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Whether you’re more of a minimal nail art lover or like it full-blown and attention grabbing, find your next nail mood in our autumn/winter edit of the best trends as chosen by top nail artists.
With nail art arguably bigger than it’s ever been before, designs are no longer strictly relegated to certain seasons and themes. September doesn’t need to be the time where we put away our bright summery designs in favour of a more subdued palette (with the exception of Halloween, of course). As we head into the colder months, we’re embracing nails that work across all seasons but can definitely roll over into autumn with ease.
While there’s nothing quite so quintessentially autumnal as tortoiseshell or velvet, more playful designs like rainbow flames can be tailored with different colourways depending on your vibe (all-blue flames are at the top of our list for helping to beat those January blues). If you’re after more minimal designs like the skinny French tips we’ve been seeing everywhere, or a nude base, then we’re classing that as nail art too. We asked our favourite nail artists what trend they’re backing as we head into autumn – get your moodboards ready.
“I would say a skinny French tip using the classic colours: a glossy sheer pink as a base, and a super thin, elegant white tip. The French has been around for years, but this is a more sophisticated version. It’s classy and chic, and can be done on all nail lengths.”
Candy Coat Detailer Brush 11
A teensy tiny thin brush is the key to nailing this look. Dip it into nail polish remover afterwards to clean up any rough edges.
Shop Candy Coat Detailer Brush 11 for £8 at Candy Coat
“The most popular design for summer has definitely been random/mismatching nails. I think it’ll roll over into autumn/winter but with more autumnal designs, like tortoiseshell on one nail or a matt black tip on the other. Plus, Halloween is the perfect time for random designs.”
Ciaté London The Cheat Sheets Garden Party Nail Art Stickers
Fake your way to mismatched nails with these handy nail art stickers.
Shop Ciaté London The Cheat Sheets Garden Party Nail Art Stickers for £12 at Urban Outfitters
“Velvet nails! It’s a repeating autumn/winter trend for sure. It creates so much added depth and texture while still maintaining a soft look.” Ask for velvet nails at your next appointment using OPI’s new (professional use only) Velvet Vision collection.
“An autumnal nail trend I currently love is the chrome French, where your nail professional will burnish a chrome powder into a special type of gel to create a mirror like finish.
Get the look at home using Essie’s Sugar Daddy as a neutral base and Essie Penny Talk to create a metallic tip – it’s a stunning colour that goes on super smoothly.”
Essie Nail Colour in 613 Penny Talk
Get the burnished bronze look without having to head to the salon.
Shop Essie Nail Colour in 613 Penny Talk for £7.99 at Boots
Nails by Mets
“The warm tones are perfect for autumn/winter and there are no rules with this design – you can create a full on tortie, mix it up with negative space or simply have tortoiseshell tips.
No fancy nail art tools are required to recreate this look at home – simply layer a jelly-like orange/brown or mustard (you can create one by mixing with clear polish), use the nail polish brush to dab varying brown shades for the design, then top with the jelly shade and top coat. You can easily add depth with different layers, gold foil details, and even with a matte or suede style top coat.”
Nails Inc Caught in the Nude in Hawaii Beach
The perfect chocolate brown to form the base tones for your tortoiseshell mani.
Shop Nails Inc Caught in the Nude in Hawaii Beach for £8 at Cult Beauty
Telle Moi Nail Lacquer in Melarich
Add dimension and detail with this vegan, deep brown shade.
Shop Telle Moi Nail Lacqeur in Melarich for £8 at Telle Moi
Peacci Nail Polish in Mustard
Not too yellow with a hint of brown, this vegan shade is perfect for mixing with clear into a jelly finish.
Shop Peacci Nail Polish in Mustard for £10 at Peacci
Kaddy From The West
“Retro swirl nails have been one of the biggest nail art trends this year. You can’t get it wrong, it’s a go-with-the-flow design… let your hand take you away. It’s for everyone, from beginners to advanced. It’s cute, fun, and easy to do.”
Gelcare Gel Polish in Jelly Teal
Most jelly polishes are in gel formula (you can try mixing normal polish with clear as per Nails by Mets’ instructions). Gelcare’s is safe for non-professional use and gives a jelly-tastic high shine finish.
Shop Gelcare Gel Polish in Jelly Teal for £20 at Le Manoir
“A rainbow flame is an all time favourite,” says the second half of west London salon Nuka Nails. “You can choose any colourway you prefer. It’s a perfect design to help you perfect your curves and sharp points; this design will push you but keep practicing. Practice makes perfect!”
Shoreditch Nails Nail Polish in The Islington
The perfect happy yellow shade to form the inside of your flame.
Shop Shoreditch Nails Nail Polish in The Islington for £10 at Shoreditch Nails
Dior Nail Lacquer in Orange Sienna
Add some of this fiery orange at the base of your nails to start the flame.
Shop Dior Nail Lacquer in Orange Sienna for £22.50 at Boots
And Other Stories Nail Colour in Sunlit Bubble
Use a fine liner brush to outline the flame with this soft bubble blue.
Shop And Other Stories Nail Colour in Sunlit Bubble for £6 at And Other Stories
“I love these, because there’s no limit to your imagination. When working on a neutral canvas, there’s also no limit to the colors you use. You can just let your creativity flow. Use a thin brush, and if you’re working with normal polish instead of gel, always clean it in acetone before picking up a new colour, or when the polish dries up on the brush to avoid accidental blending.”
Main image: @imarninails