Cater to teen clients with red carpet-worthy nail art inspired by the top prom dress trends. 

prom nails

The date. The dress. The nails. Prom season is about to kick off, and now more than ever, teens are treating the high school milestone like an A-list event, carefully curating Instagram-worthy formal looks down to the very last detail—including nails fit for the occasion. Teenagers will soon be pouring into the salon, looking to you to create chic, playful and on-trend tip couture to match their highly stylized aesthetic. To help, we tapped three of-the-moment nail artists to create nail art inspired by the top dress styles spotted on Hollywood teen queens. Here, step-by-step tips to recreate their designs, plus must-have nail art necessities sure to make any teen client feel like a star on her big night.


Petal Pusher

Nail Artist: Jessica Washick 

Inspiration: Victoria Justice

floral prom nails

From corsages to boutonnieres to bouquets, flowers aren’t just essential accessories for the prom experience—they are this season’s most sought-after pattern. But, unlike the styles of years’ past, the trend is less cutesy and more dramatic (think: moody, painterly flowers instead of tiny blooms). The key to recreating the pattern on nails? An imperfect painting technique. “With a striping brush, I lightly brushed up and down as I painted the petals,” says Jessica Washick, nail artist and creative director for New York-based Van Court salon, who adds that the oversized design looks best on shorter nails. Get the step-by-step for this floral design here.

prom nails

Recreate the floral print with detail brushes and gel art paints, or opt for stamping kits for the intricate detail.


Modern Romance

Nail Artist: Ran Kowatari 

Inspiration: Gigi Hadid

lace prom nails

Equal parts classic and alluring, lace provides a dose of drama to any canvas, including nails. Nail artist Ran Kowatari transforms the lingerie-inspired style into something more teen-friendly by layering it over a metallic base. “A chunky glitter, sheer black polish and colored gems give the design dimension,” says Kowatari. “The design looks elegant, but isn’t overly simple.” Get the tutorial for this lacy look here. 

prom nails

Top the lacy look with embellishments and bejeweled accessories.


Bare Instincts

Nail Artist: Miss Pop

Inspiration: Keke Palmer

negative space prom nails

Crop tops may have transitioned into formal wear, but the secret to donning the flesh-baring style is revealing just a hint of skin. The same rule applies when mimicking the nearly-naked look on nails, says Miss Pop, nail artist and creative ambassador for CND. For her design, the New York-based tech emphasizes the natural nail with a few strokes of metallic polish along the cuticle and the free edge. “This look will complement most nail lengths and shapes,” adds Pop, who notes that the bubblegum pink base keeps the peekaboo look youthful and flirty. “The style is of the moment, but the colors are classically feminine.” Get the tutorial for negative space look here. 

prom nails

Go for the bold and the glamorous using metallic stripers and the newest seasonal gel paints.


How are you getting your teen clients ready for prom? Let us know in the comments below!

-Taylor Foley

[Images: All nail art and product photos by Jason Bennett, celebrity photos in order of appearance: Pierre Suu/GC Images, Pascal Le Segretain, Stefanie Keenan]

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