If you thought jelly nails were a fleeting moment on the aesthetic horizon, think again. In today’s post, we’re diving into the colorful and translucent world of jelly nail designs, a trend that has dug its heels—rather, its tips—deep into the modern fashion landscape. It’s more than just a fad; it’s an artistic expression and a playful nod to the past while looking to the future. By the end of this read, you’ll have a curated list of 40 innovative jelly nail designs that are turning heads and sparking conversations. From the subtleties of minimalism to the drama of high-octane hues, we’ll explore why this trend is making waves and why you might want to consider hopping on board. Whether you’re a DIY nail aficionado or a regular at the nail salon, prepare for a wave of inspiration that proves this trend is far from translucent in its staying power. Let’s get started!
The Juicy Details on Peachy Keen
Ah, the joy of finding that perfect shade that makes you feel like you’ve got summer at your fingertips—literally! I recently fell head over heels for Butter London’s Jelly Preserve Strengthening Treatment in Orange Marmalade ($18). Not only does it offer a dreamy peachy-orange hue, but it also nourishes your nails. Trust me, it’s like a smoothie bowl for your tips. This two-in-one formula is a must-try if your nails sing the dry and brittle blues.
Logomania’s Chic Return
Okay, let’s talk about the early 2000s renaissance. Britney, boy bands, and yes, logomania! I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and seeing those iconic logos over a punchy hot pink jelly base took me right back to my teen years. No Tamagotchi needed; flaunt that logo-emblazoned manicure.
When Art Meets Manicure: It’s Giving Monet
Who says art can’t be worn? I respect this manicure as someone who once tried to paint lilies on a canvas and failed spectacularly. Imagine sporting Monet-inspired jelly water lilies on your nails. With soft colors and delicate flowers, it’s a masterpiece in miniature form.
Heartfelt V-Day Inspo
Valentine’s Day nails don’t have to be all hearts and arrows. Last year, I rocked a red jelly set with a French tip accent, and let me tell you, it was a conversation starter at every Valentine’s gathering. If you’re looking for a way to blend tradition with trend, this is your go-to.
Unleash the Party Animal
Life is too short for boring nails. This design brings together a riot of pastels in playful animal print. It’s like that one party outfit you can’t wait to wear; why not put it on your nails, too?
Splash of Winter Cheer: Add Water (Color)
Winter can be a bit of a mood-dampener. Whenever I feel the winter blues creeping in, I splash watercolor-like strokes on my nails. It’s like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.
Here’s a fun little hack: dilute clear nail polish with a few drops of your chosen colored polish. I did this with two different pinks and went full-on monochrome. The pink-on-pink action was the star at a recent summer BBQ.
Simply Chic: In the Clear
For those days when you’re feeling minimalist but still want that ‘wow’ factor, ask your nail technician for crystal or straightforward tips. I did this for a corporate event recently, and people couldn’t stop talking about how chic they looked.
’90s Throwback: Funfetti Edition
Ready for another blast from the past? Funfetti prints over jelly nails are like Saturday morning cartoons for your hands. Cue the ’90s playlists; this look is an instant mood booster.
Feel Like Royalty with Ice Princess
Ice, ice, baby! I adore this icy blue hue that’s perfect for adding some bling. Though it may look best on a more extended set of nails, adding a few jewels here and there can glam up nails of any length.
Whimsy Alert: Inspired by Jellies
Do you know what’s not fun? Confetti. Add in a Barbie-pink base, and you’ve got a mani that’s not just inspired by the jelly trend but also those adorable jelly sandals we all used to own.
Pro Tip: Add Depth to Your Jelly Mani
Choi, a fellow nail guru, recommends adding a sprinkle of glitter to your jelly polish for that extra pop mix it in with a toothpick or a dotting tool, and you’ve got yourself a jelly mani with profound depth.
Go Futuristic with Jelly Chrome
Consider chrome hues for a jelly look that’s not just a throwback. ILNP’s Holographic Jelly Nail Polish in Opal Sunset ($10) is what futuristic dreams are made of.
A Berry Delicious Look: Wild Berries
Last but not least, we’ve got a berry swirl that’s good enough to eat (but please don’t). Mixing Cirque Color’s Jelly Collection shades with a standard nail polish hue gives you the ultimate berry blend.
Imagine a twilight sky with hints of purple, blue, and a smattering of stars—that’s the Cosmic Skies jelly nail design for you. This design is perfect for those who love to gaze at the night sky and wish upon a star while keeping their nails on point.
The elegance of marble isn’t just for countertops and statues. A jelly base infused with swirling dark and light shades can mimic marble, giving your nails a sophisticated edge that’s sure to draw compliments.
Fire and Ice
Why not dabble in contrasts? One hand sports cool, icy tones, while the other turns up the heat with warm, fiery shades. It’s a unique way of playing with color theory and making a statement.
The Rainbow Connection design is a savior for those who find choosing just one or two colors impossible. Each nail represents a different rainbow color, set in a jelly texture for that added sheen.
The Ombre Effect
Ombre isn’t just a hair trend; it also looks stunning on jelly nails. A subtle gradient from one color to another can add depth and sophistication to your manicure.
If you’re someone who wants their nails to be a reflection of their larger-than-life personality, Neon Nights is a must-try. Vibrant neon shades on a jelly base are perfect for standing out, day or night.
Remember French tips? Please give them a jelly twist with Frosted Tips. The translucence of the jelly adds an unexpected layer to the classic French manicure, making it both nostalgic and trendy.
Florals for spring might not be groundbreaking, but florals on a jelly backdrop? Now that’s a fresh take. Pastel florals over a clear jelly base give your nails an ethereal, garden-like vibe.
Picture a tropical sunset over clear ocean waters, then put it on your nails. With orange, pink, and blue hues, this design brings a bit of vacation magic to your everyday life.
For those who love to add a touch of luxury to their look, consider a jelly nail design with flecks of gold leaf. The transparency of the jelly base allows the gold to shine truly, adding a touch of luxury to your nails.
Under the Sea
Channel your inner mermaid with this Under the Sea design, featuring shades of teal and azure with tiny seashell and starfish embellishments. It’s a magical way to bring a piece of the ocean wherever you go.
Think of a starry night, but make it glam! Midnight Glitz involves a dark jelly base illuminated by glitter specks resembling a night sky, adding a celestial twist to your nail game.
Earthy tones have never looked so stunning. This design features sandy and terracotta shades in a jelly format, mimicking the swirling colors of desert landscapes.
For those who find beauty in the concrete jungle, this design uses grays and blacks to create a smoky, urban atmosphere on your nails. It’s sleek, modern, and perfect for the city dweller.
Immerse yourself in a fairy tale with nails inspired by an enchanted forest. Shades of green and brown are accented with whimsical floral and leaf designs, making each nail a storybook page.
Clear jelly nails embedded with tiny, multi-colored “crystals” or rhinestones create a shimmering, gem-encrusted surface. It’s a royal look that brings the bling subtly and sophisticatedly.
Inspired by the warm hues of autumn, Harvest Moon features a palette of burnt orange, rich browns, and golden yellows. It’s like capturing the essence of fall and wearing it on your fingertips.
It’s a tribute to those sprawling lavender fields that make great Instagram pics. This design uses shades of purple set in a jelly finish, and might even calm your senses whenever you look at it.
Cherry Blossom Bliss
Capture the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms with a soft pink jelly base and delicate floral art. It’s a great way to celebrate spring or add a natural elegance to your look.
A cosmic blend of blues, purples, and blacks, adorned with tiny stars or even small planet designs. Galactic Voyage is perfect for those who dream of space adventures but prefer to keep their feet on the ground.
Coffee and Cream
For coffee lovers, this design mimics your morning latte’s aesthetic with brown and beige swirls. The jelly finish adds a certain gloss, making it look as rich and inviting as your favorite cup of joe.
Rose Gold Reverie
Rose gold is a color that’s captured many hearts, and it’s easy to see why. This design takes the elegance of rose gold and infuses it into a jelly base, creating a glamorous and ethereal look.
Who hasn’t stared up at a cloudy sky and daydreamed? This design captures fluffy white clouds against a sky-blue jelly base, making for a serene and whimsical look that’s hard to take your eyes off.
Bring out your inner gamer with a pixelated design over a clear jelly base. It’s a fun throwback to the 8-bit games of yore, modernized with the sheen and depth of jelly nails.
A refreshing design that captures the essence of a chilled lemonade on a hot day, this look uses yellows and greens with a translucent finish. It’s an instant pick-me-up that brings zest to your fingertips.
Taking cues from the dusky skies of twilight, this design features layers of pinks, purples, and blues in a gradient fashion. The jelly finish adds a surreal quality, making each nail look like a miniature, romantic sunset.
Inspired by the rich color palettes of vintage fashion and décor, this design features warm, muted shades like olive, mustard, and maroon. The jelly finish gives each color a luminous quality, adding modern flair to a retro look.
Why Are Jelly Nail Designs So Popular?
Jelly nail designs have captured the imagination of many for several good reasons, and their popularity shows no signs of waning. First, the sheer, translucent finish offers a unique twist on the typical solid color manicure. The jelly texture creates an eye-catching depth and luminosity without being over-the-top, making it suitable for various occasions, from casual get-togethers to formal events.
Another draw is the versatility of the jelly nail trend. It pairs well with many designs and can be combined with other nail art trends like ombre, marble, or floral designs. The jelly base is a sophisticated canvas for added embellishments like glitter, rhinestones, or decals. This means you can customize the trend to suit your style, whether that’s chic and understated or bold and whimsical.
Then there’s the nostalgia factor. Jelly nails evoke a sense of ’90s and early ’00s nostalgia—a simpler time of jelly sandals and see-through purses, making it a hit with those who lived through the era and appreciate its aesthetics.
Moreover, jelly nails offer something for both DIY enthusiasts and salon-goers. Those who love at-home nail art can experiment with layering to achieve the desired translucent effect. Meanwhile, various specialized jelly nail polishes and treatments make getting that perfect jelly look easier than ever.
In essence, jelly nails are popular because they hit that sweet spot of being both novel and versatile, playful yet sophisticated. Their unique texture and wide range of design possibilities make them an exciting option for anyone looking to spice up their nail game.
My Top Tips To Create Jelly Nails At Home
Creating your jelly nail designs can be a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY nail artist or a beginner looking to experiment, here are some steps and tips to guide you through the process.
- Prep Your Nails: Start by removing any old nail polish and thoroughly cleaning your nails. Apply a base coat to protect your natural nails and provide a smooth surface for your jelly polish.
- Choose Your Color(s): Decide on the jelly nail polish color or colors you’d like. Jelly nail polishes are specially formulated to have a translucent finish, but you can also dilute regular nail polish with a clear polish to create a jelly-like effect.
- Layering: Apply the first layer of your chosen jelly nail polish. Let it dry completely before adding additional layers. The more layers you add, the less translucent the finish will be, so adjust according to your preference.
- Add Art and Embellishments (Optional): Once your base layer is dry, you can add designs or embellishments using nail art tools or household items like toothpicks. Some popular options include adding glitter, making polka dots, or creating floral designs.
- Seal the Deal: Once you’re happy with your design and it has dried completely, apply a top coat to seal everything in and add an extra layer of shine. This also helps protect your art and extends the lifespan of your manicure.
- Cleanup and Care: Use acetone and cotton balls to clean up any excess polish around the nails. Moisturize your hands and cuticles after the acetone, as it can be drying.
- Practice Layering: The key to a good jelly nail design is layering. Experiment on a piece of paper first if you need clarification.
- Less is More: If you’re new to nail art, start simple and gradually work up to more complex designs.
- Longevity: Jelly nails can be prone to chipping, so invest in a high-quality top coat to prolong the life of your manicure.
5 Products That I Recommend To Get The Perfect Jelly Nails At Home
|Ease of Application
|Butter London Jelly Preserve
|Long (7-10 days)
|– Strengthens nails<br>- Multiple colors available
|– Slightly more expensive
|ILNP Holographic Jelly
|Medium (5-7 days)
|– Unique holographic finish<br>- Quick drying
|– May require multiple layers for full effect
|Cirque Color’s Jelly Collection
|Long (7-10 days)
|Rich & Varied
|– Wide color range<br>- Vegan & cruelty-free
|– Needs at least 2 coats
|OPI Sheer Tints
|Short (3-5 days)
|– Good for layering with other polishes<br>- Easy to apply
|– Not very long-lasting
|Essie Silky Negligee
|Medium (5-7 days)
|– Smooth application<br>- Classic brand reputation
|– Limited color choices
Step By Step Video Tutorial
Alright, let’s wrap this up! Jelly nails are more than a passing trend—they’re a creative canvas for expressing individuality, mood, and artistic taste. Whether you’re into vibrant hues, intricate designs, or subtle translucence, there’s a jelly nail style for you. A quick tip: if you’re experimenting at home, remember that layering is key to achieving that juicy, jelly-like depth. But, a word to the wise—jelly nails can be a bit more prone to chipping due to their sheer nature, so a good top coat is your best friend. And if you’re adding embellishments like glitter or rhinestones, less is often more; you don’t want to overshadow that unique jelly texture. With so many designs to choose from, the sky—or, should I say, the nail bed—is the limit. Go forth and make the jelly nail trend your own; I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Feature image @cirquecolors via Instagram