Ice Nails Are Trending, and They’re Mesmerizing
Every so often a nail trend comes along that makes you stop mid-scroll on Instagram, and the latest is ice nails, a glimmering, dimensional look that’s taking over our feeds. It’s easy to see why they’re trending, considering the finish is downright mesmerizing.
As the name implies, the trend basically looks like tiny ice crystals on your nails thanks to an iridescent foil core and layers of shimmer. Like the equally viral velvet nail trend, ice nails—which have also been called aurora nails (inspired by the Aurora borealis) and glass candy nails—originated in Korea, but have recently made their way stateside. If you remember 2015’s glass nails craze started by Seoul nail artist Eunkyung Park, think of ice nails as its 2021 counterpart—just less shattered and refractive and more like a glossy sheet of ice.
“This trend is all about layering,” says Fleury Rose, a nail artist in New York City, who has been experimenting with the trend. “There are different techniques out there, but mainly it entails layers of opal gel polish, or opal powder with layers of holo film to create a stunning effect. The entire thing is encapsulated with clear gel to give a lit-from-within effect.”
It’s this layering of the holographic film and clear gel that makes the effect really pop. It also means that you can really only get the look by going to see a pro. “This design can only be done with gel, as the holo film needs to be encapsulated fully in gel to last,” says Rose. “A lot of artists will create a pillowy gel effect, or even build 3-D volume with clear gel to get interesting shapes and designs.”
However, that doesn’t mean iridescent nails are totally out of the question. There are ways to channel the sparkling holographic effect at home. Rose recommends layering a flakey iridescent polish under a finer pearl polish, and then locking it in with a super-shiny topcoat like Seche Vite to lock in in. Or you could also go the nail sticker route, which will give you the more literal look of having icy gems on each fingertip.
Even if you don’t plan on attempting a DIY, there’s no denying how stunning they are to look at. Scroll on for some of our favorite examples of ice nails, and prepare to smash the save button.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.