In 2021, after 18 months of limited social events and outside activity, anything goes — especially when it comes to your nails. This fall, the mantra is out with the old, in with the new. Sure, the traditional chocolate browns, moody reds, somber neutrals, and brick orange shades will remain staples, but you will also see a large carryover of bright nail colors from the summer. And as nail art was one of the only available forms of self-expression up until recently (thanks, COVID), all the styles that you experimented with are still in full trend mode.
First up? After appearing all over Instagram feeds for the last six months, “colored French manicures are here to stay,” says Evelyn Lim, chief educator at Paintbox. Similarly, Lim predicts there to be a few unexpected twists in our future, explaining, “[Clients] are requesting crisp French manicures and wavy designs alternating in shapes and colors.” Playing with a design is ideal for trying out the best new fall color trends, and keeping your manicure feeling extra special — but a monochrome nail is also timeless if that’s more your speed.
And sure, every season has its own gorgeous aesthetic, but fall in particular has such a great assortment of rich colors and textures to test out. From calming yet muted earth tones, to bolder-than-ever statement colors, to glitter and shimmer for an instant mood boost, there is no shortage of must-have options to choose from. Ahead, the eight most popular nail color trends you’ll be itching to wear in a couple weeks. Plus, shop the polishes that will help you get the look.
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Fall Nail Colors: Deep Nudes
After a chaotic year, some are finding solace in the familiar, which is exactly what the deep nude trend will do this fall. Nudes have an elegant, clean look, and selecting a slightly deeper tone is a great refresh for the season. And if you do want to play it up, Chaun Legend, celebrity nail artist, suggests adding in some minimal nail art or a design if you’re looking for an additional pop.
Fall Nail Colors: Brunettes Have More Fun
Brown nail polish hadn’t been getting the love it deserved until winter 2020, and it has grown an even larger following this year, making its way to a top fall 2021 color. Chocolate brown, tan, or taupe will look cool, feel warm, and work on a variety of different skin tones.
Fall Nail Colors: Merlot
Deep and mysterious reds for fall? Groundbreaking. But actually, since the traditional fall color has surged in popularity this year. “The biggest fall nail colors are deep berry hues like an Oxblood or Merlot,” says Lim. Mysterious and elegant nails are the way to go.
Fall Nail Colors: Marigold Yellow
A very unexpected fall color (but certainly one to keep on your radar), bright yellow hues that are traditionally worn in the summer have carried over to the fall. The color capitalizes on the vibrant cheerful vibe it brings.
Fall Nail Colors: Shimmer
Emily H. Rudman, founder of Emilie Heathe and creator of the custom nail art for the Pyer Moss Couture Fall 2021 collection, believes that shimmer will be alive and well this season. “With everyone’s attitudes and moods shifting due to the ongoing pandemic, we’re predicting, shimmer, and lots of it.”
Fall Nail Colors: Green With Envy
“This fall, the colors are changing — not just on the trees, but for nail polish colors, too,” says Helen Phillips, national artist for Sephora Collection. “We’re seeing greens become super popular, in every shade you can think of, from olive and sage to chartreuse and seaweed — even layered together.” Adds Legend, “Metallic emerald, especially matted gives such a different (and needed) look for fall.” Whether you like a lighter shade or a dreamy, deep emerald green, you can’t go wrong with this manicure.
Fall Nail Colors: Barely There
Sheer nails, or no polish at all, is trending big for fall. To test the trend, brighten up your natural fingertips with a milky white gloss. It’s minimalism at its finest.
Fall Nail Colors: Mixy, Matchy
When you can’t decide which fall nail polish shade to rock, or you simply prefer a rainbow assortment at that moment — sport a different color on each nail. “I’m all about mixing and matching,” says Legend. “Gimme a hot pink nail and a green toe — they want it loud.”