A beauty writer’s 22 favourite neutral nail looks

There’s a time and place for a larger-than-life, maximalist manicure, but for the most part, a chic, versatile look is the goal, one that will work seamlessly with every outfit. 

Neutrals – think sheer satin pinks, expensive taupes, pearly nudes – are by far the most wearable and understated shade group. A luxurious, “your nails but better” design will go the distance, handily making regrowth less conspicuous and not diverting attention from what you’re wearing.

Hello! Fashion shares the neutral nail looks we’re currently crushing on:

Semi-sheer long nails © Instagram / @overglowededit

Lip Gloss Nails

Sheer and sheeny, the lip gloss nails trend has a mesmerising, dewy appeal.

Neutral nail swirls © Instagram / amiri_studio

Minimalist Waves

If you’re after something a little more interesting than a classic block hue, consider a soft, white line art overlay.

Neutral nails pearl accents © Instagram / @matejanova

Minuscule Pearls

Elevate glossy pale pink with tiny, precious accents à la manicurist Mateja Novakovic who used Nail Inc’s 3D pearls to create this look.

Neutral French tips © Instagram / @sansilt

Skinny French

A renewed take on a classic, slender French tips look immeasurably chic, especially on a short, squoval nail.

Neutral squoval nails © Instagram / @globeautysussex

Balletic Square

For an eternally versatile nail design, opt for a ballet slipper shade with a soft, square finish. This look can be adapted in line with your natural skin tone – perfect for minimising the appearance of regrowth in between salon trips.

Square neutral nails© Instagram / @aniawela

Milky Square

For a soft, creamy appeal, lean into the milk bath nail trend with a semi-sheer neutral.

Glazed nails © Instagram / @corrinnabianca

Toffee Glaze

Delicious, moreish and infused with a warm undertone, these toffee-hued nails would look beautiful with a bronzy glow.

Pearly chrome nails © Instagram / @delaxnails

Pearly Chrome

Imbued with a luxe, mesmerising pearlescence, this long almond design is giving coquette, without all the bells and whistles.

Neutral nails with pastel accents © Instagram / @tgbacademy

Pastel Double Cuff

Springy and joyful, this double cuff pastel look gives a neutral base a subtle colour injection.

Neutral nails with line across them© Instagram / @polish_and_pilates

Soft Line Art

A clean, thin line swept over a coconut-hued base shade feels subtle, and distinctly wearable.

Natural-looking nails © Instagram / @raelondonnails

Barely There

Blink, and you’ll miss it, is the vibe for these super natural-looking nails, created using a sheer base and milky white to brighten the tips.

READ: I tried the viral Chrome Nails trend, and I think I’m a convert

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Pink nails © Instagram / @nails.by.elizabeth.m

Round Baby Pink

It’s difficult to go wrong with a flattering, pale pink and short lengths if you’re after a nail look that will suit all manner of outfit colourways.

Neutral nails © Instagram / @joelyoceannails

Almond Milk

Dairy alternatives are getting a lot of flak at the moment, but almond milk is officially the one to beat. Sheer, soft and categorically luxe-looking, we’re into it.

Water drop nails© Instagram / @pearlclarkenails

Hydro Infusion

3D nail art is gaining momentum at the moment following the striking, ornamental Met Gala manicures, but if you’re wanting to dip your toe, try this mesmerising, slightly surrealist, water droplet design.

Swirl neutral nails © Instagram / @lolo.nailedit

Midas Touch

Flecks of gold combined with flowy white linework is a stellar choice if you’re wanting a look that feels pretty, yet still relatively muted.

Brown nails © Instagram / @j.e.m_nails

Cocoa Nails

Exuding cosy depth, an earthy brown can look very chic, especially with a high-shine top coat. 

MORE: Butter nails are this summer’s biggest nail trend

READ: I’m calling it – the American manicure is way more elegant than the French

Vanilla chrome nails © Instagram / @mimimarielle

Vanilla Chrome

If you’re in the mood for a neutral with a more yellowy rather than pink undertone, creamy vanilla works a treat for some gentle contrast against the natural nail. For added drama, opt for chrome powder over the top.

Blush nails © Instagram / @theurbanbeauty

Blush Nails

Obsessed with the pretty, healthy flush of cream blush in your makeup? Hailing from Korea, this glowy pink look, a muted offshoot of the aura nails trend, will hit the spot. 

Brown square nails © Instagram / @lillypalm__

Hot Chocolate Nails

Rich and infinitely tempting, the hot chocolate nails trend looks beautiful with a square shape. Not sure on exactly which shade to go for? Pure Malteser vibes.

Gradient neutral nails© Instagram / @_nailsbyjenn._

Gradient Neutrals

Featuring a gentle colour progression, this design is ideal if you want a look that feels simple, yet still interesting.

Neutral almond nails © Instagram / @nailsbykristen_x

Strawberry Milk Nails

Super similar to the OG milk bath nails look, a pretty alternative is a shade with a hint of pink running through it.

Neutral nails© Instagram / @geisacoelho.nails

Clean Girl Nails

If you love the feel of a manicure but don’t want your nails to look overly done, consider soft, semi-sheer beige and a short, square shape.


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