A glamorous dress for prom? Check. Brand new and beautiful hairstyle? Check. Make-up? Check. New dancing shoes? Check. What about nails? A girl has to look her best on the unique event – prom. It is one of those rare occasions a girl gets to be the princess, so it is no wonder much effort goes into glamorous appearance. Nails deserve their role as well; picking the right nail designs for prom is just as important and difficult as picking the right pair of shoes.
Girls across the nation giggle
and whisper to each other about
that pink gown their mother
thought was “all the rage”—and clearly
isn’t—and spend restless sleepovers
ripping out magazine pages to make a hodgepodge
of what their ideal prom look will be. They
scour malls in search of the perfect dress and then,
when all aspects seem to be coming together, they
visit you, clutching ragged, mulled-over magazine
pages. They want your salon not only to calm their
pre-prom nerves, but also to transform them into
princesses for a night that they’ll remember for
years to come.
This dizzying pre-prom preparation could be considered a rite of passage for some teenage girls.
After all, prom night is the evening to show off their unique styles. In years past, you considered visiting your mom’s hairdresser for a fancy ’do a treat. These are modern times, however, and they call for more than an Aqua-net beehive. Now most teens’ hair and nails receive attention on a regular basis.
With this in mind, you need to know what’s“in” and “out” for nails worthy of this once-in-a-lifetime event. So, give their ripped-out pages some attention, find out their specific nail needs and then offer them a few of the suggestions we’ve gathered from nail techs and prom trend experts who are in the know regarding what’s currently stylish for teens.
While prom trendsetters show up in
striking color and sparkling rhinestones,
prom princesses don a more
classic look wearing ball gowns made
of flowing taffeta. From the West Coast
to the East Coast, three trends capture
the look of the 2003 prom: the glittering
glamour girl (think rhinestones,
sequins, lots of skin), the pretty punk
(think rocker Kelly Osbourne, Doc
Martins and chain-link hoops) and the
pristine princess (think miles of taffeta,
corsets, pearls). Are you prepared
to offer nail styles for all three?
“Kids today want to be more individual.
They want dresses that are
pretty, slinky, or punk, so that they
really get to express their individual
style,” says Antonia Van Der Meer, editor
in chief of Your Prom magazine.
For dresses, hair, makeup and especially
nails, details are what count this
prom season. Rhinestones, sequins,
embroidery and beads add flair and uniqueness—two essentials for a girl who wants to shine above the crowd.
Color captures the feel of the season with vibrant pinks, purples and blues. Your light pink is no longer baby soft; it’s bubble-gum wow. Your sky blue is no longer muted and quiet; it’s loud and vivacious. Luscious lime,
lemon yellow and punchy coral round out the color palette. Fabrics lend sparkle to the arresting color. Satin, silk and chiffon create lustrous dimension to dresses. Mirror this look with your polish by painting a matte color over a shimmer or vice versa for more shine. Additionally, for an edgier feel, duplicating textures and patterns found in prom dresses
continues to be a popular nail trend.
Overlay fabric on tips or use the dress’s pattern as your nail art muse. You can never go wrong with nails that match
the dress in color, shine and texture.
Sexy Mature look-
“Californians wear different dresses
for prom,” says Wen Wu, owner of
Tiffany Designs in Fort Myers, Florida.
“They tend to be shorter and slinkier
than in the rest of the United States.”
While Utah and Washington
remain big markets for Wu’s ball
gowns, California deviates from the
traditional prom attire for a more
sexy, mature look. Certainly these
divas will want their nails to reflect
the same adult style. French manicures
with rhinestone accents or natural
nail manicures polished to complement
the dress catches the eye of
the West Coast glamour girl.
Van Der Meer agrees, “The look is
a more subdued, sophisticated sexy.”
She says she’s not seeing as much of
the bare midriff look, but girls are still
showing skin in strapless and oneshoulder
Tina Anderson of Van Dorn’s Skin
Clinic & Salon in El Cajon, California,
specializes in nail art, but is finding French polish with rhinestones or glitter to be what’s hot in her West Coast
beach community. Pamela Longfellow-Minch of Wild Iris in Parker, Colorado, adds her own unique twist to the de rigueur prom staples, rhinestones and glitter. “My clients love when I spice up the standard French with distinctive colors— purple, blue and beige French tips make a prom girl’s nails scream, ‘I’m ready to be crowned.’”
In warm-weather states, girls’ feet score exposure in strappy sandals all year round and especially at formal
events. Longfellow-Minch decorates toes to match almost every manicure she does. And even if your clients opt for stylish closed-toe shoes, remind them that at some point in the night they may need to kick off their shoes
and tear it up on the dance floor.
Traditional Pretty look :
On the East Coast, no one particular
style can be nailed down. After all,
the fashion in sunny Florida definitely
doesn’t match that of chilly Maine.
According to Wu, though, he’s seen a
large demand for ball gowns on the
East Coast. This style suggests the
classic look of a debutante—girls
who covet pretty, traditional garb
Sunney Mooney of Krimpers in St.
Petersburg, Florida, gives her younger
clients expert prom advice. She suggests
a standard French manicure to
those clients hoping to achieve a
“belle of the ball” classic look and
believes a single rhinestone on each
nail adds a playful, youthful touch—
yet still upholds tradition. She also recommends
a Chevron French for girls
who want to punch up the standard
French manicure. And for those who dare to set trends, she suggests adding silver striping tape or foil.
In colder weather states, convenience sometimes plays a factor in prom beauty. Lois Burak, owner of
Beautyworx Salon Day Spa, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been offering prom packages since 1996. Each package includes a manicure (either natural nails or enhancements), a standard updo and makeup.
A French manicure, nail art and extras are considered upgrades to the service and are charged accordingly, as are any extremely detailed hairstyles. Burak attributes her prom nail clientele to these packages. “It’s a convenience factor,” she says. “Having all of your services done at one location is easier than hopping around the corner to another salon to have your nails done.”
While a number of Burak’s prom clientele want French manicures, she is noticing an increase in requests for airbrushed nails. This complements one of this year’s biggest prom dress trends: fabric dyed to fade from light to dark or from one color into another. This look can easily be mimicked on nails using an airbrushing technique. Linda Champion of Golden Shears Salon & Skin Spa in Runnemede, New Jersey, finds many of her young beauty enthusiasts look for temporary beauty.
Predesigned tips applied in the salon are perfect for teenagers. Not only do the designs range from leopard and
zebra stripes to flowers and butterflies (providing a great selection for both wild and traditional gals), they also can be switched in the blink of an eye— about as fast as a teenage girl changes her mind.
Cool Look :
Sparkle varies from glitter over traditional
French to rhinestones accenting
flower designs on toes. Speak to a few
teens to find out what they think is
cool in your neck of the woods. If they
haven’t ripped out magazine pages for
their own inspiration, suggest that they
do, so you both have a sturdy fashion
springboard from which to bounce
ideas. “Girls are into prom and they
want the complete look,” says Van Der
Meer. “They spend a lot of time thinking
about their prom and planning for
it. They want professional manicures
and they want the nails to go with the
dress. They are not willing to leave anything
There are just as many nail designs for prom as there are different dresses and shoes for the prom; expect to spend a lot of time at the nail polish rack. To help you with the dilemma, we’ve prepared a few sample nail designs for prom which you will find below. The most popular nail designs are rather simple yet no less glamorous: the glossy pink nails. If you want to be a little more unique, however, other popular choices of nail designs for prom are thankfully more varied. There are many French nail designs for long nails. You can also go for nails with glitter dust on them; they are sure to get attention! Finally, when you truly want to express your individuality and personality, go for nail art designs. Pick the one you like the most and brandish them proudly on the special night.The bottom line: Prom night will be a cherished memory for most young ladies, and you’ll
contribute an enormous part to their amazing night—so be honored and make sure you’re ready for it!