2020 was rough, but it gave us a few things we’re not mad about, like working in our pyjamas, snacks within reach all day long and the opportunity to learn how to do pretty much everything at home – from baking bread to dying our own hair to doing our own manicures. As regular visits to the nail salon were not a possibility (at least during the first months of quarantine life), people had to literally take nail maintenance and aesthetics into their own hands. This phenomenon changed the game for nail brands, as people suddenly found themselves in need of not just polish but also the tools to make their dream nails happen at home. The nail-care market grew exponentially in 2020, with some brands seeing up to a 2,000 per cent increase in their e-commerce sales. That’s not just nail polish, but tools, accessories and complete manicure kits to get the salon experience and results at home. Beauty salons shut? How to give yourself an at-home facial So what does the nail market look like in 2021? As cities around the world start to reopen after months of lockdown , some people will go back to their favourite salons and let the professionals take care of them. Others, who have found joy in taking care of their own nails, will not. As a consequence, this year’s nail trends are not only about designs and colours but also about formats, textures, formulas, accessories and nail care. Magnetic polish This kind of polish is relatively new to the game but it’s here to stay. It carries tiny metallic particles in its formula, which you activate with an actual magnet (usually attached to the cap of your polish) to give your nails a textured, galaxy-like, cat’s-eye effect. All you do is hold the magnet over the wet nail polish and you’ll see the little metal pieces rise towards it, which will result in a wavy, glassy three-dimensional design. Reusable pop-on nails Move over, press-on nails, you’ve got competition. At first glace, pop-on nails look pretty much the same as press-ons, but the former are paired with a glue formulation that bonds like an acrylic and dissolves as you wear it, leaving no residue nor damage behind. You can, depending on how much glue you use, decide how long you want them to stay on. The best part? You can remove them, customise them and save them to be used again. Cuticle and nail care A good salon-worthy manicure can only be achieved if your nails are healthy and well maintained, and it all starts with cuticle and nail care. Nail files, clippers, cuticle cutters and pushers, hand salves and cuticle oils are all part of the at-home mani experience, and (no matter if you’re planning on going full nail-art mode or keeping your nails natural) a grooming kit with the essentials is vital. Nail-art stickers Some people seem born to create nail art , but if your hands are not steady enough there’s a way to get artsy without having to pick a brush. Nail stickers are incredibly easy to use and come in a huge variety of colours, themes and prints, providing you with the chance to get creative, however and whenever you want, for a professional, mess-free finish. At-home gels There was a time when treating yourself to an at-home gel manicure didn’t seem wise, but there are so many home kits available now that it doesn’t seem like a crazy idea any more. It will be a bit of an investment to begin with, but you’re covered for hundreds of manicures once you have the tools, and it’ll work out cheaper. View this post on Instagram A post shared by TIPS NAIL BAR® + Beauty (@tipsnailbar) View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nargis Khan | Tips Nail Bar (@nailsfromnars) Minimal graphics Eyeliner went graphic in 2020, and the trend continues with our nails in 2021. People have been finding ways to step up their DIY nail game, and minimal graphics (think waves, zigzags, geometric shapes, a splash of colour, lines and polka dots) seem to be the beginner-friendly answer that we’ll see all over our social media feeds this year. Sustainable polish Clean beauty doesn’t stop where your face ends – many nail polishes are loaded with chemicals that (in some cases) can be harmful for humans and the environment. They are usually packed in bottles that are really hard to recycle, too. Thankfully, the non-toxic, environmentally friendly polish market is now bigger than ever, and 2021 seems to be the year it will reign the mani world. View this post on Instagram A post shared by 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐧𝐞𝐲 | 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐚𝐢𝐥 𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐛𝐚𝐛𝐞 (@thenailartbabe) View this post on Instagram A post shared by 𝙇𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙮 🕊 (@nailsandlashesbylilly) New era French manicure Take a classic, but make it 2021 – yeah, French manicures are not new, but who said classics can’t get reinvented? People are trying every single mix you can imagine on social media, from ombre tips to glitter/matt combos and neon contrast to monochromatic graphics. There are truly no limits when getting creative with your French-mani artwork.