I’m calling it: 2021 is the year of the manicure. After months of dabbling in DIY nail jobs and experimenting with gel nail polishes, I think that there was a collective sigh of relief when nail salons reopened this year and we could finally let a professional loose on our cuticles. This is why it comes as no surprise that I’ve already spotted an impressive amount of cool nail art and It colours taking off this year. With so much nail inspiration bubbling to the surface right now, I thought it would be a great idea to turn my attention to micro nail trends—those smaller nail trends that might not be dominating your Instagram feed just yet but certainly will be with time.
Clouds are emerging as one of the biggest—and quite frankly the cutest—micro nail trends of 2021 so far. The meteorological print has already had a moment in our wardrobes, so it makes perfect sense that it’s transitioned onto our manicures too. Top tip: Keep your base colour barely there to allow the clouds to take centre stage.
The colourful French manicure is probably one of the coolest micro trends right now, with beauty editors and celebrities going wild for it. However, the latest incarnation is to go for rainbow-coloured tips—a different shade for each nail—for a summery switch-up.
Say cheese! This emoji-inspired nail trend involves a classic smiley face being hand-painted onto your nails for a new take on talking with your hands. I have to say, of all the micro nail trends, this is the one that I’m most excited to try at my next nail appointment.
I’ve seen so many cool girls embracing an artsier approach to nails this year with freehand patterns, painterly motifs and abstract prints all order of the day for this micro trend. While I don’t think I’d be able to do this one myself at home, nail technicians will love being given free rein to experiment with different colours, shapes and techniques for this conceptual trend.
Animal print normally makes at least one appearance in lists of top nail art trends but it’s usually leopard that leads the way. This year, however, cow-print manicures are the mico manicure trend to watch.
The most surprising micro nail trend of 2021 so far has to be glitter nails. While sparkle and shimmer are normally reserved for party season, it’s having a moment right now, and it turns out that glitter really does come into its own during the summer.
Blue nails are the surprisingly versatile colour of 2021, and their popularity shows no sign of dwindling. Cobalt, navy, cornflower or azure—whatever your blue of choice, there’s a polish to suit.
If you’re as indecisive as I am in the nail salon, then this final micro nail trend will be right up your street—pick ‘n’ mix nails. Whether it’s a switch-up of colours or an entirely different design on each nail, this fun trend should leave you feeling like a kid in a sweet shop.