I'm Proof: The 3D-Nails Trend Is the Perfect Holiday Manicure

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington
POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington
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Despite following the latest trends in hair and makeup, I typically keep those areas of my beauty routine pretty consistent. The one exception that I love to experiment with is my nails. Gel manicures, DIY manis, Aprés Gel-X tips, press-ons, dip powder, acrylic, BIAB — you name it, I've tried it (and probably loved it). Nail art, in particular, is something I love to switch up often, and fortunately enough for me, there are so many great nail-art trends out there. French tips are my go-to, but during a recent appointment, I got to try the 3D-nails trend for the first time. To put it simply: I'm obsessed.

I went to Vanity Projects in New York City, a trendy nail salon specialized in intricate, hand-painted nail art. The salon uses Aprés Gel-X extensions (or your natural nails, if that's more your speed), and the sky is the limit in terms of designs. When I recently went, I wanted to challenge myself to step outside the box, which is how I ended up with these edgy yet minimal white nails with gold spheres set into the gel — which just so happen to be perfect for any upcoming holiday parties.

The only nail embellishments I had tried in the past were on press-on nails, and though similar, it's not the same thing as getting a real 3D manicure. I was excited to see not only how they'd turn out but also if I would like having texture on my nails.

The appointment started with general nail maintenance — cuticle pushing, buffing, filing, and so on. Then the Aprés Gel-X tips were prepped and applied. The process includes buffing your natural nails, scouring the inside of the extension, and using a bonder to adhere the tip to your finger under a UV light.

After all of the nails are on, the tips are shaped however you'd like — I always choose an almond shape – then you're ready for some color. The base of my 3D manicure was white polish, so we used the Aprés Gel Couleur in Cloud Nine ($15). Once all 10 fingers were painted and cured, it was time to apply the 3D embellishments.

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington

To make the tiny gold beads stick, a thick layer of clear sculpting gel was applied to each of my nails over the white nail polish. This layer allowed my manicurist to arrange the spheres on my nail and move them around as needed to get the placement just right. Once we got the desired look, we cured it in the UV lamp to harden it. I thought placing the gold 3D accents would take a long time, but all said and done, the process was only about 10 minutes long. To finish off the manicure, a thin layer of gel top coat was applied to lock everything in and add shine.

I loved the look of my nails: they were edgy and cool without being too daring, which is just my vibe. I was afraid the 3D embellishments might get caught on things like my clothes and hair, but I was pleasantly surprised that didn't happen once. The beads added some texture to the surface of my nail, but it wasn't rough. I ended up keeping the manicure on for a month and received countless compliments on them.