korean nail salon accounts for some time now. "This past year my Instagram explore page was filled with the most electric and mesmerizing holographic nails that were iridescent in the light," Stone tells Allure. "I had to get my hands on some of these colors so I ordered magnetic polish from Ice Gel based in Korea and have been obsessed with their products ever since," she says. She originally heard the trend referred to as "cat eye nails."
Curious about how to get the look? Los Angeles-based nail artist Zola Ganzorigt, who works with stars like Hailey Bieber and Sydney Sweeney, recently shared her spin on the velvet nail look on her Instagram. In the video (shown below), Ganzorigt layers OPI's gel color in Platinum Eclipse from the Velvet collection (available in salons) on top of a solid black polish base, then activates the polish with a magnet which creates the illusion of a velvet texture that has an ever-so-slight shimmer.
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The effect is also relatively simple to DIY, as long as you have the right tools. Lee says the look is easier to achieve than it appears with a magnetic nail polish, a sparkly formula that includes metallic particles and can be "activated" by a magnet. "Go in with a base coat [color of your choice], then apply the first coat of magnetic polish," says Lee. She recommends using a magnetic wand (it's a magnet made to activate metallic nail polish available on Amazon) and holding it still above the four sides of your nail for a few seconds each while the polish is still wet. "Let it dry and then repeat the steps again with another layer of magnetic polish. Typically, two to three layers will be all you need," Lee says. Finish with a topcoat, making sure to hold the magnet to the four corners of your nails again to set the velvet effect.
The Nails Inc. Magnetic Effect Nail Polish and ILNP Magnetic nail polishes are two great options. Both look great on their own but when a magnet is used to set the paint, it takes the mesmerizing velvet effect to the next level.
If you are looking for a more streamlined approach (or don't want to invest in a magnetic wand) there's an abundance of nail polishes that create the magnetic effect with sparkles and a few extra coats. Stone recommends Essie Head to Mistletoe, a subtle iridescent light green nail polish with gold undertones. "The dimension in shade will give you the flicker of light you’re looking for," she says. "If you really want to give it a velvet effect, top it with Essie Gel Couture Matte Top Coat. The matte top coat mimics a velvety soft texture. Even though it's matte the sparkles in the metallic keep it looking shiny creating the most beautiful trick of light — perfect for holiday season."
Similar to Ganzorigt's in-salon demo, Ridley's trippy, gem-inspired take on velvet nails (below) starts with a black base. Ridley prepped nails with a jet-black lacquer and then layered on a magnetic gel in an emerald green. Ridley says the black base makes the gemstone green (or shade of your choice) "pop." To make the design even more intricate, Ridley used the magnet to “manipulate the pigment to the left of the nail bed."
And no manicure — no matter how shiny — is complete without cuticle care. Ridley recommends an oil: "I use the Hermès cuticle oil for a good dose of luxury," she says.
Here, we have started pulling inspo for your holiday nails with a few of the best takes on the velvet nail trend. Shine bright this season!
More ideas for your next manicure:
Now watch Allure's December 2022 cover star Jennifer Aniston react to TikTok trends:
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