Nail Piercing: Why It’s The Hottest Trend And How To Do It

Add pizzazz to your claws, one piercing at a time!

Written by , MSc Manjari Uppal MSc Experience: 3 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Aparna Harry MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years

If you want to add an edgy look to your manicure beyond some pretty nail art, you may want to opt for a nail piercing. Once an exciting trend in the ‘90s, nail piercings are now making waves again as a contemporary form of self-expression. Whether it is Victoria Beckham’s iconic pierced French manicure or Kim Kardashian’s extravagant take on nail piercings, celebrities, influencers, and celebrity nail artists alike are embracing this chic yet edgy trend. From small piercings adorned with delicate hoops to bold adornments with rhinestones and charms, nail piercings offer a unique way to elevate your manicure game. If you are eager to hop on the bandwagon and are curious about the process, you have come to the right place. This article has everything you need to know about getting a nail piercing, how to take care of it, and ways to rock it with style. Keep reading!

protip_icon Piercing Guide: Nail Piercing
  • Placement: Fingernails, near the free edge or along the nail bed
  • Best Jewelry: Small studs, hoops, or chains
  • Cost: $10 to $50
  • Pain Level: Low
  • Healing Time: None

What Is Nail Piercing?

Nail piercing is also known as nail art piercing or nail embellishment. It is a form of nail decoration in which small nail charms, like metal studs, beads, jewels, or other ornaments are attached to the surface of the fingernails or toenails, making for detailed nail sets. This technique is often used to enhance the appearance of manicured nails and create unique and personalized nail designs.

Nail piercing typically involves drilling a small hole or using adhesive to attach the ornament directly onto the nail. The ornaments can be arranged in various patterns and designs, ranging from simple to intricate, depending on personal preference and creativity.

Nail piercing has become increasingly popular as a form of self-expression and artistic decoration, but how did this come about? Scroll down to find out more about the history of this edgy enhancement.

Where Did The Nail Piercing Trend Originate?

While it is challenging to pinpoint an exact origin, nail adornment has been practiced in different forms across different cultures for centuries, and has influenced the world of fashion and body modifications over time. One significant milestone in popularizing nail piercings occurred in the late 1990s when Janet Jackson prominently featured them in her “What’s it Gonna Be?” music video. This exposure helped propel nail piercings into the mainstream consciousness.

The modern nail piercing trend likely gained momentum in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with the emergence of social media platforms and the increased visibility of nail art as a form of self-expression. Nail artists and enthusiasts started pushing boundaries by incorporating unconventional elements like studs, beads, and jewels into their designs, leading to the evolution of nail piercing as a popular trend in contemporary fashion and beauty culture.

Today, nail piercing continues to evolve, with nail gems and studs, newer techniques, jewelry types, and designs. Now, you might be curious to try it yourself, so let us check the costs associated with this trend. Keep reading!

Who Does Nail Piercings And How Much Does It Cost?

A professional preparing a client’s nails for nail piercing
Image: Shutterstock

Nail piercing can be done by various professionals, including nail technicians at salons, and private licensed nail artists. In fact, you can even DIY your nail art decor using a DIY kit. However, when considering who should perform the piercing, it is always important to prioritize safety and hygiene.

For those opting to visit a salon or nail professional, the cost of nail piercing can vary depending on factors such as the parlor location, the expertise of the technician, and any additional embellishments or materials used. Generally, nail piercing services at salons may range from $10 to $50 or more, depending on the complexity of the design, how intricate the nail art is, and the reputation of the salon.

Jada J, a weekly vlogger and YouTuber, shared various snippets from her day, including making breakfast, visiting the doctor for a checkup, and getting her nails done at a salon. In her video, she was quite excited and got herself pom pom nail piercing accessories. Regarding the sparkly holographic nails, she said, “These nails will stay on for up to two months…. Little pom-poms… I really like that, I think it’s really cute. Obviously, I can take it off whenever, and my cat really likes it…. I’m taking the pom pom off for cooking… (i).”

If you choose the DIY nail piercing at home option, you will need to invest in a drill for nail piercing, and any desired embellishments like nail gems or charms or a DIY nail piercing kit. The cost of these tools and materials can vary but may range from $10 to $20 for a basic kit. Keep in mind that DIY nail piercing requires careful attention to detail and a steady hand to ensure safety and avoid damaging your nails.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Before drilling nail piercing holes, try temporary options like nail glue dots or double-sided tape. They let you experiment with jewelry styles risk-free, without the permanent commitment.

Read on to learn what you can expect a nail piercing kit to have and how to use each of those components for some gorgeous nails.

Composition Of A Nail Piercing Kit

A nail piercing kit typically includes various tools and materials essential for safely and effectively achieving nail piercings at home. Below is a list of what you might find in a typical nail piercing kit:

  • Drill Or Piercing Tool: The kit comes with a specialized needle or drill that features a sharp tip. It is designed to create precise holes in the nail for inserting jewelry or embellishments.
  • Cork: A cork is a stabilizing platform for resting your finger during the piercing process. It helps maintain steadiness and minimizes the risk of accidental injuries by providing a stable surface.
  • Ring Holders: These are utilized to secure rings or other jewelry in place while piercing the nails. They prevent movement or sliding and ensure that the hole is accurately positioned and straight.
  • Alcohol Swabs: These are used to sanitize the area around the nail both, before and after piercing. This helps minimize the risk of nail infections and ensures a clean working environment.

A nail piercing kit provides every tool you need to experiment with nail piercings at home. In the next section, we have a detailed guide on how you can safely and effectively pierce your nails at home. We will walk you through each step of the process to ensure you achieve the desired results with confidence. Read on!

How To Do Nail Piercing

French manicure with nail piercings
Image: Shutterstock

Nail piercing adds a unique touch to your nails. Below are the steps on how to do it:

What You Need

  • A piercing tool
  • A towel
  • A cotton swab
  • Nail jewelry, like hoops, dangle earrings, or nail charms
  • Nail polish
  • A top coat


1. Prepare Your Nails

  • Wash the nails to make them soft. If you are apprehensive about piercing your natural nails, you can use artificial nails.
  • Trim your nails and use a nail file to your nails to get the desired shape and length, and make sure you leave a safe distance between the pink part of your nail, i.e.nail bed, and the free edge. Check for ingrown nails and carefully trim them as well.

2. Apply Nail Polish

  • Apply two coats of nail polish on your nails and let them dry completely.
  • Apply a top coat for added durability and an even finish around the piercing area.

3. Drill A Hole

  • Use a piercing tool, and carefully create a tiny hole in your nail. Control the pressure to avoid damaging your nail or traumatizing your nail bed. If your nails are flimsy, consider using press-on nails for added stability. Slowly drill until the hole is through, ensuring you maintain a steady hand to prevent wobbling
  • Place a towel underneath your nail to catch any residue.

4. Add the Jewelry

  • Choose the accessory you wish to pierce into your nail and make sure it fits the size of the opening.
  • If necessary, use pliers to secure jump rings or other chain-style connectors.

5. Finish Up

  • Clean the pierced area with a cotton swab to remove any residue, and you are done!
protip_icon Pro Tip
Switch up your nail piercings seasonally to keep your manicure fresh and on-trend. You can opt for bright and colorful nail gems and charms in the summer months, and transition to metallic or jewel-toned embellishments for a cozy winter vibe.

With these simple steps, you can easily achieve stylish nail piercings at home. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned nail enthusiast, this step-by-step tutorial will guide you through the process of achieving flawless nail piercings.

Now that you have got your nail piercing done, the next question is, how long does it last? Keep reading to find out!

How Long Do Nail Piercings Last?

The longevity of nail piercings depends on several factors, primarily the strength of your nails and your level of activity.

  • If you have gel nails or acrylic enhancements, nail piercings can last for two weeks or more. These accent nails provide added strength and durability to the nail, which helps in maintaining the piercing for an extended period.
  • On natural nails, piercings tend to last for a shorter duration, typically a few days. Natural nails are generally less secure compared to enhanced nails, making them more prone to damage or loss of the piercing.

Regardless of the type of nails you have, it is essential to be cautious and avoid catching the piercing on anything. Furthermore, long-lasting nails are contingent upon your aftercare routine. Let us read the aftercare tips outlined in the following section.

Aftercare Tips For A Nail Piercing

After getting an attractive nail piercing, it is crucial to follow proper aftercare to ensure they heal well and stay intact. For this, you can follow these tips below:

  • If you have natural nails, be extra careful, especially if you work with your hands frequently. Nail piercings can easily catch on objects, potentially causing damage or loss of the piercing.
  • Refrain from applying excessive force or pressure on the pierced nails. Be mindful of your hand’s activities to prevent accidental snagging or pulling of the jewelry.
  • Keep the pierced area clean to prevent infections. Gently clean around the piercing with mild soap and water, or use alcohol swabs to sanitize the area as well as the tools and jewelry.
  • Periodically check the jewelry to ensure it is secure. If you notice any looseness or instability, re-secure it or remove it temporarily to prevent further damage.
  • Consider wearing gloves during activities that may pose a risk to your nail piercings, such as cleaning or gardening. This can help minimize the chances of accidental damage.

Follow these aftercare tips to promote the healing and longevity of your nail piercings while minimizing the risk of complications. Now, let us move forward to the bling aspect of nail piercing. Scroll down to learn about the types of jewelry you can adorn.

Nail Piercing Jewelry

Add bling to your extremities by opting for various styles of nail jewelry, given below:

 Types Of Jewelry Used


If you are looking for small and discreet accessories, go for nail studs. These are classic choices for nail piercings and come in various shapes and designs. You can easily customize your look with varying nail studs, from shiny ones with gemstones to dainty shapes.


If you are into layering, try nail hoops. These rings add a touch of elegance to nail piercings and can be worn alone or paired with other nail jewelry. They can be a subtle tiny ring that matches your abstract nail art, like in the picture, or you get solid nails against which the ring stands out; for instance, you can get blue nails and a gold hoop.


If you are looking for edgy options, opt for the chain style. These drape delicately along the edges of the nail and add visual interest and movement to your manicure.

Tips To Choose The Right Material And Size

  • Size

Make sure you match the size of the pierced hole and jewelry. Jewelry that is too large or small can cause discomfort and damage to your nails.

  • Material

Opt for hypoallergenic materials such as surgical stainless steel, titanium, or gold. Make sure it is safe for your skin and does not cause allergic reactions. Avoid materials that may tarnish or corrode over time, such as nickel or brass.

  • Style

Choose nail jewelry and accessories that complement your personal style and preferences. Whether you prefer minimalist designs or bold statements, there are options available to suit every taste.

Experiment with different styles and designs to create unique and eye-catching nail sets.

Nail piercing is an easy creative outlet for self-expression. Whether you like floral nails and subtle studs or 3D nails with extravagant nail charms, nail piercing art offers a unique opportunity to personalize your manicure and make a bold statement. However, like any beauty trend, safety and hygiene should be your top priority. Whether you are visiting a professional salon or trying it out with a DIY kit at home, ensure proper aftercare and select the right jewelry to minimize any risks. With the right precautions in place, nail piercing can be a fun and stylish way to elevate your nail game and showcase your individuality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is nail piercing painful?

Nail piercing usually is not painful if done correctly. You might feel a little pressure or slight discomfort while creating the hole, but no severe pain.

Are there any risks or complications with nail piercing?

While nail piercing is generally safe when performed by a professional or with proper hygiene practices, there are potential risks and complications. These include infection, damage to the nail or surrounding tissue, and allergic reactions to jewelry materials. It is important to follow aftercare instructions to avoid problems.

How long does it take for a nail piercing to heal?

The healing time for a nail piercing can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s healing process, the type of nail enhancement used, and how well the piercing is cared for. Generally, nail piercings may take a few days to heal completely. Be gentle with your nails and follow aftercare guidelines during this time to help them heal properly.

Can nail piercings be removed, and will they leave a mark?

Yes, nail piercings can be removed and they typically do not leave a permanent mark. However, there may be temporary marks or discoloration on the nail after removing the piercing, especially if it has been in place for an extended period.

Can anyone get a nail piercing, or are there restrictions?

Most people can get nail piercings, but it is good to check with a professional if you have concerns about your nail health or have had nail fungal infections or metal allergies.

Where can I buy a nail piercing kit?

You can find nail piercing kits online or at beauty supply stores. Make sure to choose a reputable seller and carefully read product reviews before making a purchase.

Key Takeaways

  • Nail piercing is a trendy form of self-expression in which a hole is drilled in the nails to adorn them with jewelry or embellishments, like nail gems and charms.
  • The cost of nail piercing services at salons varies depending on location and design complexity, while DIY kits offer a budget-friendly alternative.
  • Prioritizing safety and proper aftercare is essential to minimize risks such as infection or damage to the nails.

Nail piercing is a trendy and fun way to elevate your manicure with nail charms and studs. Check out this easy video tutorial for an exciting nail decoration process so you can elevate your manicure game in minutes.

Personal Experience: Source

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Manjari Uppal

Manjari Uppal Beauty & Lifestyle Writer

Manjari is a beauty and lifestyle writer with over three years of experience in writing across different niches, including beauty, health, wellness, and technology. She first discovered her passion for writing in school and has since honed her craft to perfection. During her post-graduation at Manipal University, Manjari delved deeper into her writing expertise while researching for her thesis. full bio

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