3D nails have made a comeback, mostly with the wildest creations and a distinctive Y2K twist. #3Dnails has garnered nearly 700k posts on Instagram, with some of its designs gracing the cuticles of celebrities or stealing the show on red carpets.

But forget about dainty diamantes or rhinestones that used to adorn these nails. The 2023 trend is all about huge charms that you can spot from a distance.

Some manicurists have even taken 3D nail designs to new heights (literally) with blooming flowers on nails. And creativity is truly through the roof as we see “bubble wrap” extensions or mahjong tiles on top of nails.

3d nails design inspiration

Credit: @nailcounty_sg/Instagram, @peachesonlysg/Instagram

Love having your finger on the pulse? Read on for the hottest 3D nail designs, whether you’re looking for something more intricate and subtle or loud and chunky!

Trending 3D nails inspirations

Pearls galore 3D nails

3d nails pearls

Credit: @wacky.studios/Instagram, @qquirkynails/Instagram

Of course, you can amp up your elegance with ever-sophisticated pearls. These aren’t new to the world of 3D nails and are a top choice when it comes to zhuzh-ing up your nails.

To stand out from the crowd, have your nail base drawn with a blooming effect before you add on mini pearls to accentuate the design. Or go with something far louder and sport tentacle-like pearls.

3D French tips

3d nails french tips

Credit: @peachesonlysg/Instagram, @forduchessbyduke/Instagram

French tips are almost everyone’s go-to nail design, but what if you put a spin on these classic nails?

Make it 3D however you like, be it with a crown of pearls lining your nail tips or mercury fluid ‘dripping’ down your nails. Take it even further by having the base, which is typically nude or pinkish, in a unique design like aura nails or adding gradients.

Wet 3D nails

3d nails, 3d wet nails, water droplets on nails

Credit: @shnaillss/Instagram, @peachesonlysg/Instagram

Just like how there’s a “wet look” for lash extensions, the same concept applies to your nails. You’d want it to look like you just washed your hands and see water droplets above your nails.

To add some extra dimension or style, you can choose to have gradients or a cat-eye design underneath which can really make your nails glass-like.

Mercury 3D nails

3d nails mercury nails, fluid metallic blobs on nails

Credit: @nailsndaggers/Instagram, @betina_goldstein/Instagram (middle)

A more futuristic style, mercury 3D nails are similar to wet 3D nails. Instead of water droplets, you have metallic, mercury-looking fluid dotting your nails.

There are also variations of silver chrome spikes that are almost post-punk and a widely popular selection amongst the Gen Z crowd. These are also known to be a type of Y2K nail design that is very eye-catching.

Blobs 3D nails

3d nails artsy blobs on nails

Credit: @nailsinurcoffin/Instagram, @shnaillss/Instagram

If you’re an artsy person who loves lots of colours, you might want to give this 3D nail design a try.

These blobs, usually oddly shaped, can be manipulated into any shape you like and looks almost like clay or acrylic paint.

Bubble wrap 3D nails

3d nails bubble wrap nails

Credit: @peachesonlysg/Instagram, @nailsinurcoffin/Instagram

A fan of popping bubble wraps? Get them on your nails instead – although we wouldn’t recommend popping your bubble wrap nails!

You can opt to have your whole nail filled with bubbles, just the tips, or only on selected fingers!

Avant-garde 3D nails

3d nails editorial nails

Credit: @qquirkynails/Instagram, @nailsndaggers/Instagram

Nothing’s more experimental than editorial-esque nails that will surely make a statement.

These may not be very practical for everyday wear and is for acquired tastes, but your nails could be the perfect canvas for a masterpiece.

Mermaid 3D nails

3d nails mermaid nails

Credit: @amys.clients/Instagram, @pazyumarti/Instagram, @mere_limtiek/Instagram

The new The Little Mermaid film will be screening really soon, so what better time than now to give your nails a mermaid-inspired 3D look?

From mermaid scales and seashells to holographic colours, your nails will definitely be making waves! You can also try getting textured mother-of-pearl 3D nails for an elegant finish.

Embossed 3D nails

3d nails embossed

Credit: @eanail.studio/Instagram, @nailsbynanako/Instagram

There’s nothing wrong with being low-key even when it comes to 3D nails. After all, there’s a kind of attractiveness in subtlety and a little texture goes a long way.

Whatever your vision may be, go to your trusted nail technician for this nail look or seek out a manicurist who has done such designs before since it’s not the easiest to create.

Character-themed 3D nails

3d nails cartoon characters sanrio nails

Credit: @nailsndaggers/Instagram, @qquirkynails/Instagram

Let your love for a cartoon or show shine through with your nails!

A popular option that we’ve seen is Sanrio-themed 3D nails which are irresistibly adorable and show a little of your personality.

Plus, many beauty brands are picking up the trend too and coming up with the cutest Sanrio-themed products. So maybe it’s time to match your nails to your Sanrio bag or lippie?

Feature image credit: @peachesonlysg/Instagram, @nailcounty_sg/Instagram, @nailsndaggers/Instagram