Jelly nail polish is a trend that both nail art minimalists and maximalists can get behind. Thanks to the name, you can probably gather that jelly nails have a clear, translucent and ultra-glossy finish that rivals jello. Jelly nail polish looks beautiful and complete on its own but is especially gorgeous and elaborate when used as a backdrop for hand-painted nail designs, glitter and 3D art.
Whether you decide on a jelly gel nail polish at the salon or simply mix your nail polish and top coat for a cost-effective DIY jelly manicure, this nail trend is worth trying when it’s time for your next manicure. Since deciding on a color — let alone a design — is hard enough, we’ve rounded up our favorite jelly nails on social media to share as inspiration.
1. Rainbow Jelly Tips With Water Droplets
Rainbow jelly French tips with 3D water droplets and a pointed stiletto shape make this manicure one that is bound to earn you compliments. Jelly nail polish has a translucent finish but if you don’t like seeing your natural nail under the polish, pair it with an opaque neutral base just like this French manicure.
2. Glitter Jelly Nails
Chunky glitter adds a sparkly pop to the glossy, see-through finish of jelly nail polish. Incorporate heart, star or butterfly-shaped glitter to add a playful design to your manicure with a light-catching finish.
3. Butterfly Jelly Nails
Let jelly nail polish take your nail art to the next level. This hand-painted mani serves as the perfect proof and the combination of the jelly base, the details of the butterfly’s wings and the rhinestones are a dream come true for any nail art maximalist.
4. Indie Jelly Nails
Instead of a uniform design or color on every nail, use jelly polish to add a different texture to your indie manicure. The jelly finish paired with chrome designs, 3D appliques, rhinestones and hand-painted art is just another way to diversify your manicure.
5. Jelly Aura Nails
Aura nails are one of this season’s hottest nail trends thanks to social media. They use airbrush color to mimic the abstract, whimsical energy of aura readings. The end result displays a completely personalized design of gradient color and when paired with a jelly background, it makes the gorgeous, expressive art stand out even more.
6. Colorblock Jelly Nails
For a colorblock design that isn’t going to require hours at the salon, settle for a contrasting shade of jelly nail polish on each hand. Shades like green and blue or pink and purple are complementary tones that feel lively and playful. Plus, if you have a hard time deciding on a color, this manicure is the perfect way to wear two shades at once.
7. Monochrome Jelly Nail Polish
If you prefer a minimal manicure over intricate designs, jelly nail polish is a great way to add a pop of color to your manicure without the opacity and intensity of traditional nail polish. Pick a shade of light pink if you want a natural-looking manicure that won’t show outgrowth or go for a fiery shade of red to give your manicure a strawberry jello-inspired makeover.
If you don’t like to see your natural nails under your polish, choose a darker shade like navy blue or dark green.
8. Jelly Seashell Nails
Seashell nails have sculpted, 3D ridges, just like a shell and jelly nail polish does an excellent job at bringing out the oceanic design. Add some iridescent glitter and rhinestones to the mix for the ultimate mermaid-inspired mani.
9. Encapsulated Jelly Nail Art
Encapsulated nail art allows you to embed a charm like a sequin or flower petal into your nail design with the help of acrylic. This type of nail art is especially gorgeous with a jelly base because it allows you to see all the intricate details of your manicure.
10. Rainbow Jelly Nails
Rainbow, jelly nail polish makes your manicured nails look like a hard candy treat. The translucent finish is bright but, dare we say it — makes the kaleidoscope of colors a bit more wearable. Whether it’s acrylic nails or gel extensions, we recommend rocking longer lengths with this design to let it really shine.
11. Watercolor Jelly Nails
Watercolor designs pair really well with jelly nail polish because the two textures have a natural wet and glossy appearance to them. In shades of blue, white and silver, your jelly nails can rival the myriad of colors that make up the ocean’s waves.
12. Monochrome Jelly French Tips
A monochrome jelly French manicure features colorful French tips with traditional polish and a jelly, matching base color. In shades like pink or purple, it’s a modern upgrade for the classic, white and light pink French tips and it’s a great way to refresh your manicure with color.
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Visual Designer: Sarah Duvivier, Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Prop Stylist: Catherine Pearson, Prop Assistant: Lindsay Jones
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