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Are your fall nail colors of choice a deep midnight sky of a foggy coastal morning? Perhaps you're clinging to summer’s Barbie pink, or a petal-inspired neutral better resonates with your energy for the cooler weather? As the seasons switch, an assemblage of fall nail colors help support the shift—and this year, autumnal hues are supported by dreamy shades that echo the natural world.
“Fall is a season for cozying up, and represents comfort and nostalgia,” says nail artist Hang Nguyen, author of Nail Art Deck. “It’s the perfect season to be inspired by colors and art that bring a sense of warmth as the weather cools down.” For Jin Soon Choi, founder of JINSOON, autumn's polish choices are inspired by the runways as well as the world’s organics. “People get inspiration from the changing leaves and weather, but I get mine from the campaigns and fashion shows I work on,” she says. “I’m fortunate to be able to see the latest fashion designs and color palettes firsthand.” Still, Choi says that fall is ultimately down to deep, moody, and earthy hues—though 2023 may see an outlier or two.
Short or long, nail health is a key factor this fall, a manicure-first approach evidenced by the rise of short, minimalist nails and the flawless cuticles achieved via the Russian manicure, currently trending. “A clean manicure with a natural buff is a great way to remove any staining and focus on the health of your nails before delving into the more dramatic nails of the holiday season,” says Mazz Hanna, CEO of Nailing Hollywood. Also trending? A matte finish, which affords the seasons favored polishes a cozy, luxurious feel.
Here, some of the industry’s top nail artists share the fall nail colors that will help to define this fall.
The ballet trend extends to your manicure with a swipe of the right pale pink. “Sheer Fantasy by Essie is the perfect neutral pink for anyone that just wants a clean glossy nail,” says nail artist Steph Stone. "There is less opacity than other neutral pink polishes and it really gives your nails a naturally healthy ‘glowing’ appearance.”
Earthy Olive Greens
Olives made the list of nearly every artist interviewed. “It is neutral enough to go with any outfit but brings a playful element to the look,” says Goldstein, who prefers for CND Vinylux in Cap and Gown. Stone opts for JINSoon’s Green Clay, a lighter olive more reminiscent of Cerignola than Castelvetrano. “This is an easily overlooked color palette, but once you try it on you’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes a favorite.”
Misty Morning Blues
Though the season may be associated with deeper hues, there’s something to be said of the pale hue of changing air. Chanel Le Vernis is Muse is a favorite of Goldstein’s for its atmospheric feel. “This color reminds me of early foggy mornings in the fall, especially in Northern California,” she says. Channel the dreaminess of a chilly beach day with a pale blue/gray hybrid, the color of coastal drives and early a.m. skies.
Autumn’s reds are inspired by foliage and spice, and the best burgundies reflect that season-specific combination. For a solid starting point, Chanel’s Bois Des Isles comes recommended by Stone and Goldstein. “It has the perfect combination of red, brown, and orange undertone,” says Goldstein. “It is intense and rich yet not too deep making it one of my favorite colors for fall.”
“Brown tones, especially warmer ones, create a cozy and comforting feeling that’s ideal for sweater weather,” says Nyguen. Hanna achieves this brand of coziness (think cinnamon, or milk chocolate, or light roast coffee) with a terracotta finished in a matte coat. “It’s one of the more popular colors we are seeing this fall, and the matte topcoat makes it feel warm and cozy,” she says.
Dior’s Vernis Nail Polish in 902 Pied-de-Poule is a go-to for Stone when she’s in want of just the right amount of moody. “This deep blue is perfect for those that prefer a dark nail without going full goth,” she says. “It’s chic without feeling spooky, and leaves lots of color depth to style your outfits around it for the week.” Goldstein achieves a similar effect with Dark and Stormy from Color Department. “This rich, deep navy blue is my favorite to pair with an all black outfit for fall,” she says. “It’s vibrant yet sophisticated and playful.”
Goldstein considers eggshell one of the most sumptuous shades, but this neutral is all about the perfect finish. “I am a big fan of off-white eggshell colors for fall, especially with a matte top coat,” she says, pointing toward Color Department’s Coconut Water. “It reminds me of soft cashmere.”
Barbie-core, just can’t quit you. Though some eschew brighter polish jobs come autumn, Stone is a fan of skirting any and all unofficial style rules, starting with a few coats of Gucci Vernis a Ongles in Valentina Fuchsia—a.k.a. the perfect hot pink. “Pink is forever and this bright will be a youthful pop of color mixed into your fall wardrobe.”