The Biggest Nail Trends for 2022

The global nail polish and manicure market is a big business. Despite disruptions during the pandemic, the global nail polish market is expected to reach $15.2 billion in 2022 and will grow at an annual growth rate of 6.8% from 2022 to 2030 to reach $25.8 billion by 2030.

Retail signals from the early half of 2022 prove the potential of this often overlooked sector. April 2020 (18%) saw the nail category’s highest sold-out rates since May 2021 (27%). Nail product counts are up 3% from one year ago and 23% from two years ago. In addition, in the recently sold out chart (last 30 days), we see retailers including Urban Outfitters, Ulta, Nordstrom, Revolve, Bloomingdales, and Saks, have sold 20%+ of their nail assortment.

Pandemic lifestyle shifts and the demand for new at-home routines served as a catalyst for innovation in a market that has been slow to evolve. In 2021 and 2020, we saw new products backed by unexpected celebrities and healthier, better-for-you formulas that reflect consumers’ desire for safe, non-toxic products.

Here, we break down four trends influencing the nail industry in 2022 and beyond.

Lockdown and the subsequent shutdown of salons forced people to do their nails at home, not just out of habit but to help maintain a sense of self-care. Over the past two-plus years, nail health has become a top priority, and brands responded with easy-to-apply and healthier-for-you solutions.

The introduction of nail polish with natural, non-toxic ingredients and few, if any, chemical content is expected to bolster the demand for nail polish. In August 2021, OPI, one of the leading players in the market, launched natural, non-GMO, and vegan nail polish. Most recently, Sally Hansen introduced a line of vegan nail polish formulated with ingredients like bamboo and red marine algae.

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The desire for strong, healthy nails is driving the demand for supplements. Searches for “healthy hair and nails vitamins” are +109% from LY. A new wellness brand, Blueshift, goes beyond traditional supplements and powders to support hair, skin, and nails with customizable drinkable supplements.

According to Statista, approximately 100 million women in the US paint their nails at least once a month. As lockdown forced unfamiliar consumers to enter the home nail space

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, brands pivoted to provide educational material and tech-led tools for a more seamless experience.

Sally Hansen and Essie introduced virtual try-on tools that help find the perfect nail polish shade in an augmented reality environment. Glaize created made-to-measure gel manicures for application at home. Users take four photos of their hands for a program to craft a 3D model of their nails.

With over $10 million in seed funding, Nimble, the world’s first self-painting at-home device, has exceeded its Kickstarter goal by 50%. The device employs an array of tiny high-res cameras and a heated airflow system to paint and dry nails in 10 minutes per hand. 13-free, vegan, non-toxic color capsules are available in 30+ colors and can be purchased directly through Nimble.com or its dedicated app. The device retails for $249.

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Demand for nail products and services still lags behind 2019 levels; however, nail art has proven to be a bright spot in the category. The nail art hashtag on TikTok has generated 23.1 billion views, and the looks posted are unmatched by what we’ve previously seen on our social media feeds.

As consumers start to pay attention to their nails again, they embrace vibrant color and creative nail art as an extension of fashion (think: vibrant swirls, negative space, smiley faces icons, and rhinestone embellishments). According to Pinterest, “yellow” and “green” are exhibiting huge search volume increases, +277% and +87%, respectively.

Brands should explore educational material and easy-to-apply solutions to help consumers get salon-worthy nail art from home to capitalize on the trend.

Today, we’re seeing a spike in men wearing nail polish and a rise in brands created by celebrity men. In April 2021, Machine Gun Kelly revealed that he was working on his nail-polish brand, Un/Dn Laqr. Later that year, Harry Styles and Tyler the Creator announced their nail polish lines, and TikTok star LilHuddy launched a nail sticker collaboration with beauty brand Glamnetic.

Online retailer LookFantastic reported a 457% rise in searches for “male manicures,” as well as a 3,329% rise in searches for “easy male nail art.” As the genderless nail scene continues to grow, the global nail polish market will become an $18 billion opportunity by 2027.

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