Appliqués Are 2024’s Biggest Manicure Trend

Top off your polish with bows, gold chains, and 3D designs.

bow nails
(Image credit: Nails by Mei/Instagram)

A new year brings a fresh start, a new calendar year, and perhaps most exciting: A new batch of nail trends. While 2023 was all about a return to simplicity with solid nudes and pale baby pinks, 2024 is ushering in an exciting new era. “More is more,” says Glosslab founder Rachel Apfel Glass. “We’re going to be seeing less simplicity and more vibrant shades. We’re moving away from the naked nail and milk bath nail to more vibrant colors and designs.” 

In that vein, expect to see 3D embellishments everywhere. You’ll find little bows adorned to the tips of your favorite celebrities manicures. Spy jewelry-adjacent gold buckles and bling popped on top of even the shortest and sleekest sets. Or, see nature-inspired designs (think: mushrooms or stones) topping acrylics. Should the pros predictions hold true, 2024 is going to be an interesting year for nail art.

To get the scoop on what the experts expect to see, scroll ahead. We tapped the best in the business to break down the biggest and boldest nail trends for 2024. 

3D Designs

Take it from Dua Lipa’s nail artist Mei Kawajiri, 3D nail art is poised for a huge return. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need 5-inch long acrylics. This year, nail art is going to be short nail friendly. You’ll find everything from multi-dimensional press-ons to pearl and rhinestone appliques topping off all your favorite star’s sets. According to nail artist Natalie Minerva, you’re even going to see nature-inspired designs popped on top. “Think: stone, mold, and mushrooms,” she says. “I think this has been blowing up because surprisingly these are easy designs to execute.”

Funky French

Beyonce. Kendall Jenner. Adele. How much more proof do we need that the French Manicure is going to remain in our orbit. “It’s a forever staple because not only does it look good and grow out well, but it is also so versatile,” says Minerva. There’s the classic rendition, which seems to be the most popular as of late, but you can also play with color combinations, and varying shapes of the tip. If you’re into DIY, try executing a perfect French tip with a makeup sponge. Just dip a sharp corner in polish and gently deposit it to the nail. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Short & Square

“I think short nails are back with a vengeance,” declares Minerva, who heads up the nail department on set at Euphoria. “It’s easier to manage with all of our busy schedules, and I’ve always felt like you can actually go much heavier on nail art if the nails are shorter.” Kawajiri seconds the claim, pointing out that a square-meets-squoval shape will likely be the most popular. We’ve already seen the parred back nail shape on the hands of former long-nailed stars like Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian

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Toe Art

While you won’t find too many graphic nail designs on this 2024 list—the confines don’t apply to toes. The press-on boom (yes, you can do a press on pedicure) is ushering in a whole new era of toe art. “As nail art has become such a big thing the last several years, we will see more expression of individuality on toenails too,” says Mei. Case in point? The Thom Browne fashion show earlier this year, where models has crazy spirals adorned to their feet. I'm not saying you need to go this all-out, but a funky press-on is a great way to spice up your toenails. Thankfully, brands like OPI and KISS have come out with great, easy-to-apply options.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Semi-Transparent Shades

Remember jelly nails? Well, I never thought I would say it, but: They’re back. They have a bit of a modern twist this season. Rather than taking on neon orange, yellow, or green shades, they’ll have a deeper undertone. According to Kawajiri, gray is going to be huge. You’ll need sheer polish to achieve this look, but if you only have opaque on hand, I recommend doing very thin coats.


(Image credit: Natalie Minerva)

Just Some Jewelry

A manicure is an accessory—the polish you choose adds a little something extra to any outfit. But for 2024, that mentality is taking on a bit more literal meaning. Nails that mimic jewelry pieces are set to take off. “I’ve been seeing nail art that has bracelet or belt cuff,” says Minerva. “I think that adding that little extra bit to your nails is really just an extension of more accessorizing.” You can order little appliques on Amazon, or even use bits of broken necklaces you have laying around.

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Going Green

“Dark, hunter greens are going to be big in 2024,” predicts Glass. “They’re the new neutral and look great on all nail shapes and skin tones.” You’ll definitely see this most prominently through the winter months, so now’s the time to jump on board. Not sure where to start? Try Glosslab’s polish in Rigorous Green

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Jewel Tones

Give your manicure a hint of luxury by opting for a rich, jewel-toned polish. According to Minerva, this regal uptick is going to hold strong well through the Spring. “Jewel tones are likely popular right now because of the season, but cherry cola nails will be extending year round—it’s a timeless nail look,” she says. 

If you’re looking for a jewel-tone that borders on a neutral, opt for a metallic gold. “I’ve had so many clients asking for gold nails and I love it. The silver trend has been prominent the last couple of years and I think people are ready for a change,” Minerva adds. Case in point she’s onto something? Addison Rae’s recent metallic manicure (see below). 


(Image credit: Natalie Minerva)

Neon Numbers

Brainstorm the most vibrant, bright color you’ve ever seen—and plan on swiping it across your nails. “Neons aren’t just for the summer,” says Glass. “In Winter and Spring we’ll be seeing a ton of the vibrant shades spicing up outfits.” No shade is off limits, but expect to see a lot of orange, pink, and blue. 

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Chrome toppers, otherwise known as glazed everything, reigned supreme in 2023. This year? The chrome continues—but with a slightly different take. “You’re going to be seeing a lot of oddball colors,” says Minerva. “I recently did a jelly gray with an orange chrome and I’m absolutely in love with it.” There’s no confines or guidelines for this trend. Just pick two colors you like (one of which gets a chrome finish) and create a design or shading of your choice. 


(Image credit: Natalie Minerva)

Coquette Cutie

We have reached peak bow—and yet, coquette detailing persists. “Bows are the dainty little design that adds that special, girly twist onto your typical manicure. We’ll be seeing bows not just around the holidays, but well into 2024,” says Glass. You can give this design a 3D twist (double the trend!) by seeking out a professional or DIY it with nothing but a dotting tool. “Use a thin dotting tool to carefully draw a ribbon on your ring or pointer finger as an accent nail,” adds Glass. 


(Image credit: Nails by Mei)

Meet the Experts

nail artist
Natalie Minerva

Natalie Minerva aka Nail Swag is a California native living in beautiful Los Angeles. Nail art started out as a simple hobby for Natalie, who loved trying to master the tedious but intricate details of nail designs. They weren't always perfect but she was compelled to keep trying over and over again. Now, she is an OPI Global Ambassador and heads up the nail department at Euphoria.

nail artist
Mei Kawajiri

Originally from Kyoto, Japan, Kawajiri has been doing nails for 15 years. She was once an aspiring tattoo artist, but opted for nail art after realizing she changed her mind too quickly to give herself permanent tattoos. She moved to New York six years ago and has accumulated a number of clients.

nail artist
Rachel Apfel Glass

Rachel Apfel Glass is the Founder of GLOSSLAB, membership-based nail studio. She lives in NYC with her husband and two daughters.

Samantha Holender
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar,,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.