Fall is often associated with change and starting afresh. The beloved season signals the switch-up of just about everything, from the clothes we wear to the Spotify playlists we make, not to mention to the lunch menu at Sweetgreen. For many, the shift to autumn also brings the opportunity to give the light, playful pastels and neons of summer manicures a break, and move onto a new batch of more seasonally appropriate nail colors.
And while go-to fall makeup shades haven't really changed in decades — think deep violets, rich reds, subtle browns — the trendy current shades popping up on the radar of experts and anyone glued to their Instagram feeds alike strike the perfect balance between refreshing and familiar. According to the pros, we'll be seeing a strong wave of new neutrals, like stark black and creamy gray, as well as deep wine-inspire tones and even some all-over glitter — rendered in a totally chic, non-tacky way (we promise).
Ahead — with the help of backstage nail pro Jin Soon Choi, celebrity manicurist Gina Alcedo and Paintbox creative Eleanor Langston — we've highlighted seven of the most popular nail-shade trends of the moment. Start experimenting now, and then keep wearing them all winter long.
If the color black is an important part of your usual #personal #brand, maybe this feels like a no-brainer. But if it's not, this season is the perfect time to give it a test run. According to Choi, black fits the bill when you want to evoke power, especially with a high-gloss finish. "I predict growing popularity of black shades this fall — [it's] the ultimate gender-free nail polish shade," she says. "It's very hip and high-fashion, so it works in any context in which you feel bold, confident and in control." Lean all the way in with jet-black, or reach for something more subdued and matte.
Denim is a big deal all of the time, but that's especially true in the fall. And its impact isn't limited to the perfect light jacket or jeans — it's alive and well in the beauty space, too. According to Langston, denim-hued nail polishes are "a modern neutral that goes with everything," much like actual denim. This trend also caters to a variety of different aesthetics, with tones ranging from slate blues with gray undertones to more vibrant indigos.
"If we say pure white is good for summertime, pearly white is the ideal seasonal shift to fall," says Choi. She explains that the iridescent finish "adds an elegant dimension" that's ideal for ushering into a new season — and she's not wrong. Opal shades add a truly regal upgrade to a basic, neutral manicure.
"As the weather gets colder and it gets darker earlier, people reach for colors, not just foods, that are rich and warming," says Alcedo. "Merlots and burgundies are very traditional for this time of year for that reason." And while the shade may be traditional, it certainly won't feel tired.
Is this an oxymoron? Maybe. But according to Choi, the best of fall's glitter shades don't include hi-shine, but still pack a punch. "Silver, gold [or] any non-shiny glitter shades atop any color are great to be worn alone, or as a part of nail art without requiring any effort."
Behind pumpkin spice, cinnamon is one of autumn's supreme flavors. As it turns out, it also makes for an equally great nail color: "It's deep, but not so dark that it reads black, and rich with caramel undertones." Whether you go for a more brick-colored polish, or something softer with ginger undertones, Langston shares that any cinnamon shade will make for the perfect, modern and unexpected neutral.
Another big contender for the season? Underrated grays. "Their moody, smoky undertones pair well with somber fall clothing," says Choi, also noting that the color is a perfect match for the grunge fashion that is so popular as of late. Maybe the best part of this trend is just how chameleon-like it can be, with some of its best shades varying in undertones from lavender to black.
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