Lava lamp nails
photo: Instagram

The year was 1999, and lava lamps were more popular than ever. Cool kids everywhere were begging their parents to purchase the psychedelic light fixtures and would sit enamored with the slow gel-like movement of their glowing inner contents. Kids would compare their lamps with other kids', and arcades like Dave & Busters couldn't keep lamp prizes on the shelves as hundreds of lucky gamers flocked to redeem their tickets.

Fast forward 20 years, and the lava lamp fad is making a comeback. But this time, it's not on nightstands — it's on nails. #LavaLampNails is trending on Instagram, and it's giving us all feelings of nostalgia. Ahead, check out some of our favorite takes.


"Lava lamp nails!! Let's start a trend! #lavalampnails," the nail artist wrote on Instagram. "Have wanted to do something like this for like a year and finally did it using @the_gelbottle_inc 'Cosmopolitan' and 'Bellini'. My inspiration was very much re sparked by @yaaas_get_nailed who recently did some hot af aquarium nails. They do hot stuff. P.s no filter I promise. Just sunlight!"

But guess what else? These nails move!

Yep, some nail experts have gotten creative and found a way to make the designs not only imitate the appearance of a lava lamp but made them imitate the movement as well! Watch closely as the gel-like texture of the polish rhythmically shifts slowly from one side of the nail to the other.


This lava lamp art got a colorful neon twist with one hand being a mix of green and blue while the other blended pink and yellow in an effortless gradient. "Baby I’m just rappin to this L $ D. Inspired by @asabree and made it more Lava Lamp-y using @the_gelbottle_inc," the artist said about the psychedelic look. 


This Connecticut YouTuber even made a tutorial of how to create the innovative nail look.

"Cool Lava Lamp Nails! Let's start a trend! Original idea from @liampeternails @yaaas_get_nailed. Tutorial suggested by @nailsbymeech now on YouTube. These were so fun to make, I can't even tell you," the artist said.


Some have gotten even more creative and made the nails glow! 

"Lava lamp inspired! Love it when people bring me the coolest ideas! Matched with the perfect tie dye stamps! ps. they glow in the dark too! (of course it’s gorgeous today and my curtains are sheer, sooo you can kinda see it!" this nail master said.


For those who aren't as skilled at manicuring, this one's for you. To re-create this look, simply lightly trail the tip of a nail polish applicator in a neon color along the rim of the nails. To add variety, simply switch up the locations in which you start the dripping motions. 

"Having a lava lamp moment," this Colorado nail tech said. 


Lava lamps don't always have to be shiny, just take it from this nail technician who gave the design a matte twist. 

"Some funky lava-lamp nails, I used the @opinailsuk Sheer Tints and some matching cremes for the design. What do you think?" the UK nail artist said of the matte look that she found on Pinterest.