The 8 Best Nail Colors in 2023, According to a Nail Expert

From reflective chrome to baby blues and pinks.

A model at first look backstage at the Kim Shui fashion show during the February 2023 New York Fashion Week at Capitale on February 12, 2023 in New York City
(Image credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images)

Nails are the finishing touch to any outfit. Whether you’re someone who changes their nail color on a weekly basis or picks one or two shades a season and rotates them, you know the power of a fresh manicure. We at Marie Claire have already covered 2023’s biggest nail trends at length, so I’m here to talk to you specifically about the trendiest nail colors of the year. 

To do so, I’ve spent the last few months zooming in on many a red carpet image and taking a mental note of the most popular shades. Oh, and I turned to an expert in the field for their opinion: Jan Arnold, co-founder of nail polish brand CND. Ahead, Arnold and I break down a few of the most pervasive nail color trends from the first half of the year.

Trending Colors

“This season there a few different trending themes that we’re seeing in the nail world: on one end, "clean girl" nails and versions of "your nails but better" continue to trend,” says Arnold. Think of this as an extension of the quiet luxury look that has slowly but surely crept into our wardrobes over the first half of the year. 

However, just like the contradiction between the rise of subtle muted tones alongside the continuation of bolder, Barbiecore-adjacent trends in the fashion world—Mermaidcore! Coastal Cowgirl!—spring and summer 2023’s nail trends have grown to include a few bold color options, too. “We see the bold and daring show a need for fantasy and fun, leaning into shimmer, holographic patterns, and reflective chromes,” Arnold continues. 

And while you could wear any of these fun colors on their own, Arnold suggests playing with patterns. “These bold shades are wonderful alone, but are extra beautiful when used in a design—think geometric color blocking pattern, exaggerated silhouettes, or even something more abstract,” she says.

If you’re interested in playing with color but don’t want to necessarily go for a reflective shade, there are a host of cult-favorite nail colors that are trending right now. Black nails, which typically trend in the fall and winter months, have been spotted on Olivia Rodrigo of late. Blood-red nails have popped up on Rihanna and Kate Middleton (to much fanfare) recently, and, as always, fresh and clean white nails are a summer hit—but Cardi B is making a strong case for wearing them into the fall and winter seasons, too. 

Your-Nails-But-Better Nude

Kendall Jenner attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City

(Image credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Clean girl beauty is coming for our nails. Follow Kendall Jenner's suit and go for sheer or neutral nail colors that compliment your skin tone to elongate your hands. Similarly, French tips have risen in popularity. 

Chrometastic

Storm Reid attends the amfAR Cannes Gala 2023 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 25, 2023 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/amfAR/Getty Images for amfAR)

(Image credit: Pascal Le Segretain/amfAR/Getty Images for amfAR)

Chrome nails have popped up on the red carpet on actresses like Storm Reid. "What distinguishes this palette from other seasonal collections and trends is the color travel they carry with them," says Arnold. "At first glance, you’ll see a note of green and then catch them off guard in a different light for a shimmering journey. Elevating core colors with dimension and texture.”

Not-Your-Baby Blues

: Hailey Bieber attends as Tiffany & Co. Celebrates the reopening of NYC Flagship store, The Landmark on April 27, 2023 in New York City

(Image credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co)

Blue nails are unexpectedly cool for 2023. Bright blue shades appeared on the hands of Hailey Bieber, while Taylor Swift wore an inkier blue option on the Grammys red carpet

Bright White

Cardi B is seen during the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023/2024 as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 03, 2023 in Paris, France

(Image credit: Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images)

White nails are synonymous with summertime, but I dare you to wear them with your fall and winter looks for the rest of the year. Emma Chamberlain, Megan Thee Stallion, and Cardi B have all rocked them with their outfits recently. Cardi B wore hers with an all-black outfit, so consider her look an easy fall and winter outfit-and-nail formula. 

Think Pink

Ice Spice attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City

(Image credit: Noam Galai/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images))

Call it the onset of Barbiecore, but pink nails are everywhere. Ice Spice, for one, rocked long baby pink nails at the Met Gala this year. Follow her lead and go for a sweet pale pink manicure if you're feeling more demure, or switch it out for a hotter pink color. 

Back in Black

olivia rodrigo performs onstage during the 65th GRAMMY Awards at Crypto.com Arena on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, Californi

(Image credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Black nail polish has a bad-girl reputation, but it's one of my favorite chic shades for this season. From Rita Ora's bedazzled manicure at this year's Met Gala to Olivia Rodrigo's classic short nails at the Grammys, black nails are back in a big way for 2023. 

Flamin' Red

Rihanna at the 95th Annual Academy Awards held at Ovation Hollywood on March 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California

(Image credit: Lexie Moreland/WWD via Getty Images)

Since the so-called "red nail theory" trended—the line of thought which posits that wearing red nail polish will get you more attention from potential romantic partners—red nails have taken over the red carpets. Celebrities like Charli XCX, Rihanna, and Kylie Jenner have all worn in recent months. While a bright cherry red is popular in the warmer months, deeper maroon shades will no doubt trend again in the fall and winter. 

Pattern Play

Halle Bailey attends the UK Premiere of "The Little Mermaid" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on May 15, 2023 in London, England

(Image credit: Lia Toby/Getty Images)

Patterns on your nails have become easier and easier to do at home now thanks to the array of press-on nails. You can go for something subtle (think—a toe-toned option) or go for a 3D look like the one Halle Bailey wore on the red carpet at the Little Mermaid premiere in London. 

Meet The Expert

Jan Arnold
Jan Arnold

CND Co-founder, Jan Arnold, is a pioneer in the world of beauty. With a career that has spanned over 40 years, Jan has become an unparalleled leader in the nail industry, specifically championing the Nail Professional while providing innovative, quality products rooted in nail health, safety and style.

For more than 27 years, CND’s top Education Ambassadors and Nail Professionals have adorned runway models ’fingertips and ignited trends from New York to London, Paris, and more. The company has collaborated with many of fashion’s most desirable designers, including The Blonds, Libertine, Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Carolina Herrera, just to name a few. As a result, nails have become the ultimate fashion accessory around the world, elevating Nail Professionals to an all-time high. Jan is also a founding Board Member of Beauty Changes Lives (BCL), a foundation committed to elevating, educating and exposing the richness of a career in professional beauty. She led an effort to raise scholarship donations for aspiring Nail Professionals through the creation of the BCL CNDTM Tippi Hedren Nail Scholarship Fund and for licensed Nail Professionals with the BCL CNDTM Masters Scholarship Fund, which has raised a total of over $400,000 to-date.