From simple nail designs to masterpieces


The current nail art and gel polish trends are putting the finger on the pulse of the increasing popularity of manicures. More and more Canadians are sporting artistic designs and purchasing seasonal collections for decorative nails.

“We have seen a huge increase in popularity,” explains Erica Nieuwenhuis, director of marketing and education at Bio Sculpture Canada. “Women view their nails more and more as a fashion accessory, not just as nice manicured nails. They use them as a way to accessorize their outfits and to express personality, their creativity, their individual style.”

The results of nail art are meant to be unique. There are various DIY kits, but a salon professional has the skill and technique to create intricate, exceptional designs.

Nail art for weddings is becoming more popular with gold or silver designs that include attachments of lace, pearls, or crystals. For nights out, neon or bright colours are most popular. If a darker, metallic colour is wanted, a gold or black gel with big glitter is best. The most commonly used 3D materials are foil, glitter dust, coloured ribbons, and most importantly, rhinestones.

Some trends have caught on more than others. “Some popular and salon-friendly trends are ombre design using gel or traditional polish; 3D art using acrylic, nail wraps or appliqués; and embellishments such glitter, feathers, rhinestones, beads, or felt as well as words on nails,” says Joy Johnson, Nails and Faces of Joy owner from Waldorf, Maryland. For frequent users, a broad gel collection is necessary to create designs easily and quickly. Nail gel is similar to nail polish, but it can strengthen and promote the growth of nails, while remaining thin and flexible. It dries instantly under UV lights and can be the best product for nail art.

Nail art has been around for a long time. In 3000 BC, it was started by the Chinese, who applied enamel on their nails and left it on for hours. The result was a pink finish. China was not the only nail art enthusiast at the time. Indians and Egyptians used it as well. The modernization of nail design began in the early 19th century and salons popped up in the U.S. by the late 19th century.

The great advantage of nail art is that it can be changed quickly and drastically. “It’s not like having a dramatic change in your hair that would take six months to reverse,” says Nieuwenhuis. “It’s a two- or three-week commitment.”

If nails are bitten down or cut short, they may be hard to use as a canvas for nail art. The easy solution is acrylic artificial nails. Although these are not natural nails, they provide numerous benefits. Artificial nails provide a variety of shape, length, and can have intricate designs with add-ons and different materials. Another great advantage is that they can last a little longer because they won’t break as easily as the natural nail.

Proper maintenance of nails, especially with nail art, is very important and should be communicated to clients as part of their at-home care. Applying a clear top coat every couple of days, wearing gloves during nail-damaging tasks, and trimming them lightly, if at all, can give more life to a beautiful set of nails. Nails with simple designs are much easier to keep intact and can stay for as long as two weeks, but nails with 3D material, or intricate designs, can wear down easier. If clients follow the at-home suggestions, they can keep their creative designs in pristine shape until their next trip to the salon or spa.

  1. ...#155 Jackie from the Hollywood Color Collection–Bio Sculpture
  2. ...Nail art designs and colours by CND, featuring: Disco Fever, Mood Ring, Silent Night, Metallic Glitter Fade, Winter Wonderland, Enchantment, Gilded Glimmer and Starry Night
  3. ...#159 Grace from the Hollywood Color Collection–Bio Sculpture
  4. ...Sprung and Pink Yet Lavendar by O.P.I.


by Chelsea Kowalski | Fall 2013