A new school year is the perfect opportunity to try a new set of nails. Showing up to class with a stylish manicure will make you feel confident and ready for success. With so many DIY ideas out there, from gradient manicures to statement-making press-ons, you don’t even have to book an appointment at a salon. Equally suited for the classroom and Instagram feed, these back-to-school nail ideas will have your fingers looking fabulous as you flip through textbook pages this fall.
When Pantone announced a dreamy, blue-toned periwinkle hue as its official 2022 Color of the Year, a new “it” nail color was born. According to the world-leading expert in color, periwinkle “encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.” What better shade to get back into learning mode? Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel in “Crying Out Cloud” or Essie’s “You Do Blue” are two great options to give your fingertips a periwinkle pop. Keep it monochrome or use it as a base layer for a design, such as white clouds or a rainbow.
You can never go wrong with a multicolored mani, and ombre nails are all the rage. You can apply two colors and create a color gradient on each individual nail using a wedge-shaped makeup sponge, or paint solid colors that progress slightly to create an ombre effect across your entire hand. Popular palettes this season feature bright shades of yellow, peach, and pink, but go with any color story that speaks to your personality.
Nail art that pays homage to nostalgic patterns from the millennium is having a major moment. Think flowers, smiley faces, space-age swirls, and cow and leopard animal prints—basically anything you might find on a T-shirt from the early 2000s. Mix-and-match designs in the same color palette or give each nail something completely unrelated. And thanks to the rise of DIY manicures, even nail-art newbies can get pro results when applying complicated designs. Try gel strips from ManiMe laser-cut to your exact nail shape or the 100% nail polish strips from Color Street that contain a base coat, color coat, and topcoat all in one.
Attribute this trend to the Euphoria effect. The show has had a major influence on popularizing over-the-top acrylics, and Cassie’s princess-pink oval nails lined with rhinestone diamonds down the middle are most popular. If you want to rule the school with this sparkly nail art, buy a set of natural round medium tips, such as from Apres, and paint them in soft pink. The show’s nail artist recommends securing the gems with Kiss’ Brush-On Gel Nail Glue to recreate the look at home.