Baton Rouge manicure guide: Decoding trends, services and more

Cuticle care, intricate nail art and innovative mani and pedi techniques. Just like fashion cycles, there seems to be a hot new service, style or nail shape almost every week. Nail salons sure have leveled up. But don’t let the scent of acetone, the sight of hundreds of hued bottles or the restaurant-menu-length list of services overwhelm your spa session.

We chatted with natural nail tech Charmell Hills and Sweetheart Nails owners Mandy Nguyen and Randy Truong about what techniques are hot right now and how to achieve good nail health. Read up, plot your next set and nail that upcoming appointment.


What’s trending 

Chrome over everything

The pearly shimmer popularized by Hailey Bieber is still on top, according to Nguyen and Truong. The metallic powder finish is usually layered over a milky base but complements all kinds of shades. Pale yellow has been especially in demand lately, Nguyen says.

Pale yellow chrome nails at Sweetheart Nails
Aura nails

Torn between two colors? This soft style layers one color on top of a base shade for a diffused, gradient-like effect. Sweetheart Nails uses an airbrush technique, though aura nails can be DIYed with sponges and even eyeshadow.

French tips

White French tips are classic, but many clients are elevating the design with multicolored tips or an iridescent topper.

Velvet/Cat-eye polishes

Achieve a unique, almost galactic look with magnetic, velvety varnishes. For cat-eye manis, magnets pull the glitter in different directions for a design that mimics reflective feline orbs.

3D designs

One of the current crazes includes sculptural designs that seem to jump off nails, no 3D glasses required. A thick builder gel is layered on the nails in puffy shapes like summery citrus slices, Nguyen and Truong say.

Know your services

A crash course on popular polish techniques


Like gel polish and acrylic powder had a baby, this process involves brushing or dusting the nail in pigmented powder that is then finished with a shiny top coat.


Known for lasting longer than traditional polish, gel needs to be cured under a LED or UV light. The result is a glossy, chip-resistant finish.


A powder and liquid monomer mixture is applied and shaped with a brush to create a set of faux nails. Artificial tips or nail forms can be used to add extra length.


These extensions resemble press-on nails. But because they are made of soft gel, they can be cut and shaped like natural—but stronger—nails.

Hard gel

Different from gel polish, hard gel is applied like acrylic on the base nail to add length, strength and structure. The shape is cured with UV or LED light, creating tough nails. The durable finish cannot be soaked off with acetone and must be filed off. Find it locally at nail salons like Perkins Nails and On the Boulevard Salon & Spa.

Gel-X extension application at Sweetheart Nails


What about man-icures?

Harry Styles (Photo by John Rasimus/STAR MAX/IPx)

Famous men don bright lacquers and fun motifs on red carpets. But rock stars like David Bowie and Harry Styles didn’t invent the idea of guys rocking nail varnish. The true trendsetters might be the Babylonians, who gussied up their nails before battle. And man-icures don’t always have to be bold. Male clients at Sweetheart Nails usually opt for clear polish or spa-like pedicures, like the Luxury Pearl Pedicure and Sweetheart Deluxe Pedicure.

Sources: Glamour, Refinery29,  Allure and 2018 research from the University of Rochester Medical Center



Going au natural

Natural nail techs are the industry’s answer to the “clean girl aesthetic.” Charmell Hills, who operates in the back of Fleurty Girl’s Government Street location, has 20-plus years of experience. Her specialty: helping clients who are ready to ditch the acrylic or prioritize nail health.

Hills says many customers come for weekly appointments. She services up to nine people each day, typically applying neutral varnish and shaping shorter nails. (But there are also rainbow-hued Essie shades for those seeking a pop of color.)

She encourages continued nail care at home with just a few tips.

“It’s important when you’re washing your hands or you’re in the shower to push back your cuticles,” she says. “You have to keep (your nails) moisturized.”

Hands encounter water all throughout the day, but Hills says too much H2O exposure can be harmful. It’s why keeping cuticle oil handy is essential, even for those with gel and dip manicures, she says. And, though clients may be urged to change their nail shapes to go along with trends, Hills says going with the nails’ natural shape yields more growth.

Sweetheart Nails says French tips are always classic.


How to keep your mani fresh

Stay away from cleaning chemicals.

Suit up with gloves before washing dishes or sprucing up your space, Nguyen says.

Stay on top of your services.

Both Nguyen and Truong recommend stopping by a salon every two weeks for a fresh mani. With so many new trends, going often allows for a chance to try out more styles.



Get in shape

Which style suits your claws the best?


Rounded with slightly pointed tips resembling, yes, the shape of an almond.


Squared off at the ends with pointed edges. Squoval nails give a softer look, with slightly rounded edges.



Wide and circular at the tip. For a more elongated look, go for oval. Think: almond, without the pointed tip.



Shaped like a coffin or a ballet slipper, with a wider base and a tapered, squared-off tip.


A pointy, tapered tip, just like the heel of your most sultry shoe.

This article was originally published in the July 2024 issue of 225 Magazine.