(The Nail File)

This ‘Boring’ Manicure Color Is The New Nude

Cool, sleek, & moody.

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gray nail ideas

Beauty and fashion go hand in hand. Whether it’s a soft makeup style or a cool hair accessory, it’s not uncommon for runway looks to blossom into viral trends. That same sentiment rings true for nail colors. Take the glossy red tips worn at Proenza Schouler’s Spring/Summer 2024 show, for example. After appearing on the runway, they instantly inspired a range of crimson manicures on Instagram. While a scarlet set never fails, the latest hue to take the spotlight has a minimalist appeal that’s versatile and timeless. Enter the endless sea of gray nail ideas. As one of the season's top sartorial colors, it’s quickly becoming the favorable manicure shade.

Neutral and daring, gray offers a range of options that can be tailored to suit any manicure preference. The icy versions are ideal for the wintery season ahead, but for those who prefer moody manicures, a dark slate, like that seen at 3.1 Phillip Lim’s Spring/Summer 2024 show is the perfect option. There’s even room to get creative with designs. Whether you like to stick to a classic French style or want to play with a fun ombré look, the hue is adaptable.

Ahead, TZR rounded up the best gray nail looks on Instagram to get your creative juices flowing. Scroll through to find your favorite shade and a cool way to update your go-to manicure.

Concrete Gray

On shorter nail-lengths, gray has an enticing appeal. This concrete shade has a soft feel that’s sophisticated and elegant. You could even say it’s the new nude. To nail this look, opt for a creamy and opaque polish. Then, add one layer of top coat to amplify the shine.

Gray Velvet

‘Tis the season for cozy velvet nails. The fuzzy effect is created with a glitter metallic polish that is magnetized to create the illusion of texture. This set uses a deep black shade with flecks of silver that deliver a soft gray hue. Whether you’re headed to a holiday event or are searching for a new seasonal manicure, this look is a showstopper.

Gradient French Manicure

Y2K beauty trends are still going strong. This fresh set embraces the era’s French manicure design and interesting squoval nail shape. To complement the classic white tip, consider creating a gradient look with varying shades of gray. Choose a range of hues from beige and slate to concrete and charcoal and pair them with a pinky nude base.

Silver Chrome

Shiny silver looks are a whole vibe, thanks to Beyoncé and her Renaissance movement. You’ve probably already secured your tickets to the film and locked down your outfit, but this sleek chrome set will take your look to the next level. The mirror-like effect is sure to give you compliments wherever you go.

Pop Art

Looking for a creative manicure that’s also eye-catching? Then look no further than this cool pop art design. In this set, the iconic art style adds an interesting twist to traditional French nails. The key to getting it right is to create a contrasting effect. Use a jet black polish to add the outlines and a matte topcoat to enhance the deconstructed appearance.


This is the kind of nail color that will deliver with every wear. It has a sleek and simple look that’s hard not to love. Like a classic black, a slate-colored polish can easily elevate a solid set. The deep undertones and creamy texture have a smooth finish that’s stylish and refined.

Storm Gray

Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still channel Halle Berry’s iconic Storm vibes. To recreate this look, choose a light-toned gray polish that borders beige. It’s the perfect hue for the base and gives the overall design a soft feel. Then, add a marveled effect with a crisp white polish to two of the nails to unleash your inner Storm.

Rhinestone Embellished

Diamonds are a quick way to zhuzh up any manicure. Yet, they feel extra luxe when paired with a simple gray set. Choosing a smoky shade will create a contrasting effect and allow the crystal stones to pop. But to really amp up the drama, paint each pinky nail with a silver glitter polish.

Gray French Manicure

Bright colors are known to make French manicures pop. But when you want a subtle update to the classic design, opt for a cool gray shade. The neutral undertones of the hue perfectly complement the nude base. It also gives the traditional look an understated feel that’s sophisticated and low-key.

Aura Nails

Aura nails were one of the summer’s biggest trends. Though the temperatures have dropped, this ombré look is still a winner. Instead of a blend of bright hues, this look uses a mix of cool grays ranging from light to dark. For the final touches, add a few gemstones that will give it a glam feel.

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