Nail trends are cyclical. Look at the French manicure resurgence (with a modern twist, of course) or the adoration for nail art. The current state of the manicure union however is best defined as a return to the basics. The biggest fall nail trends for 2023 don’t require a skilled and steady hand capable of geometric designs or the need for gemstone application on a pair of acrylics. In fact, we’re looking at just the opposite.
In line with the quiet luxury aesthetic and guided by what we saw on the spring/summer 2024 runways, the trending polish shades and nail shapes are understated and effortless. There’s a dash of ‘90s inspiration in the mix, while juxtaposition, which proved to be a big movement in the makeup and fashion realms (think: Barbenheimer or goth glam), is holding its own across the category.
To get the full breakdown on the fall 2023 nail and manicure trends you can expect to see here on out, read ahead. Top nail artists are breaking down exactly what you need to know.
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We’ve seen a grunge-goth aesthetic come to the forefront—just look at Naomi Campbell’s new side-swept bangs or the slept in makeup at Tibi’s runway show. Nails, unsurprisingly, are following suit. “The classic hue of the 90’s is back,” says Rita Remark, Essie’s Global Lead Educator. “It’s not quite black, and not quite red, but deep vampy nails are the perfect complement to cooler, moody weather.”
You’ll want a black or brown shade with a hint of crimson or violet peaking through. “This complements all skin tones and is both stylish and timeless,” adds celebrity nail artist and founder of JINSOON Jin Soon Choi. “It is a great way to add a touch of sophistication to your fall wardrobe.” In fact, the brand was responsible for a similar look at Michael Kors Fall 2023 and Brandon Maxwell earlier this month.
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Long nails in almond and coffin shapes made up the large majority of 2023 thus far, but as Fall comes into full force, it’s clear the tides are turning. “Shorter, squoval nails are in for the fall. They’re super easy to maintain and are the perfect pairing with a darker nail colour (see above),” notes Remark. “A short nail works best with dark polish because it prevents your nails from looking like talons.” Essentially this color-cut combination is a dream team.
As an added bonus, keeping nails on the shorter side is a great way to amplify the strength of brittle, thin nails.
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Hailey Beiber’s nail influence persists—the chrome and diamond dustings are only getting more powerful over the next few months. “We’ll be seeing a lot more texture and depth in our polish,” notes Remark. “Shifting iridescent, chrome, and frost are all back.”
The twist you’ll see on the trend this season? Creamy polish shades are tantamount. Seek out hues that appear to have a milky white undertone. If you can’t seem to locate the perfect shade—make your own. Mix CND's Studio White or OPI's Alpine Snow with a hue of your choice.
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“Browns of every shade are the new neutral,” says Remark. “From espresso to latte, brown goes with absolutely everything.” You can start with more of a creamy nude at the start of the season and work your way to a rich cocoa just in time for November.
The shade variation is vast, making it easy to find a hue that works with your skin’s undertones. There are browns with red undertones (ideal for warm undertones), ones that border on black, and even brownish-pinkish hues (great for cool undertones).
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This season, black is proving that it can’t be challenged as the classic we associate with cooler weather. While you simply can’t go wrong with a solid wash of color, Jin recommends an ombre twist to elevate your manicure into editorial territory. In fact, it’s exactly what she did for the Proenza Schouler FW2023 runway. “It’s a truly artistic look,” she explains. To recreate the vibe, you’ll need one coat of sheer polish, which will be followed by a black gradient. “Apply the black to a makeup sponge and dab it from the nail tips up to one-third of the nails to create an ombre effect,” she notes.
Sheer and Simple
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Look at any recent red carpet: Sheer, barely-there dresses are very much in vogue. Nails follow suit this season, with see-through shades proving their staying power. “Sheer fashion represents a high-fashion, clean, and fresh look,” explains Jin. To emulate the flattering, seductive aesthetic on your manicure, opt for a nail polish that isn’t too opaque.
Meet the Experts
Jin Soon knows nails. Inspired by her continuing work as a top runway artist and nail spa founder, this line is for discerning clientele who know that nail polish can be both non-toxic and long-lasting. Sixty+ shades to compliment all skin tones and moods. An homage to Jin Soon’s love of abstract expressionism and to all the models and clientele who enjoy her lustrous shades.
A woman-owned business made in the USA. Non-toxic, 21-free, cruelty free, vegan friendly, UV-protected.
Nails are the ultimate canvas for Rita Remark, a celebrity manicurist and essie Global Lead Educator. Her art school background serves a solid foundation for her current creations, which can be found on the world’s biggest stars (including Serena Williams, Meghan Markle, Kendall Jenner, Cindy Crawford, and Kaia Gerber), the most prestigious runways (like Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Brandon Maxwell, Christian Siriano, and Erdem), and the glossy pages of fashion magazines (Vogue Korea, Grazia USA, CR Fashion Book, Elle India, and Cosmopolitan Germany to name a few). She recently transferred her talents from Toronto to New York City and the Canadian hasn’t stopped turning heads with her gorge and graphic work since touchdown. Here, she shares her no-fail red, the nail care product everyone needs, and how many bottles of polish currently reside in her NYC apartment.
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Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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