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Remember jelly sandals and bracelets from the 90s? I sure do and was a huge fan of this fun and colorful trend when I was a kid. Bringing back the nostalgia of the 90s and Y2K era which has been big on TikTok lately is the jelly nails trend. Many TikTok creators have been sharing how easy it is to create your own at home jelly manicure using clear polish mixed with colored polish.
While the popularity of jelly nails has been present over the last few years, this nail trend has expanded with all types of nail variations including 3D jelly nails, glitter jelly nails, jelly nails with rhinestones, floral jelly nails and more. Keep reading to learn the different ways to create this latest trend at home or what to ask for at the nail salon.
What Are Jelly Nails?
Jelly nails are typically created with a sheer wash of color that leaves the nails shiny with transparent colors. The end result is something that looks similar to stained glass. While you can go to the salon and have a nail tech create this nail style using a crystal-clear set of gel extensions or clear tips, you can also recreate the style on natural nails at home.
How Do I Get Jelly Nails?
It’s actually quite easy to make your own jelly polish at home to create this trendy home mani with just a few supplies and five simple steps.
- Prep your nails. Soak nails in warm water, push back cuticles and shape nails. Apply a thin base coat.
- Create a jelly mixture. Start with a 1:1 ratio of clear polish or top coat and mix it with the color of your choice. If your color is too pigmented you might need to add more clear polish to your mixture.
- Apply a first coat of your polish mixture to your nails and let it dry. Most likely you’ll then want to apply a second coat of the polish to give a jelly-like look.
- Use a brush dipped in nail polish remover to clean up any polish on your skin and cuticles.
- Apply a layer of top coat.
How to Do Jelly Nails Using Gel Polish
Create this trendy nail look using gel polish and a UV lamp. While this can be more easily done at a nail salon using the salon’s selection of jelly polishes, with a little practice you can create your own gel nails at home.
- Prep your nails. Trim or file nails to desired shape and length. Push back cuticles and buff your nails. Use alcohol to remove any excess dust.
- Mix your desired gel color and topcoat together. Start by mixing just a small amount of gel color. It’s easiest to pick a color that’s not too pigmented and already a bit transparent.
- Apply the gel mixture directly to the nail and cure. Make sure the color is applied evenly and don’t press down too hard on the brush to help avoid lines and steaks.
- Seal with a top coat and cure.
Jelly Nails Polishes You Can Buy
If you don’t want to make your own jelly polish there is a variety of jelly polishes you can buy in a wide range of colors.
Cirque Colors has a great line of sheer jelly collection of polishes. With fun colors like peach jelly, citron jelly, and morningtide, this line of jellies is great for natural or artificial nail surfaces to create a transparent finish.
Butter LONDON Jelly Preserve Strengthening Treatment comes in juicy colors: strawberry rhubarb jelly, plum, apple and orange marmalade. This jelly polish not only creates a transparent finish but it also nourishes, strengthens and rejuvenates dry and brittle nails.
Popular Jelly Nail Designs
Neon jelly nails provide a great background for additional art. Add clouds and some large glitter flakes on top of the neon nail polish to create neon-jelly skies.
Jelly nails don’t just have to be bolder transparent colors. They also look great in pastel nail polish colors as well. You can even add some sparkles to give a look that is reminiscent of jelly bracelets that were popular in the 90s.
3D Jelly Nails
Gaining in popularity, 3D nails are achieved by layering on sheer gel polishes. Adding the layered 3D art on nail extensions creates an even more dramatic look for these juicy nails.
Jelly Nails with Gems and Crystals
On their own, jelly nails have a unique style, but add some gems and crystals and now you have mini pieces of art.
Starting with a clear jelly base is a perfect palette for simple colored designs that stand out against the crystal clear background.
Pink Jelly Nails
For a whimsical take on the jelly nail trend, start with a sparkly pink background and add colorful hand painted designs on top for rainbow nails.
Lava Lamp Nails
A popular nail trend that’s been popping up lately are lava lamp nails. Lava nails often have a clear base with jelly colors added on top as fun lava blobs.
Jelly Marble Nails in Jewel Tones
Mixing together multiple jelly colors on a nail will give you a jelly marble effect. With a selection of jewel toned polishes you can create a beautiful ombre effect on your nails by changing up the colors on each nail.
Turn your nails into a colorful fruit-salad look using juicy polishes and polymer clay slices. These nails are perfect bright nails for summer.
Start with a clear base and add a thin layer of color to the tips for jellies that would be perfect for Sunday brunch.
Blue Jelly Nails with Clouds
Sparkles or Glitter
Add a touch of glitter to your jelly colors to create beautiful nails that have a translucent sparkle.