“Moonlight” Nails Are Equal Parts Ethereal and Trendy

“Moonlight” Nails Are Equal Parts Ethereal and Trendy

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The line between the nail and fine-art worlds continues to get thinner by the day. From manicures inspired by James Turrell to hand-painted nail-art trends that could impress even the most prolific Renaissance artist, it’s been proven time and again that your hands can act as a canvas for some incredibly eye-catching works of art. If you’re looking for a new design to turn heads, the latest trend is the “moonlight” manicure.

The look in question quite literally looks like the reflection of moonlight off of a body of water, merging together two existing popular trends. “Moonlight nails are a fusion of magnetic cat eye and jelly nails,” Mazz Hanna, CEO of Nailing Hollywood, tells POPSUGAR. The moonlight reference comes from the shimmering properties of the magnetic polish, which create the ethereal effect that’s become exceedingly popular over the last few weeks.

Ahead, Hanna explains how you can get moonlight nails and provides us with some fun nail-art inspiration.

What Are Moonlight Nails?

Moonlight nails have the finish of a traditional cat-eye nail but are much more transparent. “They’re trending because it’s such an eye-catching manicure,” Hanna says. “There’s something about them that keeps you staring at your nails all day. That shimmer, sparkle, and color shift – it’s all just so beautiful.”

To get a moonlight manicure at home, pair a magnetic polish with a jelly formula of your choice. “After you have prepped your nails and applied your base coat, apply one thin coat of the magnetic polish and do not cure it,” Hanna says. (Keep in mind that you want the velvet polish to be a bit more sheer, so the fewer coats that you can use to achieve the look, the better.) “While the gel is still wet, sweep a magnet in a circular motion around the edge of your nail and you will see the magnetic particles in the polish move,” she adds. After you create a pattern that you like, you can cure the nail. Then, to get the moonlight effect, add one or two thin coats of your jelly polish on top. Hanna recommends products like Gelcare’s Oyster Velvet ($22) as a base underneath a warm-toned jelly polish. To ensure the finish is transparent, you’ll want to apply a very thin layer.

Though moonlight manicures make for a great design alone, they also act as the perfect base for nail art and 3D charms. Need some inspiration? We went ahead and rounded up some of the best moonlight nails that we could find. Read ahead to find a few to add to your mood board.

Main ImageMain ImageGelcare's Oyster VelvetFrom$22$22 at lemanoir.com

Emerald Moonlight Nails

The color green is super popular for 2024. Let this emerald moonlight manicure be the envy of all your friends.

Short Moonlight Nails

One of the best things about moonlight manicures is that they allow for creativity. This set features a neutral-toned champagne color palette with a thin french tip design along the edge.

White Moonlight Nails

In your bridal era? These white moonlight nails will make the perfect addition to your look for the big day.

Pink Moonlight Nails

“Barbie” pink is forever, so why not tailor your moonlight nails accordingly? The cat-eye effect pops even more against the rose-colored base shade.

Ariel Baker is the assistant editor for POPSUGAR Beauty. Her areas of expertise include celebrity news, beauty trends, and product reviews. She has additional bylines with Essence and Forbes Vetted.


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