Today, we’re looking at the rise of nail collabs, as nailfluencers cement their status on social media.
As beauty collabs have stretched far beyond the makeup category, nail-care collabs are becoming as common as those for eyeshadow.
On Tuesday, Nails Inc. launches a new collab with celebrity nail artist Mei Kawajiri and ice cream brand Magnum to offer three color pairings of special-edition, scented nail polishes. As nail content has taken off on social media, nail-care collabs are taking off. Brands are launching new products in partnership with influencers, celebrities, entertainment franchises and brands in other consumer categories.
Nails Inc. joins a wide range of nail brands increasing their number of collabs. Orly launched its first-ever collab in 2017 with Laverne Cox and has since done a total of 10. In the past three years, these have included collab collections with Jen Welter, the first female NFL coach, “Top Chef” star Kwame Onwuachi, the film “Birds of Prey,” Lisa Frank and nailfluencers Hannah Lee and Kelli Marissa.
“This is a very unique start to having a good relationship with Nails Inc.,” said Kawajiri, who shared that an influx of brands have reached out to her for collaborations since the start of the pandemic.
To drive hype for the Nails Inc. collab, Kawajiri is posting content showcasing elaborate nail art using the special-edition colors on Instagram. These include Crunchy Almond, Raspberry Swirl and Chocolate-themed looks to correspond to each color duo, all with 3D textures.
“Nail content is getting more popular,” said Kawajiri, who has noticed designs becoming more attention-grabbing. With the rise of TikTok and Instagram’s emphasis on Reels, she said nail content has shifted from static pictures to elaborate tutorials. “Now it has to be video; it has to be edited with music.” She sees 3D and airbrushed nails as rising trends.
As salon brands saw nail salons’ business hit by the pandemic, they have been turning to collabs as part of a pivot from B2B to B2C sales. This was the case with Orly.
“We find that collabs helped us create Orly’s direct-to-consumer and retail position as a fun brand that sticks to its principles,” said Tal Pink, the vp of business development at Orly. “The rise of our e-commerce channel in the past three years has allowed us to bring these causes and stories directly to our audience who have rewarded us with high sales volume and amazing engagement.”
Professional nail-care brand Morgan Taylor, meanwhile, also recently launched a consumer-facing collaboration with the film “Clueless,” taking a page from the makeup playbook after HipDot previously launched a “Clueless” collab.
Unique collab partners can help generate social buzz for nail-care startups breaking into the market. This has been the case for startups like LaPierre Cosmetics, which did a “Shrek” collab in October last year, and Orosa, which teamed up with the D’Amelio sisters in 2020.
Nail art content and nailfluencers like Kawajiri have especially gained traction during the nail DIY boom seen during the pandemic.
“People that were never interested in nails [are now] interested in having nails to create content,” said Kawajiri. Case in point: Actor Seth Rogan just enlisted her to create an attention-grabbing 3D nail look to match an ashtray he made. He showed off the look on his Instagram in late April.
The rise of nail-art designs through press-ons and wraps has been a big catalyst for nail collab culture. Kawajiri has also teamed up with ManiMe, which enlists dozens of popular nail artists to create designs as a key part of its business model. Chillhouse, meanwhile, launched its collab collection with Lauren Ladnier earlier this month.
More nail art on social media has also prompted classic nail brands to drop collabs as they become more adventurous with color. Earlier this month, Sally Hansen launched a collaboration with the TV show “Friends,” naming the ’90’s-inspired nail polish colors after references from the show. As part of its pivot back to nail color from treatments, the brand has also done food collaborations, launching one with Peeps in March and another with Sour Patch Kids in September 2020. The brand first started doing collabs in 2017 and has done a total of nine collabs across 16 collections since then.
“Since 2017, we have evolved our partnership strategy and have partnered with a variety of brands that complement Sally Hansen’s color authority, from candy brands to entertainment and media, and even purpose-driven non-profits,” said Kevin Shapiro the svp for U.S. marketing, consumer beauty at Coty. “Our partnership programs have led to an incredible response from retailers, media and consumers alike. And they tend to drive sales, consumer buzz, social engagement and editorial pick-up.”
The key for collabs in nails, as with makeup, is to make sure they make sense.
“We certainly have increased our collaboration pipeline, but we’re very careful with them as we want them to be authentic for us and our partners,” said Pink. “For example, we’ll never partner with a person who doesn’t ever wear nail polish, as the nail polish community is extremely savvy. They will call out brands for inauthentic partnerships.”
Inside our coverage
Glossy Annual Report 2022: The state and future of beauty brand distribution
After quitting social media, Lush turns its attention to podcasts
Post-ironic ‘affirmation’ memes are the antidote to Instagram’s motivational content
What we’re reading
“Euphoria” makeup artist Donni Davy’s new brand is here. Half Magic was unveiled last week and goes on sale today. Eye color, lip color, tools and eye gems are part of the initial launch. Stay tuned for Davy on the Glossy Beauty Podcast this Thursday, where she discusses the new brand in detail.
What happened with the rebrand of Lady Gaga’s Haus Labs: The Amazon sales channel was reportedly unsuccessful, according to former staff, prompting the shift to Sephora.
A look at the recovery process for Brazilian butt lifts: Despite a recovery that involves “excruciating pain,” interest in the procedure continues to grow. Women undergoing the procedure “felt they needed to achieve this look before they could feel fully confident or get a loan or start a business.”
Hair-care brands Amika and Eva NYC have been acquired by Bansk Group.