With summer slowly coming to an end, it’s time to get a head start on your
fall beauty routine — and that includes fun, new nail colors. In contrast to the nail trends that popped up earlier this year, which included cool patterns and designs like gingham, mismatched florals, tie-dye effects, and more, this upcoming season is all about earthy solids (think moss greens, mustard yellows, and brownish reds), tried-and-true classics (like burgundy and bright red), and subtle shimmers on neutrals and grays, according to top manicurists.
“This season’s strong artistic look takes color cues from the eclectic,” celebrity nail artist
Deborah Lippmann tells Bustle over email, adding that fall’s trendiest nail colors scream “chic elegance with a folky twist.” Colors she’s loving? Hot pink, bright red, caramels, soft fuchsia, and gunmetal with hints of blue and pink shimmer. “These combinations articulate abundance and sophistication,” she says. “And [they’re] the colors that light the sky and explode at sunset.”
Julie Kandalec, nail artist to stars like Gigi Hadid and MJ Rodriguez, fall will include rich jewel tones and velvety silks, as well as romantic colors “reminiscent of fall foliage,” like burgundy and mauve. The pro calls out Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, and Billie Eilish as celebs to watch for mani inspiration.
Below, Lippmann, Kandalec, and more top nail artists share their picks and predictions for the best
fall 2021 nail polish colors. Mossy Green
“Green in general has been
big all year,” says Brittney Boyce, Nails of LA founder and nail artist to Megan Fox and Kehlani. “But for fall, we'll see more muted, neutral green shades rather than bold Kelly greens or lime greens. The mossy green looks gorgeous across a lot of skin tones, [and] has an earthy, grounded vibe to it. Boyce specifically calls out Orly’s “Wild Willow” as a solid option. Helen Phillips, Sephora Collection’s national makeup artist, agrees, pointing to shades of olive, seaweed, and sage as greens to go for this fall. To go the extra mile, she recommends using Sephora Collection’s Manicure Nail Tool Kit, “a chic kit with six essential tools for a DIY mani at home or an on-the-go touch-up.” Pumpkin Orange
“Orange has been extremely popular this summer,” says
Lexi Suga, nail artist and owner of Notox Nails in Beverly Hills, “so I imagine it will trickle into fall as well, but in deeper shades such as burnt orange and warm browns.” Her pick? Cirque Colors in “Bowery.”
Rather than summer-friendly juicy tangerine shades, fall will see more harvest-like pumpkin hues, adds Boyce. “[They’re] warmer and very comforting. I don't want to call it ‘pumpkin spice orange’ as the orange we’ll see this fall isn't quite as bright and rich. It's more grounded and still.” Her go-to is “
Lion's Ear” by Orly. Red-Toned Brown
Rather than choosing between red or brown (both of which are equally fall-friendly), try a hybrid hue. Kandalec calls out “
Mexi-Cocoa” from MiniLuxe — a shade that resembles the richness of Mexican hot cocoa — as one of her favorite shades in the category. “This red-toned brown pays tribute to everything there is to love about Mexico’s rich history of food and culture,” she says. Shimmery Neutrals
Put a spin on a neutral look by opting for a shade with just the slightest hint of sparkle.
Jenny Bui, Cardi B’s nail technician and OPI’s artistic ambassador, recommends OPI’s “Metallic Composition,” a dreamy, shimmery rose gold, as a great upgraded neutral.
“Rose gold is always popular [for fall] for its warmth and metallic shine,” adds Suga, who suggests
“Rose-ay All Day” by Ella+mia. Opaque Nudes
Fall is a great time to play with creamy nudes, according to
Mimi D. “My favorite nail for daring fall patterns like plaid is a full-coverage nude, also known as ‘mannequin nude,’” she says. “It keeps the focus on the fashions while providing a clean, crisp nail look. Her choices include “ Taylor” by Zoya and “ Brown & Bougie” by Mented. Burgundy
Elina Ogawa, nail artist to stars like Saoirse Ronan and Karlie Kloss, elegant burgundy is the way to go. She specifically reaches for Chanel’s “Interdit” — a chic blood-red. “It’s dark enough, but not too dark so that you can see the beautiful color on your nails,” the pro says.“You’ll feel like autumn looking at these nails.” Mustard Yellow
It wouldn’t be fall without crisp, yellow leaves. Mimi D points to mustard yellow as a shade you’ll surely see come autumn. “It reminds me of the changing leaves,” she says, adding that while the color is great on its own as a solid, it’s also a fun option for a
French manicure or another nail art pattern. “It pairs well with a lot of different colors and can also serve as a neutral when selecting outfits.” Plus, she adds, it’s perfect for deeper skin tones. Metallics Metallic nail polish is back, if you hadn’t heard, and it’s going to be everywhere come fall. Lippmann touts the “mineral richness” of metallic grays, adding that she specifically goes for “I’m Coming Out”— a gunmetal gel from her eponymous brand — as her favorite option due to its blue and pink shimmer.
Alternatively, expand your metallics and go for a dark metallic green, suggests Suga, “because it’s edgy and chic for the fall season.”
Orly’s “Retrograde” is good for this. Bright Red
“This season we’re seeing both a burst of color combined with muted fall colors which is a nice contrast,” says Lippmann. To offset the earthier tones mentioned above, she recommends opting for a classic bright
red shade, like “She’s a Rebel” by Deborah Lippmann.
Suga touts blue-toned reds as recurring classics for fall, pointing specifically to
Chanel’s “Terre Brûlée” as one of her faves for the season. Warm Berry
“In general, muted opulent colors are big this season,” says Boyce. Instead of a bright fuchsia shade, go for a berry-ish shade “that's just warmer, more inviting, yet still really eye-catching.” Her fave?
Orly’s “String of Hearts.” Gray Lilac
Springtime might come to mind when you think of soft lilac, but Suga loves the delicate purple shade during the transitional season from spring to winter. “Grayish lilac is a nice, soft color and the hue of the gray makes it a beautiful color to wear in the fall as the weather cools down,” she says.
To get the look, consider
“Lilacism” by Essie, which will look great on your toes as well as your fingers.