Photo Klog
Photo Klog

Are you actually getting your nails tattooed? Is it even possible to tattoo nails? According to Byrdie, it is possible to get your nails tattooed, but most people instead choose to use templates or stickers to achieve the looks they want. This is even more fun when you realize that you can put these images over an uncolored nail or a polished nail, meaning you can endlessly customize your looks. Want a sun on your nail? Try putting it over a yellow nail, which will give warmth and make the sun its actual color once the image is on your nail.

What is Korean Tattoo Nail Trend?

This nail trend, like the Korean high heel nails trend, was created by Unistella, a nail company based in South Korea, per The Klog. At Unistella, they hand-paint the tattoo looks, but this can be a lot to take on at home, which is why people have resorted to stickers and other easy ways to transplant images onto the surface of their nails. Not everyone has the time or precision to dedicate to this nail trend, so if you still want this cute look, stickers will be the easiest way to achieve it outside of actually getting tattooed or flying to Korea.

The world of tattoos is forever evolving and, as a result, artists and tattoo lovers are constantly looking for new ways to push boundaries. It should come as no surprise that this also includes tattooing new parts of the human body, and with every square inch of skin tried and tested, some are turning to new surfaces as a canvas. One of those surfaces is fingernails.

“I think it is super cool, and I encourage people to do it,” says Jes Valentine, a tattoo artist who offers the service at her shop, Haven Studio. “But I don’t know if I would even call it a trend yet. Most people don’t realize it’s even a possible thing to do.”

But, as Valentine proves, it is possible. If you take a dive through Instagram or Pinterest, you will find a handful of relatively new posts featuring fingernail tattoos, usually paired with a caption expressing a feeling of half confusion and half delight with the process and finished product.

To understand the basics of this blossoming maybe-trend, it is best to first appreciate the canvas on which it is drawn. Your fingernails are made of a protein called keratin – the same stuff that your hair is made of. They grow under your skin, and in the process, dead cells get moved up and out. That is why the fingernails that you see, paint and bite, have no sensation. However, blood vessels and nerves sit just under your nails, and if you go too deep, you will feel that pain and cause damage.

Fingernail tattoos live on the surface of your nail – the dead part. Although applied with a needle and ink, they do not go deep and they never reach your nail bed. This is one of the main selling points for this type of tattoo; that it doesn’t hurt. “It feels weird because it vibrates pretty strongly,” Valentine continues. “But it is painless.”

However, only tattooing the surface of a nail means the design grows out as your nail grows. This can be a freeing idea, but also one that keeps people from spending money on it. “I think it is a new idea,” says Valentine. “But people always try to think of something different they can do with tattoos, and this is different.”

The fact that nails grow, however, should be taken into consideration when choosing a tattoo design. Dots like these, applied by Valentine, are ideal for your nails as the design continues to evolve as it grows. “People mostly want something pretty minimalist,” Valentine says. “Simple designs, lines and dots, snowflakes, hearts, numbers, letters.”

Korean Negative Space Nail Trend

Photo Pop Sugar
Photo Pop Sugar

K-beauty is a powerful magnet in the world of beauty products and trends. In 2017, South Korea's beauty industry was estimated to be worth just over $13 billion, according to research company Mintel. Its popularity in Western countries could likely be due to the explosion of K-Pop's popularity in the west. And it's not just boy bands, girl groups, skin and makeup products we're influenced by. Our manicures are also being heavily influenced.

"Nail trends in Korea tend to be simpler and cuter in style rather than flashy and spectacular," Sunny, the owner of Sunkuku Nail Art Studio in Seoul, told Allure. We're totally on board with the simple and cute shapes, colors, and even drawn on smiley faces. But there is one Korean-inspired nail trend that we'll be imitating ASAP: Enter negative space nails. That's right: Negative space isn't just used to affect architecture and interior design. It can also make for a memorable manicure. This is how to rock the trend.

In this case, negative is absolutely a positive

Lately, manicure-obsessed people are choosing to leave a section of their nails exposed. Not only does negative space highlight bold graphics, but it's also "totally doable without a gel manicure," makeup guru Alicia Yoon, of beauty brand Peach and Lily, explained to Byrdie.

A manicure with negative space is anything but basic. You can add jewels, glitter, and use whatever color you're loving at the moment. Try using a piece of tape on your nails to help with painting straight edges and keep the look more polished (via Ipsy).

READ MORE: How to make nail polish remover at home

Korean High Heel Nails Trend

Photo The List
Photo The List

This nail trend was first made popular at the Korean boutique Unistella, who also made wire nails popular (via PopSugar). But just what is the high heel nail? Here's what it looks like and how you can do it at home.

Nail trends come and go, but the Korean high heel nail trend is too classy to merely disappear after a short stint in the limelight. They're also easy to paint, so there's no reason not to try them at least once. According to PopSugar, high heel nails involve a single, thick stripe of nail polish down the middle of your nail that leaves negative space on both sides of it. This stripe represents the heel, and the color contrast between the stripe and the negative space is striking, beautiful, and elegant. The other way to do high heel nails is by using a block of negative space surrounded by color instead of the other way around.

If it sounds like these are easy to do, it's because they are! They can be done in just a few steps, per Joliecious. First, you apply a base of clear coat to your nails. Then, paint all of your nails a peachy tone as your base color. Third, use two strips of tape to block off the sides of your nail. Then, paint your stripe down the middle. A common color is navy blue, but any dark shade will look great. Remove the tape, and you're all set! You can do some accent fingers, too, with Joliecious recommending using your ring finger as a solid color.

Other South Korean Nail Trends

Diamond Nails

Now you can get blinged out without donning a single piece of jewelry (or 3D adhesive). Lee and Yoon both agree that diamond nails are currently the reigning trend. Created by Park, this is a more intense version of the viral shattered-glass nails, giving off a more holographic effect. The striking style is created "with chunks of a slightly different cellophane that reflect light like facets of a diamond," says Lee, resulting in a "delicate yet edgy" look.

Futuristic Nails

Photo Shtterstock
Photo Shutterstock

Nail art is always expanding into new spaces, surpassing even the nail itself. Lee predicts that moving forward, we'll be witnessing more and more decorative elements that go beyond the outline of the nail. This rendition, coined under the phrase "the futuristic nail," uses thin metal pieces to extend past the cuticle for a daring caged effect.

Cuticle Nails

More emphasis on the cuticle has been a trend for a while, but we can expect to continue to see craftier renditions. "Giving cuticles tiny metallic tabs, also known as 'nail shadows,' embellish cuticles versus [screaming] for attention with allover sparkle," observes Lee, continuing that cuticle nails are "best suited for short nails" and that the minimal approach "gives just the right amount of accent with almost zero drying time."

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