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One of fashion's breakaway trends this year had nothing to do with clothing. What—and who—you were wearing on your fingertips became just as important as what you were wearing everywhere else. From high fashion to low maintenance, Prada to, er, Facebook, it seems this was the year we were willing to try anything manicure-wise. Here, we present the ten best nail moments of 2011. Enjoy. Sticky Situations
Stick-on nails aren’t for kids anymore. The look got a huge upgrade in 2011, as beauty retailers caught on to the fact that gals might want to experiment with nail art, but hesitate to buy tons of polishes or attempt complicated details at home. Sally Hansen reported that they sold more of their Real Effects stick-ons this year than they did of actual polish.
Snap, Crackle, Pop
This year, OPI’s highest selling nail polish came as absolutely no surprise: their black “crackle” polish. Though the crackle polish now comes in a full range of colors, the original black topcoat was a huge seller from the moment it was released, giving everyone’s manicure a quick but edgy update.
Half moon manicures were a runway trend (Vena Cava, Thakoon) that went mainstream in 2011. A glam twist on the French manicure, this look required two contrasting light and dark colors, plus enough patience and skill to get the bottom color in a curve shape, just so. Because of the challenging nature of this mani, press-on and stick-on half-moon options were a popular seller this year.
Acrylics are sooo early 2000s. Now, those who want longer-lasting and easier to maintain manicures get gels. Unlike acrylics, they don’t smell of ammonia. The downside? They’re more difficult to get off than regular polish, so a professional will have to help.
In 2011, women who wanted cool patterns and designs but didn’t have a gift for at-home nail art discovered a high-tech beauty advancement: magnetic nail polish. The polish looks normal in the bottle, but the bottle top contains a small magnet. Once you’ve applied the polish, hold the cap above your nails and watch the polish start to move and create cool patterns.
Not all new nail looks this year had to do with the actual polish. Thanks to Lady Gaga and other beauty risk-takers, pointy—even dagger-like—nail shapes became the coolest way to rock a manicure. Even the most traditional beige polish looks badass on a set of these fierce nails.
Shades of Gray
This year, grays were the new neutrals. For ladies who weren’t able to get away with outrageous nail colors at the office, gray and greige tones—more interesting than nudes but still sophisticated—were a go-to. Dior’s top-selling polish of 2011 was Gris Montaigne, a pearlized gray hue.
Who says print is dead? This summer, newsprint nails became a popular look and the subject of many a DIY YouTube video. By applying pieces of actual newsprint, a new manicure was born. Just be careful that your hands don’t start to look like ransom notes.
Metallics remained a big trend in 2011 in part because the range of colors expanded beyond just gold and silver. Colors like Chanel’s greenish-gold Peridot and Essie’s blackish-blue Dive Bar kept metallic fresh and interesting.
Forget about star-branded fragrances: this year, celebrities were everywhere in the nail art world. OPI collaborated with Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, Deborah Lippmann worked with Lady Gaga, and China Glaze teamed up with The Hunger Games. Even Miss Piggy got her very own lacquer—begging the question, did nail art peak in 2011? Only 2012 will tell.