Within the trend incubator that is TikTok, popular styles that have technically been around for decades are experiencing second lives. Jelly nails from the ’90s is the latest trend to get a serious revamp as of late—and it also happens to be absolutely perfect for summer.
For the unfamiliar, jelly nails are created through a sheer wash of color that acts almost like a shiny lip gloss for your nails. It’s an ideal style that complements any plans or outfits, whether that includes a sweltering afternoon spent lounging on the beach or Sunday brunch. And despite being a trend based in nostalgia, the look feels fresh and new—maybe because it works well with the latest cool-girl aesthetic of the clean look, which relies on the luxury of simplicity. Best of all: Jelly nails are much easier to achieve than most other popular nail trends of today.
Naturally, beauty brands have begun to pick up on the popularity of jelly nails. Cirque Colors, a women-owned and cruelty-free cosmetics company, has a jelly collection that promises to leave you with “stained-glass” nails and includes pastel fruit shades like Peach Jelly, Berry Jelly, and Citron Jelly as well as unique colors like a sheer cornflower blue called Morningtide.
“I personally love jelly finishes,” says Cirque founder Annie Pham. “I initially created them as prebundled nail-art sets in which no extra tools were needed to create the look. I noticed how our customers used them in unique ways that were different from what we had marketed them as, so I decided to launch a line of jellies in a wider range of colors.”
You could also use Butter London’s Jelly Preserve Strengthening Treatments. The sheer, juicy polishes come in shades like Strawberry Rhubarb Jelly and Orange Marmalade and are infused with nourishing ingredients such as argan oil, calcium, and acai berry. ILNP also has a line of jellies with several glitter and holographic options for those who wish to embrace a more Y2K-inspired aesthetic.
If you plan on giving yourself an at-home mani, a double coat of jelly polish looks fabulous swept over a crystal-clear set of gel extensions. However, the trend is also a great way to give your natural nails a bit of a rest after removing acrylic tips or gel polish. Another way to get jelly nails at home is by concocting your own sheer polish. The TikTok video below is just one of many that instruct viewers on how to easily do it:
In short, grab a new bottle of your favorite clear polish as well as a (preferably) highly pigmented color of polish. Remove the top of your clear polish and set aside, then position the brush of your pigmented polish over the top of your clear polish bottle; add a sizable drop of color into the clear bottle. Shake it up, and voila, you’ve got your own jelly polish. You can also play around with how sheer or opaque you want the color to be, but I recommend adding color in small increments because you won’t be able to remove the pigmented polish once it is combined.
If you’d rather head to the salon, ask your nail technician for “crystal” or clear tips, which are key to the jelly nail look. You can get them any length you want, but keep them long enough to clearly see the demarcation between the nail tip and your nail bed for the best effect. You can also ask specifically for the salon’s selection of jelly nail polishes before sitting down in the chair; if they don’t have any available, inquire as to whether they’d be able to mix clear polish with a drop of colored polish for your manicure.
And get creative! Pham says she loves how the transparent quality of jelly colors makes them “squishy” and provides “a lot of depth, whether it’s just simple application or with nail art.” Simple ways to jazz up your nails include trying more than one color on each hand for a full fruit-salad look, layering nail stickers and simple dot flowers over top for added depth, or fusing two jelly colors on the same nail to create a gradient effect.
Originally Appeared on Glamour