The 20 Best Winter Nail Colors for 2023, According to Nail Pros and Editors

Valentine's Day reds and thermal colors that'll get you out of your cold-weather slump.

woman's hand with Red Painted Nails for winter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the temperatures dip, so can the desire to utilize your beauty arsenal. The thought of bundling up and emerging from home can be repellant in the coldest weeks of the year, and getting all dolled up to do so sounds even less appealing. Snowflakes in your lashes are a major look killer, and the icy winter wind is going to turn your cheeks the ruddy color of blush anyway, right? But there's good reason to add a little color to your look, even when your inner chill runs deep. And your winter nails are the perfect place to start when it comes to dressing up—or down—this winter.

In 2023, nail trends are all about the return to minimalism. Long gone are the days of bright, cosmic colors, and long coffin shapes made popular by nail artists in 2022. Instead, we're turning to fun finishes, shorter lengths, and more classic styles this year. As for which specific colors to reach for in winter 2023, we turned to LeChat Nails Educator and California-based nail tech, Hemi Park, for her expert opinion on winter 2023's trendiest shades. From lovey-dovey reds to cool, mood-based shades, here are the best winter nail colors to lift you from your cold-weather slump.

Valentine's Day Red-y

The early winter season is all about the day of love, so reds take over the season's nail trends, says Park. You can't go wrong with a classic red shade, or change it up with added shimmer. 

Jelly Toppers

As previously mentioned, one of the biggest nail trends of 2023 are fun and easy finishes. Sure, we've seen the glazed donut look take the internet by storm, but why not try something new this winter with a jelly topper? "Jelly colors are super fun to layer over chrome, foil, glitters, or cat eye nails, and it instantly transforms any light color bases," says Park. When you want to spice up your mani, throw on a layer of one of the shades below for an instant fun look. 

Mood Changers

Do you remember those rings from the early aughts that changed color depending on your mood? Well in 2023, your childhood favorite ring is now in nail form and Park loves the style. "Mood colors are becoming my favorite for chilly winter season because they are temperature-activated and super fun to watch the colors turn into different shades based on whether you’re hot or cold," she explains. Be prepared to do a double-take when you go step out into the cold with these fun color-changing polishes.  

Neutrals Nudes

In the past few years, you may have noticed nudes and pale pinks on the hands of every celebrity and influencer, and according to Park, that trend has no sign of slowing down. "As for an overall winter trend, it seems like everyone is still into nude and sheer pinks, and it’s very much expected given the fact that French nails are still leading the nail trend," she explains. For your go-to nude shade, look for a polish close to your natural skin tone. If sheer pink is more your vibe, Park says to "look for a very sheer peachy pink color, which is absolutely perfect color as a base, layering nude, or by itself." 

Dark Classics

When it comes to seasonal nail colors, there are some shades that are considered staples during the wintertime. Year after year, you can expect to see midnight blues, wine reds, eggplant purples, and simple blacks once the weather gets cold. These dark and moody colors perfectly capture the aesthetic of winter, hence why we turn to them again and again. 

Meet the Nail Tech

Hemi park nail artist portrait
Hemi Park

Hemi hones eight years of nail experience and has built a career and branded herself in nail competitions. She has competed all over the USA attending various nail competitions including Nailpro, Nailympia USA, and NAILS Next Top Nail Artist. Hemi broadened her career horizons from 2019 when immersing herself in the Korean nail industry by organizing and moderating nail competitions and related events. Hemi is known as Sugarplumfairyfingers on social media, runs her private nail studio, and works as a LeChat Nails Educator.

Brooke Knappenberger
Editorial Fellow

Brooke Knappenberger is the Editorial Fellow at Marie Claire, where she writes across the board from fashion and beauty to books and celebrities. As a pop culture junkie, Brooke obsessively consumes and writes about the latest movie releases, streaming TV shows, and celebrity scandals. She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.