Oh, Instagram—how you delight, inspire, and confuse. Let us never forget the brilliant gems social media has brought us over the years, like glitter butts, fishtail brows, and, of course, reindeer boobs. And the most recent beauty ~lewk~ to pop up on my Insta feed and warrant a deep-dive investigation into WTF am I looking at? Nail beanies, a nail-art (nail clothing? nail…wrapping?) look that’s equal parts cool and bizarre yet really makes me want to test it out for myself.
Imagine, if you will, a tiny bejeweled hat for your fingernail. Boom—you’ve just pictured the nail-art look from Unistella, the nail queen of Instagram, who recently posted a few videos of fingertips covered with jewel- and bling-studded “beanies,” lookin’ like the missing fingers to some fingerless gloves.
If you’ve never ventured onto Unistella’s Instagram page, it’s basically the birthplace of ground-breaking manicures, courtesy of Korean nail artist Eun Kyung Park (glass nails? That was all her idea. Wire nails? Also hers). “I’m always wondering what nails we could be doing in the future,” Park tells Cosmopolitan, “so I try these new things out and add some trendy elements while making them fully comfortable to wear in daily life.”
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Her most recent inspo? The fact that she couldn’t see her own mani while wearing gloves, and thus, nail beanies—the inside-out trend—were born.
It’s important to note that pretty much everything Park creates eventually becomes a much-copied trend, which is why this nail beanie style is so fascinating. As impractical as they look, could they actually be the next new nail trend in some capacity?
Will we see Beyoncé and Taylor Swift wearing diamond-studded or rainbow-colored (respectively) nail beanies next month? Will Chanel release a limited collection of nail beanies—nay, berets—for spring 2020? Will your mom try to DIY these herself for the holidays?! WHO KNOWS?! Life’s crazy!!
Especially when, according to Park, this trend has been quietly evolving for years in her brain. “I previously thought that wearing a Barbie doll’s tiny beanie on my nails would be fun, and I even took a photo of myself wearing thimbles on all my fingers in 2014 saying it’s ‘Korean beauty,’” she jokes. “I think what’s important is the fact that I’m always challenging myself to create something that can be used in the future.”
And that brings us to today, the day of ze itty-bitty beanie, which, Park swears, is “comfortable enough to wear in daily life.” But she warns that “it’s crucial to select the right material to make it wearable,” starting with a pair of gloves you were looking to throw away or just some black disposable gloves, which it looks like Park is actually wearing in these photos.
Then, quite literally, bedazzle them by gluing tiny gems, stars and moons, or chains around and across each of the fingertips where your nail would be (stuff the gloves rather than trying to wear them while doing this). “I always say that nail art also needs something unique that catches the eye and that sometimes, nails can actually be used as a form of jewelry,” says Park. Let your designs dry, cut off the fingertips, then wear them all together or just one at a time with a really killer manicure and curated-ring situation.
Also, yes, Park is fully aware that these nail beanies kinda look like thimbles, and to that, she nicely says, “I’m thankful for all kinds of feedback!” Clearly, the haters will only make her stronger, helping her to eventually take over the nail world one Instagram post at a time. So until that happens, why not test out nail beanies, even just for the Insta shot, amirite?
Chloe Metzger is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan, overseeing the editorial content and growth strategy of the hair, makeup, and skin space on digital, while also obsessively writing about the best hair products for every hair type (curly girl here; whattup), and the skincare routines that really, truly work (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics of that magazine life). She brings nearly a decade of writing and editing expertise, and her work has appeared in Allure, Health, Fitness, Marie Claire, StyleCaster, and Parents. She also has an unhealthy adoration for Tom Hanks and would like to please meet him one day, if you could arrange that. Thanks.