I asked a nail tech to surprise me with a trending manicure

woo reviews: no Pinterest moodboard could give me this! Plus, an expert manicurist breaks down the nail trends you need to know for spring/summer '24

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woo reviews: no Pinterest moodboard could give me this! Plus, an expert manicurist breaks down the nail trends you need to know for spring/summer '24

By Darshita Goyal09 Apr 2024
4 mins read time
4 mins read time

Growing up, my mother – chic, calm and poised – had the prettiest mani at all times. Some of my fondest childhood memories include watching her soak, scrub, shape and paint her nails; even today, a whiff of acetone sends me on a nostalgia trip. Much to her dismay, I was more… unkempt and unbothered when it came to my nails. For as far back as my memory serves, I’ve been a nervous (or often, just bored) nail biter with crooked talons.

But when I moved to London in 2021, I went through a vibe shift. I wanted… no, needed, to be in on all the trends: film, culture, fashion, beauty, everything. And of course, getting my nails done became an inevitable prerequisite of this persona. Every month or so, I headed to my local nail salon armed with Pinterest screenshots of the latest nail inspo. Square oval to almond, cherry red to electric blue and daisies on every finger, I’ve tried them all.

Despite my efforts, by the time I got on board, most trends were on their way out – and I (unfortunately) remain an incessant nail biter. As someone who isn’t naturally drawn to nail art, I just don’t know enough to keep up, tbh. So to mix things up and challenge my type A self, I decided to go straight to the source. I’ve been following Shoreditch Nails, the popular London-based salon, on socials and constantly reference their art, so why not ask them to take charge?

No more weeks’ old Pins or decision fatigue: I asked Dal, an expert artist from the salon to surprise me with a trending mani. We took the “surprise” element seriously, too. For an hour and 45 minutes, I sat in the chair chatting with the artist and my colleague – who very kindly agreed to film it all – all with a blindfold over my eyes. Not gonna lie, it was a strangely liberating experience. Every time Dal checked, “are you sure you’re okay with anything?” or “you don’t have any preference at all?”, I sheepishly nodded and hoped for the best.

Through the process and before the big reveal, we chatted all things nails. What’s trending now? What’s trending forever? How can you take care of your nails? And the most important of them all, how can an anxious nail biter hold on to a pretty mani? Don’t worry, I’m here to share!

  • Seasons are changing and so are trends: we’re seeing flowers in bloom and want little buds on our nails too.
  • Sweet treats on nails are so in: think cocktail-inspired nail art, coffee swirls, little cherries or croissants.
  • French tips are back! People are over white tips and are opting for different colours on every nail with blue, red and green having a moment.
  • Textures are trending – think animal print, metallic swirls, gingham or cat eye. If you’re a biter, try textured 3D art on your nails. Stroking and fiddling with the little bumps is a great distraction when you’re feeling fidgety.
  • More people are going short and almond-shaped than long and sharp.
  • Turns out pastels and neon shades are season agnostic troopers – we want pops of colour all year round.
  • The best way to care for your nails? Get them done regularly. This doesn’t mean slapping on polish but clipping the extras, massaging the nail bed and using cuticle oil.
  • I’m not the only one with decision fatigue: surprise manis are slowly becoming a thing at salons.

… and good thing they are! I opened my eyes to a summer picnic on my nails: the red and blue gingham are reminiscent of park blankets while the cherries, tomatoes and olives scream happy, sunny days. Each little fruit was textured and elevated using a special gel to ensure I have something to fuss over when I’m feeling bored or angsty. Hopefully no more nail biting? Time will tell. But right now, I’m too giddy to care, look at my nails – they’re SO cute!!! Up next: asking a hairstylist to surprise me with a new cut and colour… do I dare? :’)

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