Nailed It – Just the Numbers
Driven by the pandemic and lockdown, nail care sales surged as consumers used their time for self-care. According to the NPD Group, prestige nail care grew 29% in the second quarter of 2020 and gained $1 million in sales during the lockdown. Mass nail polish sales grew 37.5% year-over-year for the first half of 2020 with a 140% rise in online sales, according to Nielsen. During that period, grocery nail care sales jumped 34.3%. The latest nail care activity is being driven by male celebrity nail polish lines, vegan formulas, and new technology.
Nail Art Is Going Strong
Pinterest’s Predicts 2022 Report identified Nailscapes as a trend with a focus on nail art landscape-style designs trending, which are especially popular among Millennials.
Trending search terms:
- Galaxy nail art +115%
- Aurora nails +4x
- Ocean nails acrylic +5x
- Desert nails +105%
- Geode nail art +2x
Similarly, according to Yelp’s 2022 Beauty Trend Forecast Report, nail art was up 75% with intricate designs while almond shaped nails rose 146%.
Men In The Spotlight
Men are in the beauty game and the newest innovation in the men’s market is nail polish. Male celebrities are innovating with new nail polish lines designed to be gender neutral. US rapper and actor Machine Gun Kelly is known for his long nails and intricate nail designs. It is fitting that Machine Gun Kelly debuted UNDN LAQR, his own nail varnish brand. The range includes ten single colors and two top coats in matte and gloss. The colors have kitschy names such as Bad Tendencies (pastel blue), Depressionist (Sharpie black), Party Favor (pink), and Mary Jane (bright green). Singer, songwriter and actor Harry Styles introduced Pleasing “a [new] life brand that moves to wherever there’s something Pleasing to be found. Pleasing’s mission is to bring joyful experiences and products that excite the senses and blur the boundaries.” Perfect Pearl is the brand’s first collection that features four nail polishes as well as a Pearlescent Illuminating Serum and the Pleasing Pen, which is a dual-ended eye serum and matte lip oil. The Perfect Polish Set offers Granny’s Pink Pearls (pearlescent pink with a glossy finish), Inky Pearl (pearlescent black with a deep blue radiance and glossy finish), Pearly Tops (clear with a subtle iridescence and a matte finish), and Perfect Pearl (pearlized white with a glossy finish) as well as three sets of alphabet decals to customize your look. The products are vegan, cruelty-free, and made without parabens. Rapper and innovator, Tyler, the Creator dropped French Waltz fragrance and three Golf Le Fleur* nail polishes. The nail polishes come in Geneva Blue, Georgia Peach, and Glitter colors that are housed in a glass bottle with the brand’s patented Fleur* cap and adorned with an illustration of an angel doodle. The products are 13-free, non-toxic, and cruelty-free.
Vegan Nail Polishes
Innovation is a key driver in new product development. Nail care is no exception. Consumers’ interest in better-for-you and vegan nail polishes have led manufacturers to formulate cleaner, plant-based, vegan nail formulas. OPI launched Nature Strong by OPI, which offers a natural origin formula that has plant-based ingredients derived from sugar cane, manioc, wheat, potatoes, and corn and provides up to 75% natural origin color and 65% natural origin top coat. Approved by the Vegan Society and inspired by nature, the line includes 30 shades that are “long-lasting, highly pigmented color with a high shine finish that stays on for up to seven days without fading.” The colors and names play on nature’s elements such as Knowledge is Flower (dusty rose), Shore Is Something! (cobalt blue) and Simply Radishing (radiant pink). The bottle and cap are made from 20% post-consumer recycled materials. Nailtopia produces vegan plant-based, bio-sourced nail lacquers that are infused with orange, spinach, raspberry, and blueberry extracts. This summer the brand unveiled 22 new shades available at Ulta.com and select Ulta stores. The W Nail Bar is a family- and woman-owned company based in Columbus, Ohio that operates full-service all-natural nail bars using gluten-free, vegan, and 10-free nail polish. Hy-Vee has teamed up with The W Nail Bar to open several in-store nail salons inside select Hy-Vee locations across the company’s eight-state market.
Los Angeles-based fashion and lifestyle Influencer Julie Sariñana has dropped Color Dept., a sustainable, plant-based, 100% vegan and cruelty-free certified nail polish line. Dept. 1 collection includes Strawberry Jam (pink), Grape Soda (purple), Hydrated (blue), Morning Squeeze (orange), Kiwi Juice (light green), Avo Guac (dark green), and Coconut Water (white) as well as a clear Top Coat. Arts and crafts YouTuber Moriah Elizabeth has teamed up with beauty incubator Slate to launch ME Nails. Based on Elizabeth’s favorite pastel rainbow colors, the line consists of six fun colors with names such as Cotton Candy, Crisp Cantaloupe, and Key Lime Cream. The products are non-toxic, cruelty-free, vegan, and gluten-free.
New applications such as custom stick on nails, water-based peelable formulas and unique packaging driven by technology are fueling nail care innovation. ManiMe is a startup high-tech custom stick-on nails brand that launched in the last quarter of 2019. The brand uses machine learning to produce a unique 3D model of each of your nails, then laser cuts gels to create a perfectly tailored stick-on nail. Users peel off the sticker, press it onto their nails, and then file any excess. Each manicure is meant to last two weeks and to remove, users peel off the sticker. ManiMe has been collaborating with a variety of brands to create unique collections. The latest partnership is with Mr. Coffee by Sunbeam Products, Inc. to create a custom line of coffee-inspired gel nails. The ManiMe x Mr. Coffee Capsule Collection features three unique designs. The Caffeinated Confetti “overlays layers of sparkles over a latte-colored base with a pearlescent shine” and First Sip “mimics the moment you pour milk or creamer over freshly brewed coffee, set on a nude base coat, a new twist on a classic French manicure.” The Lavender Latte “seamlessly blends shades of lavender and icy blue to create a colorful yet subtle ombre tone.” Swedish supermodel Elsa Hosk partnered with Beaubble, a community-driven beauty brand, to design a capsule line of cruelty-free and vegan watercolor nail polishes. The Beaubble x Elsa Hosk Peelable Nail Polish comes in two palettes: The Sorbet Palette and The Garden Palette. The Sorbet Palette includes Grace-Kelly In To Catch A Thief (pink), New York Sunset (coral), and Enjoying A Sweet Treat (clementine) and the Garden Palette contains Matcha Latte (green), Los Angeles Sunset (periwinkle), and Matisse blue. The non-toxic formula is 60% water-based, dries within 2-3 minutes, and can be removed by peeling it off like a sticker. LBK Nails is a vegan-friendly 7-free nail polish brand known for its unique, patented flip-top lid. Consumers use the flip-top lid to overlay the color on their fingernails to see what the color would look like. Under the new Holiday Collection LBK Nails released six celebratory shades. San Francisco-based nail tech startup launched Clockwork, a nail-painting robot that gives manicures in 10 minutes from start to finish. This fall, Clockwork debuted its first East coast location at 30 Rockefeller Center joining the building’s Zo Lounge for employee wellness, beauty and lifestyle amenities. The robot-engineered manicure is still in beta-testing and only offers ten curated shades from China Glaze, Essie, and OPI.
Notable New Launches
Hermès has joined the fray and introduced Les Mains Hermès collection that features 24 colorful enamels, a base coat, a top coat, reparative hand cream, nourishing cuticle oil, and a set of 12 nail files made from poplar wood sourced from sustainably managed forests. The nail enamel collection is named after Hermès historic home address at 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré and the colors are inspired by the brand’s iconic enamel bracelets. Orange Bôite is the brand’s signature and iconic orange box color. The nail enamels are made in France and the formula contains at least 71% of natural origin ingredients. Gucci has partnered with Billie Eilish on an exclusive limited-edition box designed by Alessandro Michele that features a one-of-a-kind version of Billie Eilish’s latest Happier Than Ever album on vinyl alongside new Gucci Nail Stickers. The Gucci Nail Stickers “celebrate the house’s GG emblems seen on the monogram and lettering” and are only available in 10 Gucci boutiques worldwide.
Nail care activity is booming with innovation. Expect more male celebrity nail polish lines, vegan formulas, and unique applications driven by technology.