Bring on the crunchy leaves, cozy vibes, warm scents and hearty food — fall is officially here! While you’re planning your fall candle buy and shopping for new sweatsuits or leather jackets, consider how to make some seasonal changes to your beauty routine too — all the way down to your nails.
Celebrity manicurist Tom Bachik says that “manicures are a great way to express yourself.” He explains that the color you wear helps to express your mood in a noncommittal way — whether you’re feeling sassy, sexy, moody or anything in between. Bachik thinks of nails as the “exclamation point at the end of the sentence.”
Naturally, it can be quite intimidating to do your own manicure, let alone nail designs, yourself at home — especially if you don’t consider yourself particularly artistic. Start with picking a design to try. Celebrity manicurist Jolene Brodeur says, “Instagram and Pinterest are always great to find inspiration. YouTube, TikTok and Instagram have great tutorial videos from a range of experts” that can guide you. From there, content creator David Ruff says, “Don’t sweat it — that’s what nail polish remover is for!” Mistakes are normal, and honestly to be encouraged with nail art.
With this in mind, keep reading to discover this season’s top colors and designs to experiment with.
Best fall nail color trends
Sandy white: “White is a fan favorite in the summer, and when fall comes around, people have a hard time giving it up. Because of this, subtle, sandy whites will become a go-to,” says Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of New York City’s membership-based nail studio Glosslab. “It goes with everything and is the perfect color if you’re not quite ready to let go of summer.”
Sundays Nail Polish No. 43 ($18; dearsundays.com)
We’d reach for this shade by nontoxic nail care brand Sundays year-round.
Essie Nail Polish in Marshmallow ($8.99; target.com)
A bit more muted than a traditional white is Essie’s Marshmallow nail polish — a stunner you can pick up on your next Target beauty run.
Warm browns: “As your summer tan begins to fade, we see warm browns rising. Browns are a great alternative to dark grays and are more subtle than a jet black,” says Glass.
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color in Buff and Tumble ($5.99; ulta.com)
“I love the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Collection because it makes at-home manicures so easy — especially for someone constantly on the go,” says Ruff. “The polishes take 60 seconds to dry and already have a base and top coat built in for maximum efficacy and gloss!”
Lights Lacquer Nail Polish in The Butler ($9.50; lightslacquer.com)
Lights Lacquer is a favorite of Julie Kandalec’s, celebrity manicurist, author and owner of Julie K. Nail Artelier. She’s seeing lots of camel tones this fall — most notably the brand’s polish in the shade The Butler, which is described as brown with orange undertones.
Bold and soft blues: “Bold blues can provide a much-needed departure from your usual without straying too far from the moody fall vibes,” explains Glass.
Nailboo Dip Powder in Comet Me ($14, originally $24; nailboo.com)
Celebrity manicurist Mar Y Sol recommends this Nailboo dip powder in Comet Me if you have the blues.
Deborah Lippmann Iconic Treatment-Enriched Nail Polish in Blue Orchid ($18; sephora.com)
Sol is seeing “soft blue hues that resemble denim,” like the Deborah Lippmann nail polish in the shade Blue Orchid.
Moody reds: “Red is always a classic we see customers going back to, but this fall, I think we’ll see people leaning toward deep reds,” explains Glass. “It’s classy, chic and can elevate any outfit.”
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Rogue Noir ($28; nordstrom.com)
“This fall we will be seeing a lot of dark, sultry colors,” says celebrity manicurist Thuy Nguyen. In fact, this deep red by Chanel is one of her most requested colors.
Essie Nail Polish in Wicked ($7.05; amazon.com)
If you want a deeper red for a fraction of the cost, look toward Essie’s nail polish in the shade Wicked that’s also a top-requested polish of Nguyen’s.
Muted opulence: “In general, muted opulent colors are big this season. This instead of a bright, jewel-toned fuschia shade, you have a berry-ish shade that’s just warmer, more inviting, yet still really eye-catching,” says celebrity nail artist and founder of Nails of LA, Brittney Boyce.
Orly Nail Lacquer in String of Hearts ($9.50; orlybeauty.com)
Specifically, Boyce would look toward the shade String of Hearts by Orly for a deep fuchsia reminiscent of fall florals.
Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish in Scoot Scoot ($8.99; target.com)
Brodeur is seeing Essie’s Quick-Dry polish in the shade Scoot Scoot trending this fall — a deep plum that’s more muted than its richer purple counterparts.
Muted pinks: “Neons were very in this summer and this fall; we’re expecting people to continue wanting a pop of color, but more muted to align with the cooler weather. Muted pinks are a great way to add subtle color to your outfit,” says Glass.
Opi Nail Lacquer in Put It in Neutral ($10.50; ulta.com)
Fall neutrals are a real thing. If you’re looking for a departure from the browns and reds, opt for a muted pink like Opi’s Put It In Neutral, which is recommended by celebrity manicurist Sreynin Peng.
Opi Nail Lacquer in Do You Take Lei Away? ($10.50; amazon.com)
Peng also recommends Opi’s polish in the shade Do You Take Lei Away?, which is the perfect creamy, pink nude.
Dark and moody: “Taupe-y grays are always a good neutral shade for the fall,” says Boyce. “It’s moodier, like gray clouds in the morning, but still versatile for a good daily nail.”
Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Stockholm Syndrome ($18; smithandcult.com)
Described as an opulent elephant gray, Smith & Cult’s polish in Stockholm Syndrome would be Boyce’s pick to achieve this trend.
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color in Black to Black ($5.99; ulta.com)
In lieu of the moodiness of taupe-y grays, Bachik says that men’s manicures and nail designs are trending right now. For those guys who are new to the trend, he’s seeing them start with deep grays or rich blacks like this Sally Hansen color.
Fall orange: “Oranges that are more like butternut squash shades are also big in the fall,” says Boyce. “It’s not so much that people go crazy for pumpkin spice things in the fall, but more that it’s also the shade of tree leaves changing. Instead of pumpkin spice lattes, think of fall in Central Park in New York City.”
Orly Nail Lacquer in Lion’s Ear ($9.50; orlybeauty.com)
Kandalec loves this pumpkin-esque shade by Orly named Lion’s Ear.
Opi Nail Lacquer in My Italian Is a Little Rusty ($10.50; ulta.com)
Brodeur would reach for this burnt orange shade to sport this fall.
Sage green: “Sage green is a big shade this season. Green in general has been big all year, but for fall, we’ll see more muted, neutral green shades rather than bold Kelly greens or lime greens,” says Boyce. “The sage green looks gorgeous across a lot of skin tones, has an earthy, grounded vibe to it and looks great as a base for a lot of nail art. It pairs well with blues and oranges for nail art.”
Orly Nail Lacquer in Wild Willow ($9.50; orlybeauty.com)
Boyce recommends this shade called Wild Willow that’s a sort of deep, mossy green.
Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Stranded Stranger ($18; smithandcult.com)
Tap into the sage green tend with Smith & Cult’s Stranded Stranger — an earthy shade recommended by Brodeur.
Gel fall nail colors
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish in Combustealble ($7.49, originally $9.99; amazon.com)
“For those who love vibrant colors all year round, expect to see lots of fuschia, coral, teal and lime,” says Ruff. “I love looking to color trends in Fashion Week runway shows to gauge what will be popular seasonally — but always do you no matter what!” He’s a fan of this vibrant, shiny blue polish.
Madam Glam Soak-Off Gel Polish in Down to Earth ($19.95; madamglam.com)
“Greens are definitely coming is strong for this fall, Madam Glam has the best,” says Peng. She loves this gel shade that’s described as a creamy olive.
DND Premium Gel in Spiced Brown ($9.75; amazon.com)
One of Peng’s fave fall gel colors is DND Premium Gel in Spiced Brown. Ask for this color on your next trip to the nail salon or get it yourself to perfect your fall mani yourself.
Fall press-on nails
Kiss imPress Press-On Manicure in Falling ($8.99; kissusa.com)
According to Peng, Kiss is “making some of the best press-on nails on the market.” Get this set for a fancy French without breaking the bank.
Chillhouse Chill Tips in Amalfi Toast ($16; urbanoutfitters.com)