Nail trends of note in 2021: A deep-dive into duck nails and where they came from

The quack is back

From shaggy wolf cuts to hair hornsTikTok has proven itself to be a rich purveyor of beauty trends — including really outlandish ones. The realm of nail art is no exception. We all know that our talons are a perfect canvas for intricate designs; pop on nail extensions; and the like. Simply paint ’em in a glossy shade, glue on a few trinkets, and you’ll have a head-turning masterpiece that you can flaunt when you’re going about your day. But what about TikTok’s latest, (potentially) most ludicrous creation: duck nails? If you’re wondering what this avian-inspired trend is all about, don’t worry. We’ve dished the dirt, below.

What are duck nails, exactly?

These, quote-unquote, ‘ugly’ nails have taken over social media. Featuring flared out fan tips that don’t taper out as per normal, the style resembles a duck’s webbed feet and is the complete inverse of the traditional nail aesthetic. It may appear hideous AF at first sight — but in a purposeful, flamboyant manner. The wide surfaces are usually embellished with an assortment of clunky gems, patterns and charms. So, it isn’t a manicure gone wrong. Rather, it’s a highly sought-after look. Duck nails may be an acquired taste, but some people really dig ’em, no matter how unwieldy or risky they are. A slew of nail artists like Nails Dani, Dani Garcia and Icey Milli are to thank for the resurgence of duck nails. Their takes on the clunky style are popping up all over TikTok and Instagram, garnering hundreds of likes and views.

Where can I get them done?

While nail salons in Singapore haven’t leapt upon the duck nail trend just yet, you can always show them pictures of videos and let them try to help you achieve the look. However, if you’re confident enough with doing your own mani-pedi, attempting duck nails by yourself won’t hurt. Here’s what you need:

1.       UV lamp

2.       Nail polishes

3.       UV nail gel

4.       Nail brush

5.       Pre-formed artificial flared nails

6.       Embellishments

How are they created?

Start by gluing on the artificial flared nails.  If they’re too long for your liking, snip off the nails with a pair of scissors until you get the desired length. Then, apply a layer of nail polish in the colour of your choice. You can use different shades too — this is your design, after all. Wait for the nails to dry (put them under the UV lamp to speed things up). Once that’s done, add any embellishments and coat your work in UV nail gel. Cure them in UV light again, and there you have it — your own set of duck nails! Don’t give up if you fail. It does take multiple tries to achieve perfection, after all.

Any final thoughts?

If ugly Christmas sweaters were a nail trend, it’ll most probably manifest as duck nails. But hey, why should we dictate beauty ideals? Let’s not let expectations restrict self-expression and embrace the quirky creations that this artistic medium has to offer. Unusual shapes? Weird experiments? All welcome. All onboard the duck nail trend — deliberate hideousness is the new form of rebellion.