Cat-eye nails are taking over Instagram once more. The popular manicure trend was big in the early 2010s, but it’s making a comeback. If you’re baffled by its resurgence, we don’t blame you. The process for how to do cat-eye nails can seem intensive and involves some unique nail tools, such as metallic polish and a magnet. Still, the results are stunning. The effects usually resemble the distinctive finish of a cat’s eye with a line running down the center of the nail and the final result is a cross between a shimmer and soft velvet, creating a very eye-catching manicure.
Jenna Dewan, Sydney Sweeney, and Ashley Tisdale are some of the many celebrities who have been spotted in this manicure, further proving its popularity. Cat-eye nail designs come in all manner of colors: black, red, pink, purple, green, blue — the list goes on and on. Most nail salons should be able to give you a cat-eye design on your nails if you request it and show them a reference photo, but it’s also possible to do at home.
Cat-Eye Nails Tutorial:
Step 1 — Paint the Base of Your Nails: First, you’ll want to give yourself a basic manicure (cut, file, and buff your nails into the desired shape). To make the manicure look even more feline, you can file them into a thin almond shape to resemble claws. Then, paint your fingers with the color of your choice.
Step 2 — Apply Your Magnetic Cat-Eye Polish: Next, you’ll need a special cat-eye nail polish designed specifically for this trend. It contains metallic pigments that are moved around with a magnet to create the unique finish. Some of these polishes contain color, eliminating your need for a base, while others are more of a topcoat.
Step 3 — Move the Magnet Over Your Nails: Next, you’ll need a cat-eye nail magnet. The key to making your nails look like cat eyes is to move the metallic pigments around by hovering the tool over your fingernails. Depending on where you point it, the pattern will change.
Step 4 — Apply a Topcoat: Once you’ve achieved your cat-eye pattern, seal in the polish with a topcoat. And you’re finished.
Check out some examples of cat-eye nails ahead to inspire your own manicure.
— Additional reporting by Sarah Seigel