Blush Nails Bring the "Cold Girl" Makeup Trend to Your Mani

And they're so easy to DIY.

Blush Nails


“I’m blushing!” This time, the phrase is nothing to be embarrassed about. We’re talking blush nails, the charming yet minimalist look to come out of Korea.

“The blush nails trend mimics a facial blush, generally covering the middle of the nail bed with a rosy pink or magenta hue,” explains Jin Soon Choi, founder of the JINsoon nail polish line and the JINsoon nail spas in New York City. “Much like the glazed donut nail trend, blush nails subtly give a healthy, glowing look to your nails. I believe that it started in Korea, where the natural, youthful makeup look, highlighted with blush, was transferred to the nails.”

Winter is the perfect time to sport the blush nail trend. “It's a nude, yet blushing nail art look where the nails are polished sheer, but a radial ombré of soft pink blush sits delicately in the middle of each nail, like they just walked in from the cold,” says Rita Remark, essie Global Lead Educator. “I think it's nail art's answer to the ‘cold girl’ makeup trend that emphasizes lots of rouge on your cheeks and nose to look flushed and cold.” She also sees blush nails as a cute new translation of the aura ombré that was trending this summer. 

The Trend

For those who want to play with nail art but are looking for a more subtle entry, blush nails are ideal. “I love the less is more aspect of the look,” says essie Celebrity Manicurist Stephanie Stone. “It’s sure to catch someone’s eye without being over the top. It almost looks like a pink aura glowing in the middle of your nails.”  

Just when you thought ombré nails couldn’t be reimagined yet again, blush nails manage to do so with a fresh twist, namely a sheer neutral nail with a pink ombré blending from the center of the nail. “I think whenever something is new and unique it catches on like wildfire,” Stone says. “We haven’t seen nails quite like this before and so I think everyone is excited to give it a try. We’ve seen a lot of ombrés starting from the tip or base of the nail but not so much in this glowing orb form. It’s also a more adventurous take on the ‘supermodel nail’ trend which has been a huge hit lately.”  

Plus, when else do you actually get to wear makeup on your nails? “I like this look because it is such an effortless form of nail art and you actually use makeup on your nails,” Choi says. “I also like the apparent three-dimensionality of it; it has a similar appeal to me as the aura nail effect. It also imparts a convexity to the nail surface, further enhancing the nail's healthy appearance.”

Get the Look

There are two ways to get blush nails: with actual blush or using nail polish. Here’s how to do both:

Using blush:

Step 1: Find the right shade. “The key to achieving this look is actually using a powder blush—so you can use the same one you use for your actual cheeks to get the look on your nails too,” Stone says. “Scrape a little out of the blush pot onto a piece of foil to avoid getting polish cross contaminated with the majority of your product.”

Step 2: Apply base coat and allow it to dry.

Step 3: “Apply one coat of JINsoon Pixie ($18) and allow it to dry,” Choi advises.

Step 4: Dab your finger into the blush to pick up a small amount of the pigment.

Step 5: “Rub your finger onto the center of your nail in a circular motion, with the heaviest concentration of blush in the middle of the nail bed, then feather out from the center for a subtle fade,” Choi says.

Step 6: Apply top coat.

Using nail polish:

Step 1: Get the perfect shade by matching your polish to your favorite blush, suggests Remark. “Colors like Essie Slumber Party On ($8), Flying Solo ($10) or Angora Cardi ($10) are great options for different skin tones,” she says. “Just make sure the polish you choose is a cream texture, not metallic or glitter.”

Step 2: Start by polishing a coat of your favorite pink-based sheer. "Fairy Tailor ($13) or Sheer Fantasy ($13) are great options,” Remark suggests. “Next, polish a circle of your chosen blush shade onto a cosmetic wedge and lightly stamp the sponge onto the nail a few times to apply the blush and diffuse the edges. Repeat if more pigment is desired. Finish with shiny topcoat, like Gel Setter ($10), or apply another super thin coat of your original sheer base to further blend the blush.”

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