90s Nails Are Back! 10 Iconic Trends That Still Reign Supreme

No secret, ’90s trends are back in style. We’re living in a time of nostalgia and a yearning to relive the style of the 1990s. From frosted eyeshadows, thin eyebrows, and bouncy hairstyles, to prominent lip liner and bouncy blowouts, the decade has brought back many of its most iconic looks. In the last year, “It Girls”, such as Megan Thee Stallion Hailey Bieber Cardi B Keke Palmer, and Kylie Jenner, have embraced the most iconic looks of the decade, especially in the nail department.

The naughties are the inspiration for nearly every look in our mani mood board. Even the latest looks, like French manicures and chrome nails, were worn by stars of the ’90s, such as Pamela Anderson and Naomi Campbell. We’ve collected the best manicures from the ’90s to inspire you on your next salon visit.

Discover 10 nail styles from the ’90s that have lasted through time and their modern equivalents.

Classic Red

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Red is a timeless color that will never go out of style. Red nail polish comes in a wide range of shades, from vibrant blood orange to maroon. Princess Diana led the pack of red lovers, wearing it even against royal dress code at charity and press events. American royalty Carolyn Bassette Kennedy mirrored this trend and was often seen in NYC with red nails.

Blueberry Milk

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This pale blue shade is also known as powder blue or blueberry milk. It’s a color that has been popular among A-listers since a very long time. Dua Lipa has been a co-signer of this color in the beauty zeitgeist. Hailey Bieber and Zendaya have also contributed to its popularity. Mary J. Blige (along with Madonna, Alicia Silverstone and Lindsey Lohan, whose character Hallie is seen wearing a sheeny, blue Hard Candy in 1998’s The Parent Trap) were the first to rock it.

Mismatched Manis

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The 1990s were the golden years of supermodels. The “Big Six”, or the most booked names in the business, rose to prominence during this decade. Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schimmer were among them. These two models provided as much inspiration for beauty off-duty, as they did when on the runway. The mismatched nails on Schiffer are a great example of how supermodels were the original influencers. Why choose? The “why choose?” mentality spread to salons around the world and led to the notion that accent nails did not need be singular. This color trend is back on social media.

Metallic Manis

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Sci-fi movies like Men In Black and The Matrix kept sci-fi on the forefront of people’s minds during the 1990s. This led to super fun beauty moments, such as Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century inspired high ponytails and metallic manicures. Artists like Madonna and Brittany Spears loved the futuristic, sleek nail polishes of silvers, golds and coppers. We’ve now elevated the space age style by adding eye-catching elements such as 3D nail art, nail piercings and other nail adornments.

Milky Hues

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Jennifer Aniston, who is known for her amazing hairstyles and Rachel Green clothes, should be given credit for the rise of neutral milky manicures. In the 1990s, whites and creams that had a milky sheen were very popular. This easy-to wear look is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s date night or work. It also works well at brunches and formal events. We’ve now expanded our glossary of milky nails to include cousins such as “milk bath” and coffee manicures.

Lipgloss Nails

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It’s not a new concept to have “your nails but better”. Sheer, nude nail polishes that had a subtle sheen finish were available in beauty stores decades before the 1990s. As the old saying goes: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Brandy Norwood demonstrates that this look, which is often referred to “lip gloss” nail polish, is timeless, elegant and refined. It looks great on all nail shapes and lengths. Try the brighter version of lip gloss nails, jelly nails, if you want a splash of color.

Cool Chrome

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Before Hailey Bieber invented the glazed-doughnut manicure, celebrities were drawn to all things shiny and sheeny. This trend was also seen on lipsticks, eyeshadows, and fingernails. Jennifer Lopez’s chrome nails are opaque. Today’s chrome nails, however, tend to be transparent and allow the natural nail to show through.

Moody Brown

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Brown was a popular color in the 1990s. As quickly as the shade appeared, it fell out of favor. In the 2000s, true blacks and dark oxbloods were preferred. After years of waiting, neutrals are back and in a big fashion. This time you have options. You can go for the classic look by painting all 10 nails in the same color (as Naomi Campbell did with her warm, moody look) or try a more tonal approach, like the “box of choclate” trend.

Abstract Art

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Black women were the first to introduce nail art into the mainstream. When we think about true abstract nail arts, Flo Jo’s and La Toya’s iconic ’80s and ’90s sets spring to mind. In the 1990s, we saw hip-hop icons like Missy Elliot and Lil’ Kim. (Who could forget Lil’ Kim’s famous dollar-bill mani?) The cultural wave of nail arts that continues today was ushered in by hip-hop legends like Missy Elliott and Lil’ Kim (who could forget her famous dollar-bill manicure?)

Square French

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What would French manicures look like today if it wasn’t for the stars who embraced them, such as Jessica Simpson, Jessica Beckham, Pamela Anderson and J.Lo. The modernized version of French manicures fuses minimalism and the style revival from the ’90s & ’00s. With the return of square-shaped nail shapes, we predict a rise in chunky, angular tips with an exaggerated white line. Zendaya, Selena Gomez and other celebrities have recently adopted this trend.

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