Wake up, there’s a new nail trend on the ground! OK, this may not seem that exciting seeing as there’s a new major nail trend every few weeks (thanks, TikTok) but this one is actually out of the box… well, technically, the book. Pop art nails inspired by comic books are the latest nail trend showing up all over For You pages and Instagram feeds. Also known as cartoon nails, this manicure style is characterized by the 3D effect provided by painted-on lines around the perimeters of the nail, which create dimension to mimic the animated drawings of a comic book, hence the name.
With pop art nails, you can be as simple and minimal or as bold and animated as you’d like; the style of the design makes for an eye-catching manicure whichever way you sway. “It’s fun to see all the variations of this trend from bright and colorful to festive and holiday,” nail artist Elle Gerstein says of the trend in a press statement.
She attributes the style’s popularity to its versatility and how different it is from other current nail trends such as chrome and ombré French nails. “I love how versatile it is, not only with the colors but with the nail shapes being used — I’m seeing everything from coffin to Russian almond to stiletto.” Gerstein also explains that this trend allows artists to showcase their personal aesthetics by putting their own twist on it. “It’s the artists that set these trends,” she notes.
If you’re thinking of getting pop art nails for your next set, it’s worth showing your nail tech a few images to communicate your exact vision. If you aim to create the look on your own, Gerstein shares in the statement exactly how she achieved her take on the cartoon manicure shown above. She used a mix of colors and neutral tones, but it can be recreated in any color scheme. “After applying a base coat, I painted two coats of LeChat Perfect Match Mi Amour, curing in between each coat,” the artist explains [Gerstein is a paid partner of LeChat].
After that initial step, she outlined the nail with LeChat CM Gel Art Black (if you’re not into gel Essie’s 39 Licorice polish is a good choice here). “I love that it comes with a striper brush, making it seamless for artwork,” she explains. If you don’t already own a nail art brush we recommend the Beaute Galleria 12MM Nail Art Brush is a great choice, the thin brush makes drawing detailed art a breeze.
She then added a curved exclamation point with LeChat CM Art Gel White (OPI’s Alpine Snow nail polish is another great non-gel alternative). “You can add dashes, exclamation points, and commas in other places to give it more dimension. This detail is what makes the artwork pop,” she says. After applying the art gel in both shades, she cured and added a top coat and cured again.