Nail trends to try in 2013

Dec 22, 2012 at 7:30 a.m. ET

From neutral nail color to new technology, check out what's hot in nails for 2013.

What's new in nails
Black nail polish

Whether you want something dark and sultry or bold and funky, you can find a new favorite nail color for the new year.

Nail techniques

French with a twist

In 2012, we saw plenty of reverse French manicures with dark tips instead of the traditional white. For the new year, expect French manicures with a new, different twist. The sideways French mani will be popular (a vertical split) as well as pale nails with a striking diagonal tip, half moon accent or other graphic shape in a contrasting shade.


Magnetic nail color hit the scene in 2012 and will be going strong in the new year. You can achieve a cool 3D look in an instant with magnetic nail color from Sally Hansen and other companies. You simply apply the lacquer and then hold the included magnet over each nail while the polish is wet. Add a top coat and voila! — shiny, 3D nails you'll love.


Ombre hair color has been trendy for a couple of years now, and, in 2012, we were introduced to ombre nails. If you like this look, you are in luck because the trend will continue throughout the next year.

"My personal favorite trend at this moment is ombre. It looks professionally done if you have the patience for it, and all you'll need are two different shades of polish. I always recommend using a top coat and a base coat, and find that having a makeup sponge handy can help to clean up any mess and tighten up the edges of the colors," says Creative Director of Pretty Woman USA, Aija Vilemsonne. Execute this trend at home with this ombre nail tutorial courtesy of Vilemsonne and

  • First, make sure that your hands are moisturized, clean and dry. That's the first step to any successful manicure and should be a standard practice.
  • Apply your base coat and the base color — Vilemsonne recommends two coats, depending on the polish used. This will show as the lower color on your nail, closest to the cuticle.
  • Use a paper bowl to pour a small amount of the second color (the one that will appear at the tip of your nail), and dab a tiny amount on your makeup sponge. Do this slowly and carefully, never applying too much at a time. This will help to keep the mess manageable.
  • This is important: Make absolutely certain that your nails are fully dry before applying the second color. Dip the makeup sponge into polish and dab the tips of your nails in quick, short strokes. Make sure to cover the end of your nail.
  • The top coat becomes a blending tool with this style. It will act as a re-wetting agent to bleed the two colors together, and keep your color lasting and solid.


For a night out, try ultra shiny nails with all-over sequins or chrome holograms. Look for a nail salon that specializes in Minx. Minx nails have been hot for a couple years now. Celebrities from Beyonce to Katy Perry wear Minx nails for special occasions, performances and events. Applied in a salon like stickers and set under a heat lamp, Minx nails can deliver amazing designs you never thought possible.

Nail colors

Deep and dark

Black nail polish isn't just for Twilight fans and teenage goths. Dark nail polish is usually hot for winter, but this trend will even carry into spring this year. At Spring-Summer 2013 Fashion Week, we saw plenty of dark nails at the New York shows. Dark shades we love include OPI's Suzi Skis in Pyrenees (a deep, rich blue-gray) and Essie's Licorice (a beguiling jet black cream).

Light and icy

On the other end of the spectrum, light shades of nail polish will also be trendy for the new year — especially in the springtime, of course. We like CND's Pink Lily as well as the new Zang Toi Spring Summer 2013 Collection for Zoya. This collection features three "Ice Princess" shades with subtle metallic tones of cool lilac (Julie), icy pink (Gei Gei) and shimmery yellow (Piaf).

green nail polishGreen, three ways

Green will be one of the hottest colors of the year in fashion — and in nails.

  • Emerald — When emerald was named Pantone Color of the Year for 2013, we knew this rich hue would find its way into the beauty scene and it has. Many of your favorite nail lacquer brands will release emerald-y shades in 2013.
  • Mint — Mint green has been popular in spring for the last two years, and we'll see more of the same in 2013. If you like pale shades of polish but want something a little different than girly pinks, then mint might be the answer for you.
  • Accents — Bold color combinations are going to be on-trend all year. One of our favorites is jet black nails accented with brilliant green designs. We saw an example of this at the Nicole Miller show in New York and now we are starting to see it on the city streets, too.

Nail collections

Mariah Carey Collection for OPI

New technology

For 2013, multiple Grammy Award-winning recording artist Mariah Carey is teaming up with OPI to bring you a fabulous new collection of nail polish.

The Mariah Carey by OPI Spring 2013 Nail Polish Collection, which will be released in January 2013, features eight new limited edition shades inspired and hand-selected by Mariah. What's totally cool is that four of them feature a new technology — OPI Liquid Sand — a textured matte pebbled finish infused with a light shimmer and fine glitter sparkle. Our favorite color of the collection? Stay the Night — a matte black with red glints. You can find the collection at OPI retailers with each lacquer priced at $9.

Dior Vernis Cruise Collection 2013

Bright and beautiful

If you love your nail polish to be bold but not overwhelming, you'll adore the Dior Vernis Cruise Collection 2013. All three shades — Lime, Mango and Pasteque — are vivid with a fresh and sexy flair.

Whatever nail polish you are wearing in 2013, make sure you touch up your nails often. Chipped nail polish is definitely not in style for the New Year.

More nail tips and trends

Go funky fab with these nail trends
How to: 5-minute manicure
Inspiration for cool nail designs