Rainbow nails: the manicure trend sparking joy all over Instagram

Posted by for Beauty

Imagine a manicure that makes you instantly feel a little happier every time you look down at your hands. Turns out, such a thing exists. Here’s why now is the time to embrace the rainbow nail art trend.

Right now, we’ll take our slices of solace where we can get them, and surprisingly, caring for our nails has formed a massive part of our new found self-care routines. Whether it’s creating an ombré design or trying to bring brittle nails back to their full strength, our fingertips are getting extra attention. And as we’re forced to take matters into our own hands, we’re becoming more and more confident when it comes to at-home manicures.

But have you ever considered that as well as this welcome distraction, your nails could bring you a little bit of joy? Well, that’s exactly the premise behind the emerging trend for rainbow nails. 

It makes sense. The rainbow started out as a vital symbol of hope during this pandemic, and has since appeared everywhere, from drawings Blu-tacked on windows to chalked driveways, Instagram art works to charity T-shirts. And now, it’s time for our fingertips to get involved.

Instagram is currently awash with rainbow nail art ideas. “You can’t help but feel happy when wearing a rainbow of colour on your nails,” explains manicurist Metta Francis. “They’re mini symbols of hope and better days to come.”

Better still, there’s loads of ways to try the trend, from simply painting nails in subtle rainbow hues to drawing tiny rainbows on to each and every nail bed.

Feeling inspired to try out rainbow nails? We’ve rounded up our favourite designs, covering the bold, the subtle and the in-between.

  • The tiny rainbow

    Giving us a step-by-step tutorial, Megan Mansfield intricately creates a small rainbow nail worthy of it’s painstaking steady hand.

  • The french tip

    A hybrid of the gradient and classic french tip, this style has a certain ‘nails dipped in a rainbow’ vibe to it.

  • The pastel rainbow with a bold accent

    A lighter, pastel rainbow is ideal for anyone who prefers a subtle use of colour. Just accent the manicure with a central, bold colour if you want to amp things up a bit.

  • The paint splodges

    On top of a neutral base, rainbow paint splodges make a statement. Add a top coat for increased gloss, or leave matte for a more understated look.

  • The ombré

    There’s no denying how much we love ombré. If you have extra time on your hands, this is one that requires a little more precision and a good eye for matching colours.

  • The rainbow swirl

    Traditional with a slight twist, the hand-painted rainbow swirl on top of a neutral nail works well in a range of neon, pastel polishes as well as either metallic or matte finishes.

  • The graphic print

    Neon, graphic designs like this lightning bolt make for an eye-catching style. Want something a little more understated? opt for a simple horizontal line across the middle of the nail.

  • The strikethrough

    A grittier nail design, these strikethrough nails are an easy way to implement a range of colours onto your nails with minimal effort.

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Main image: Sadie J Nails

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