By Jane Duncan, freelance writer

February 2 2021

The 1980s was a decade of bold colours and style, and apart from iconic fashion trends that include high-waisted jeans and oversized blazers, it was also a time for edgy hairstyles, makeup and manicures. 
Nowadays, 80s nail trends are making a comeback, as seen in some of the most talked-about kpop music videos, such as Jessi's Nunu Nana and Mamamoo's Gogo Bebe. Not only are more women sporting brightly-coloured nails, but they're also opting to have elaborate nail art that channels the decade of excess.
If you're looking to ditch your usual nail colour in favour of something more exciting, consider these 80s-inspired nail trends to level up your manicure. 

80s Patterns

Most women in the 80s sported long nails with squared-off or rounded tips, but to make your nails look edgier, try filing your nails into points. If you're not a fan of long nails, cut your nails short, and file them in a squoval shape to show off the design.
Once you're done shaping your tips, you're ready to paint on a design inspired by 80s fashion. T-shirt patterns in the 80s featured geometric shapes and squiggles in bold colours, and these patterns are a stylish choice as nail art.
Start by brushing on a nail strengthener to protect nails from breaking or splitting; then paint nails with a shiny white polish. Once the polish dries, use a thin brush to paint on dots and squiggles in black or neon pink. You can also start with a periwinkle polish as the background, and then paint on three tiny yellow triangles and pink dots for a fun look. 

Neon Tips

Neon was big in the 80s, and while you can certainly paint your nails in a neon colour, painting just the tips makes neon a little more wearable for every day. To start, paint your nails with a sheer pink or taupe polish; then let it dry. Choose five neon-coloured polishes so that each nail sports a different colour, and then paint just the tips of your nails.
If you're not into the colourful French manicure effect, try painting your nails diagonally, starting at the centre of the tip of the nail, and then drag the brush down to the left. This style works best on long nails, but those with short nails can still try the neon look by creating a chequered design using the brightly-hued polish.

Tortoiseshell Nails

Tortoiseshell accessories, such as sunglasses, hair clips and bangles, were highly popular during the decade of excess. For a sophisticated look, why not try to paint your nails in a tortoiseshell pattern?

Start by painting your nails with a sheer orange polish as your first layer; then paint light brown ovals onto the wet polish. Make sure to leave negative space between the ovals. Let it dry, and then paint another layer of the light orange polish. Next, paint ovals in a dark brown shade on top of the light brown ovals, making sure that they overlap so you can still see the initial shapes. Finally, paint small black ovals over the dark brown ones, and finish with a layer of the light orange polish.

Dress up your nails with these 80s-inspired manicure ideas. Experiment with colours and patterns to create a nail design that's totally rad.
Tortoise Shell Nail Art