Princess Diana Wore "Glazed Donut Nails" Before It Was Cool

Credit where credit is due.

Diana The Princess Of Wales Attends A Gala Reception & Preview Of Her 'Dresses Auction' At Christies...
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Princess Diana’s iconic looks have stood the test of time. Her oversized sweatshirt and bike shorts combo has become the unofficial cool-girl fall uniform; her feathered bob recently re-emerged as one of the hottest hairstyles; and that black dress paved the way for decades of revenge outfits to follow. She was “the people’s princess” in the truest sense, and her legacy has continued to deliver fashion and beauty inspo to the masses.

Her style was truly ahead of its time — so much so that she happened to wear one of today’s most popular manicure trends 30-plus years before it was given a name. Hailey Bieber may get the credit for making “glazed donut nails” cool, but Princess Diana did it first.

Princess Diana’s Glazed Donut Nails

Lady Di regularly glossed her neutral nails with the sheer, milky shade that’s become synonymous with the still-going-strong glazed donut trend. Though her version of the look was quite similar to what the girlies are wearing now, in true Diana fashion she put her own elegant spin on it. She added pearly French tips, which perfectly coordinated with her signature pearls.

These days, opalescent French manicures have become a TikTok mainstay, as has the short squoval nail shape Princess Diana favored. Talk about trends that have stood the test of time.

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The best news about this simple mani’s resurgence is that it’s very simple to recreate — even for the DIY rookies in the room. Paint a white stripe at the top of your nails (or let your natural tips peek through) and top things off with a sheer, pearly polish like Olive & June’s Frosted Glass ($9) or Manicurist’s Active Shine Top Coat ($16).

Whether you’re headed to a palace or a party, you’ll be ready for wherever the day (or night) takes you.

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The Royal Nail Rules

The Palace reportedly has some fairly strict rules around polish colors, so it makes sense that Diana would choose an understated mani as her go-to. Women in the royal family are generally expected to have short nails in neutral tones — Queen Elizabeth was known for her signature shade of Essie’s “Ballet Slipper” pink. Kate Middleton, on the other hand, frequently pairs her hand-me-down engagement ring (from Diana herself) with buffed, polish-free squovals.

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Despite this (alleged) protocol, Princess Di still managed to have some fun with her manis. On the night of the iconic revenge dress — which happened in lockstep with her separation from the monarchy — she rocked a “rebellious” red.

It quickly became her favorite, marking an era of newfound freedom. Her go-to bold polish? Dior Vernis in Rouge 999 ($32), a shade that’s just as iconic as the woman who wore it.

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To get ahead of the next big beauty trend — whatever that may be — just look back at old photos of Princess Diana. Chances are, she got there first.