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Nails in 2024: Five Essential Trends To Know

Person adding glitter to at-home manicure

Hand care is essential to beauty and wellness, and nail care is significant in self-expression for many consumers. As the hand and nail category moves beyond the strict need for hygiene, new products will be practical and indulgent, offering consumers a means of self-expression and reconnection. 

This article will explore the nail and hand care market and outline what is behind the growth and what to expect from the market in the coming years. With this information, the article will highlight the top nail and hand care trends that beauty retailers should look out for in 2024 and critical products they should add to their catalogs.

Table of Contents
Overview of the nail market
5 essential nail and hand care trends
Takeaways to nail it in 2024

Overview of the nail market

The need for hand hygiene in 2020 shifted the hand care market, yet hand hygiene will still be a priority for consumers as we move into 2024. Soaps and sanitizers have been elevated as new beauty essentials. Heading into 2024, hand sanitizers will be repositioned as a tool to enable safe social interactions with new iterations that marry functionality, aesthetics, and fun. 

The global hand wash market is set to reach US$ 4.29 billion by 2028, while the global hand cream and hand lotion market is expected to hit US$ 9.33 billion by 2026. 

When it comes to nail care, the pandemic resulted in a shift to at-home treatments and self-expression through nails. Sales for nail care products on Amazon US were up 218% in 2020. While some are returning to the salon for indulgent treatments, for others, the convenience and low cost of alternatives continue to appeal, making salon-quality products a must for brands. 

In 2020, the global nail care market value was estimated at US$ 9.9 billion, and it is to reach US$ 11.6 billion by 2027. The top-performing segment within the market is nail polish, which is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 2.6% to reach US$ 7.5 billion on its own.

Currently, the U.S. remains the largest nail care market, with an estimated market value of US$ 2.7 billion. China is expected to be one of the fastest-growing regional markets, reaching a market size of US$ 2.3 billion by 2027.

5 essential nail and hand care trends

Here are the top five nail and hand care trends you need to be aware of now for 2024:

Person’s hand in a UV nail dryer

At-home nail products

Demand for at-home nail products and treatment will continue, and a new generation of consumers will invest in products that deliver efficiency and quality. Professional finish and application are top priorities in home nail applications, and consumers will prioritize products that deliver on both. 

When it comes to a professional finish, salon-quality base and top coats are a must. Also, nail tools, such as UV dryers, that make application easier and more efficient are top of mind for consumers. 

In addition, as people upgrade their skills and confidence, they will seek out more complex products and nail tools. This will include more complex base and top products and tools into nail varnish kits, such as primers and dehydrators

Cream dripping down a person’s hand

The anti manicure

2024 will see the anti-manicure go mainstream. This stripped-back manicure will focus on nail health with products and treatments that nourish and tackle nail issues, and also promote healthy, natural nails. An overnight hand mask is a great way to nourish the skin and nails. Consumers also seek nail-specific masks to rejuvenate their nails separately from their hand care routine. 

The forced nail detox many people endured during the pandemic exposed the damaging effects of nail applications and increased awareness of long-term issues. Gel, powder, and acrylic manicures can damage the nail plate. At the same time, some chemicals in polishes have been linked to health issues. As a result, beauty consumers will choose products that support healthy nails. Many consumers add a nail serum to their regular hand care routine to promote nail growth. 

It is also important not to forget toenails and extend the anti-manicure to tackle taboo toe conditions such as ingrown toenails and nail fungus. And, of course, treating dry, cracked skin on the feet with a foot peel

Person applying hand cream

Facials for the hands

People are taking skincare beyond the face and are prioritizing taking care of the entire body. Body facials, in particular, aim to protect and rebalance the skin’s natural functions and improve the skin’s natural barrier. 

Increased hand washing will continue, exacerbating dryness and other hand issues. So, body facials also benefit the hands. Hand care will borrow from every aspect of the skincare category, and consumers will dedicate the same attention to the skin on their hands as on their faces. This includes hand creams and treatments with retinol to manage wrinkles and dryness, and to prevent the signs of aging. 

Like skincare, hand care will shift focus to prevention, with SPF products that prevent skin damage before they are visible. 

Science-backed technological innovations such as red-light, LED, and vibration hand and nail devices are also being used to promote hand and nail health. 

man with painted nail art

Self-expression through nails

With faces covered during the pandemic, nails have become a way for people to express themselves. Whether playful and fun, or subversive and dark, nails will allow people to express themselves and experiment via color, stickers, and nail art. 

A wide variety of options when it comes to nail colors and art is a must; consider some of these options:

Bright colors

– Glow in the dark polish and art 

Glitter

Chrome pigment

– Nail art, such as charms, rhinestones, stickers, etc. 

A less binary approach to beauty has also seen men embracing nail polish for everyday use. Dubbed the “men-icure”, colored nails are a form of gender identity activism and, by 2024, will be embedded as a new normal. 

There is certainly an opportunity for retailers to capitalize on creative nail art, gender-neutral nail polishes, male manicure sets, and accessible product designs for a wider customer base.

Smart manicures are also on the horizon. NFC-chipped nails that allow consumers to pay for goods or store data will go from novelty to normal, so consider investing in development now. 

Hand sanitizer in a person’s hand

Hand sanitizer 2.0

Hand hygiene, including hand sanitizers, has become an integral part of our routine for safe interactions. While global Google searches for “soap” peaked in March 2020, data shows interest and demand for hand hygiene have remained above pre-pandemic levels. In 2024, brands will need to create hand hygiene products that fit seamlessly into everyday life and allow people to reconnect while promoting well-being. 

One way to break the association of hand sanitizers with stress and fear is to include calming fragrances. Also, consider making hand sanitizing fun with interesting labels or easy-to-use on-the-go formats, such as keychains or bracelets

Takeaways to nail it in 2024

Nail and hand care products have become more sought after as more consumers embrace at-home nail treatments or refocus on natural nails. The top trends within the nail and hand care market point to increased demand for products that enable self-expression and creativity alongside healthy hands and nails. Businesses can also reach a broader customer base if they market to people of all genders, not just women. People of all genders express themselves through nails and want to see themselves represented by beauty brands. 

Recognize the new frugal mindset of post-pandemic consumers and their new skills with products and tools that deliver high-quality manicures and pedicures at home. Cater to consumers’ interest in expressing themselves through their nails while providing products that protect and replenish their nails and hands.

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