People are rocking the psychedelic pattern all over social media.

By Rachel Wermager
March 10, 2020

Whether you wore it in the '70s, the '90s, tie-dye is a pattern that continues to make appearances in fashion. This time it’s made its way to your manicure with vibrant and playful tie-dye nail designs. Searches for tie-dye nails are up almost 150% on Pinterest, and a quick hashtag search on Instagram will show a little over 17,000 posts under #tiedyenails.

Sarah Gibson Tuttle, founder and CEO of the nail polish company Olive & June, says the multi-colored look is becoming popular because each person can make it one-of-a-kind. "Tie-dye is not only nostalgic, but every manicure is unique, so you get your own special custom look," she says. "People have so much fun experimenting with their nails, and not having to choose just one color is perfect when you can't figure out what color your nails should be."

As someone who goes to the salon every four weeks like clockwork to get my nails done, searching for a new color or design on Pinterest is half the fun. Seeing old trends and patterns (like tie-dye and the recently very popular tortoiseshell) reimagined into nail art opens the doors for tons of new ways to express personal style through my manicure. And while solid colors can be a timeless go-to, unique designs can be eye-catching and warrant compliments from friends and even the lady next to you on the stair-stepper at the gym (who raved about my hot pink ombre nails I had for Valentine's Day).

You can quiet the psychedelic pattern down a bit by using pastel colors for spring or go all out and bold with bright hues that’ll stand out in the summer. Create the pattern on every nail, or pair it with a few solid-colored polishes for groovy accent nails. Some manicurists are even doing tie-dye tips that only cover half the nail (similarly to the partial coverage of French tips) for a more subtle effect versus having the whole nail covered in the design.   

As soon as I leave the nail salon, I’m often contemplating what I’ll have done the next time I visit, and I already think a funky pastel tie-dye pattern will be ideal for Easter. The brightly colored manicure trend has also come at the right time to transition into spring and summer shades, and to retire the warm, dark polishes from fall and winter.

How to Paint Tye-Die Nails at Home

If you're someone who loves to do their manicures at home, this trend might be a little tricky, and you'll need a few supplies, including at least three polish colors, clear tape, a small bowl of water, and toothpicks. Tuttle gave me a few quick steps for DIY tie-dye nails:

  • Paint your nails a solid color for the base and let that dry.
  • Then, you'll want to place that clear tape around the nail, so the polish doesn't get into your skin.
  • Take the remaining polishes you've picked out and add a few drops of each into the center of your bowl of water, and create the swirl tie-dye pattern by drawing lines through the polishes with a toothpick.
  • Once all that hard work is done, you simply dip your nail into the center of the color swirl, making sure the nail is completely covered before you pull it out.

Although it's doable at home, it might be a little easier to head into the nail salon and have a professional create this look for you. "I'd recommend bringing a couple of inspiration photos with you so your manicurist has a visual example of exactly what you'd like to recreate," Tuttle says.

Related: Almond Nails Are the Trend You Should Ask Your Manicurist About

Whether you wish the pattern would stay in the past or are loving the feeling of nostalgia and youth it brings, tie-dye seems like it’ll stick around in some form. As a manicure, it’s a vibrant and playful way to use the psychedelic design, and if the searches for it on Pinterest are any indication, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of it on nails all spring and summer long.  

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