On Valentine’s Day, why not express your love on your nails? Julie Kandalec, manicurist to celebrities like Jessica Chastain, Mariah Carey and Emily Blunt, points out some fun new trends.
“You can do it for yourself. You can do it for Valentine’s Day. You can do it for your partner,” she says.
Traditionally, Valentine’s nails would be simple, she says: “a solid red nail or a cute simple pink heart or a French manicure.” Now, thanks to social media, there are many ideas.
Kandalec’s top five nail trends for Valentine’s Day:
COQUETTES OR KAWAII NAILS
Kandalec says she is obsessed with it. A cute overload, this maximalist manicure uses pastel pinks and lilacs loaded with cute charms, hearts, flowers, bows, stickers, gems, pearls and all kinds of appliqués. Coquette nails were a trend more than a decade ago, she says, but “it’s been a while since we’ve been bringing them back. We used to call the nails kawaii, which (means) ‘cute’ in Japanese, so I love that it’s making a comeback.”
FRENCH MANICURE / SQUARE NAIL
Square nails are back in style after a long absence, says Kandalec. But this time, the trend is for a French square style. The nails are squared off along the top and given a French manicure – a natural colored nail with a white tip. She also notes that French nails are being combined with the “mafia woman look” as a whole new trend.
This fashion, makeup and, of course, nail trend takes inspiration from mob women, real and fictional, from Carmela Soprano to Karen Hill. These nails are extra long, extra square, extra pointed, with extra white French tips. No subtle milky white tips to be seen here. It’s over the top and beautiful, with popular animal prints and 3D patterns, as well as glitter trim or a classic red.
Kandalec points out that even the classic red manicure “is going through a major moment” that started last fall and continues, and this can be combined with the mob trend.
These are big on Instagram and TikTok — Kandalec calls them “3D inflatable hearts.” The effect is achieved with a magnet held in wet gel-varnish containing magnetic particles. “What you do is you hold it in a perpendicular manner to the nail. And then it flips the magnetic particles and gives it a really cool 3D look. Some people call it velvet nails. They call it cat’s eye nails. They call it the magnetic nail.
“It’s really fun and goes with kawaii, coquette nails too, and also jelly nails, which is what I have now,” she says.
Often described as lip gloss for nails. They’re “a really clear type of polish. It can be any color. It’s basically the color mixed with the clear, or it’s already done that’s very, very clear. So it’s kind of like a color wash. It’s a color very big. the trend in Korea at the moment,” she says. And the trend “is to have a clear base on the cuticles, so there’s not a harsh line of color.”
If none of the above trends appeal to you, perhaps you can give a little something to someone special by adding their name or initials to the design.
“Or even if you’re single,” Kandaliec says, “you can show someone by putting, you know, a little pink heart or something to attract that person to you.”