Expert's Opinion

Why Teens Opt for Unique Nails

By Melanie Shreffer, YPulse | December 16, 2011

The editor of YPulse explains why nail art is more than a fad.

Not too long ago, I found myself in a room with dozens of teen girls, and one of the first things I notice about these bright young women was how many were wearing funky nail polish. From crackle polish to nail art, very few of the girls had bare nails or were wearing plain polish.

The nail art trend has been around for a while, but it really took over this year, with nail “technology” kicking into high gear. At the typical drug store, girls can now find everything from professional manicurists along side DIY tutorials. A quick search for "nail art" on YouTubebrings up thousands of how-to videos.

With all these ideas and guides to help them to nail glory, teen girls are fully embracing the fad.

At the heart of this trend with teens is the desire for self-expression. It’s a fun, funky way to display their personalities and be a little rebellious at the same time. And it’s rebellion that won’t get them in trouble with mom and dad, unlike, perhaps, Manic Panic hair color or tattoos. It’s a temporary style decision that’s easily reversible.

The nail art trend is also perfect for teens to try on different personas; they can go from wild child to boho chic in seconds. We’ve seen in our research that girls’ teen years are a key time for style exploration, and this nail trend is another element of that. Plus, it doesn’t cost as much as a new wardrobe to fit one’s new style, and it’s just as easy to change nail designs as it is to change clothes.

What’s more, it’s accessible to all girls. Most nail polishes and products only cost a few bucks. And many of the current trends make it easy to get nail style regardless of one’s artistic skills. To get the cool crackle look, all a girl needs is a top coat. Magnetic polish gives nails a futuristic wave design just by holding a magnet over nails. Peel-and-stick “polish” is a fool-proof way to get the perfect leopard, lace, or checkered nails. And of course for those who want something truly unique and sophisticated, there’s always the local nail salon.

With options limited only by girls’ creativity, and with new nail polish gimmicks undoubtedly on the horizon, we don’t see an end to this trend for a while. Now if you’ll excuse me, I suddenly feel the need for a manicure…

About the Author
Melanie Shreffer is editor-in-chief of YPulse, the leading authority on youth. YPulse studies the opinions and behavior of tweens, teens, collegians and young adults in order to provide news, commentary, events, research and strategy for marketing, brand and media professionals.

More info: Melanie Shreffler, Tel: (646) 597-6726, ext. 306; Website:

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