"Pixie Dust" Nails Are Like a Party Bus For Your Fingertips

Every editorial product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn commission.

There's nothing like a manicure trend to get your maintenance days off to a good start. But if you're a regular at the salon, you're probably familiar with the analysis paralysis that can accompany trying to decide on your look of choice for the next few weeks. One of our favorite ways to find inspiration is to follow well-known nail artists, and luckily, one of our favorites has come through yet again with a design idea you're going to want to try immediately.

Tom Bachik, a manicurist to the stars, is the mind behind the resurgence of the look you're starting to see all over your "for you" page: "pixie dust" nails. After being spotted on his long-time client Selena Gomez at the 2023 Golden Globes, the trend has become a clear front-runner for people who are loving textured nails but want something a little more minimalist and understated.

To help us break down all you need to know about pixie-dust nails, we asked Morgan Dixon, manicurist and owner of Lab & Lounge: A Concept Salon, for the lowdown. Keep reading to learn more.

What Are Pixie-Dust Nails?

Think of this trend as the combination of 3D nails and pearlescent powder. "Pixie-dust nails have a textured finish achieved by using very small beads," Dixon tells POPSUGAR. "The beads usually have some sort of an iridescent finish."

This nail-art look isn't exactly new, but Dixon believes there's a reason behind its recent resurgence these last few weeks. "This trend is definitely in line with the emergence of textured nails over the last seven years," Dixon says. "The beads add a flair to any set and [are] a perfect way to enhance an already sensorial manicure."

How to Get Pixie-Dust Nails

Whether you like to get your manicures done professionally or you're more of a DIY person, pixie-dust nails are actually super easy to achieve — and fun to do. "To achieve this look at home, you will need to paint on a base coat and nail color [as usual]," Dixon says. "Before the polish dries and preferably while it's still wet, you'll then grab your pixie dust — aka the beads — and just sprinkle it on the nail." Then, once the lacquer has dried, lock the look in place with a clear topcoat.

When considering polish shades, Dixon did note that this trend tends to look best when falling within a singular color palette — for example, using silver beads on cool-toned hues, or using a nail polish that is in the color family of the iridescent beads used in your manicure — but as with anything in the beauty space, how you personalize it is entirely up to you.

You can find the beads you'll need on Amazon, like these nail-art pearls ($10) and caviar beads ($7), but do note that the process may require some patience. "Some of the beads may fall over the edges of the nail but can be moved around before they set," Dixon says. "Be sure to keep a wooden stick or pointed tip of a tool, like a toothpick, on hand." To really step the look up a notch, add glitter and chrome detailing for a finish that will undoubtedly turn heads, if not for the epic designs then for the disco-ball effect that will follow you everywhere.

Now that you're fully versed on pixie-dust nails, get some inspiration for your version of the look from the gallery ahead.

Classic Pixie-Dust Nails

Selena Gomez wore a traditional version of the pixie-dust nail trend to the Golden Globes. The beads were clear and added more texture and shine than color to the manicure.

Beige Pixie-Dust Nails

You can also use the pixie-dust effect as an accent nail, alongside crystals and marble detailing.

Clear Pixie-Dust Nails

If you're after all-over glam, try a pixie-dust manicure with glittering jewels in everything from the clear base to the accompanying clear beads and crystal gems.

Pixie-Dust French-Manicure Nails

What do you get when you combine pixie-dust nails and french manicures? An incredible faux-negative-space masterpiece.

Ombré Pixie-Dust Nails

Don't want to leave the pixie dust to the tips (or base) of your nails? Give it an every-other effect with an ombré stiletto set.

Iridescent Pixie-Dust Nails

Pixie-dust nails already look like a whimsical dream, so why not add some iridescent colors to your manicure to take the look to new, fairy-approved heights?

White Pixie-Dust Nails

As Dixon stated, pixie-dust nails look incredibly clean when kept within a similar color palette. Case in point? This all-white pixie-dust manicure.

Pink Gradient Pixie-Dust Nails

This pixie-dust manicure plays with two different shades of pink to give you a monochromatic look with a fun, sparkly finish.