Nail Art Is Over, Guys. It's Over.

This past summer, we posed the question, "Is nail polish dying a slow death?" Five months later, we have a definitive answer: Yes -- and faster than we realized.
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Nora Crotty
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This past summer, we posed the question, "Is nail polish dying a slow death?" Five months later, we have a definitive answer: Yes -- and faster than we realized.
Creatures of the Wind F/W 2013 nail art. Photo: Fernando Leon/Getty Images for CND

Creatures of the Wind F/W 2013 nail art. Photo: Fernando Leon/Getty Images for CND

This past summer, we posed the question, "Is nail polish dying a slow death?" Five months later, we have a definitive answer: Yes -- and faster than we realized.

Advertising Age has published some bleak figures detailing just how hard times have been recently for the once booming business of nail art. Global beauty product manufacturer Coty, which produces OPI and Sally Hansen, reports that nail polish sales fell 4 percent in the third quarter in 2013. The same time last year, sales were up 21 percent. Drugstore brands Revlon and L'Oreal have been hit hard as well, with polish sales falling 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in October and November.

A Google Trends graph (below) confirms that online interest in nail polish has been on the decline as well, peaking in the U.S. in July 2012.

According to Consumer Edge Research, the end of nail art has taken its toll on the entire beauty industry, with growth in the U.S. market falling from 2 percent to 0.9 percent growth between this year's first and third quarter. Growth was down another 0.5 percent in October, with the decreased sale of nail products and beauty appliances as the leading factor.

Consumer Edge analyst Javier Escalante summed up the falling numbers to AdAge thusly: "[Nail art] was a fad." He also clarifies that, while the nail polish industry has certainly suffered as a whole, it's those special effects, novelty products -- textured and magnetic polishes, crackle top coats, nail art pens, patterned nail wraps, etc. -- that have taken the hit worst of all.

IN SUMMATION: If you still haven't said sayonara to your caviar and broken glass manis at this point, you're truly the last of a dying breed. We'd highly recommend giving your poor weighed-down digits a rest. And for those of you in denial that your precious 3D Hello Kitty nail art could soon become a segment on I Love the 2010s? You might want to stock up before it's too late. We have a feeling all those blingy bottles of holographic sequin glitter polish won't be lining your local beauty supply store's shelves for much longer.