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Deep down, we’re all dessert people. Or at least dessert… nail people. Some have a rabid sweet tooth and can never say no to a brownie sundae. For them, a milk chocolate like Sienna Byron Bay in Sienna will satisfy. Some have more of a semi-sweet tooth and prefer the bitter complex flavor of a tiramisu. A dark chocolate like Hermes Nail Enamel in Brun Bistre is the perfect hint of sweetness.
Nothing pairs with a crisp autumn morning like a foamy cappuccino. Fortunately, cappuccino makes for a great neutral manicure, too. “I like this color on an almond or round shape for a classic glam look,” says Jin Soon Choi, founder of JINSoon. Try Gucci Glossy Nail Polish in Annabel Rose for a preppier classic or Nailtopia Nail Lacquer in Mocho Loco if you want juuust a touch of shimmer.
“For almost all of 2023 we have been seeing super bright and playful manicure trends,” says Mazz Hanna, CEO of Nailing Hollywood. “This fall I think we will see the exact opposite with metallic grays and gunmetals.” Hanna recommends the multi-dimensional sheen of Londontown Lakur in Skyline Reflect on medium-length nails. If you want a more classic look, Emilie Heath Nail Artist Nail Polish in Mr. M would look sleek on a shorter manicure.
Did you hear that? That faint whisper coming from under your bed? That’s your leather jacket’s siren call — just in time for cooler days. Of course, nothing would welcome your old friend back into rotation like a manicure to match. Cirque Colors in Memento Mori is a one-and-done black, and Choi recommends a matte top coat over her JINsoon polish in Absolute Black for an update on the always-stylish mani.
Eggplant has a few magical qualities. Besides being high in antioxidants and a great addition to a plate of rigatoni, the color has shape-shifting power. At first glance, it reads black, but look a little closer and you’ll notice a hypnotic purple hue. It also happens to look great on any skin tone and any nail shape, says nail artist Hayley Dang. Deborah Lipmann’s Gel Lab Pro in Miss Independent is a classic royal purple, while Beauty Pie’s Wondercolor Nail Polish in Black Cherry Bomb transforms to a deep reddish plum in the light.
Somewhere in our great country’s constitution is an amendment, penned by Mr. Starbucks, that decrees we must worship at the altar of the pumpkin god for no less than four months each year. Thankfully, the pumpkin god is a benevolent god, and he gives great manicures. Paint Box Nail Lacquer in Like Camel is a dead ringer for the trend, while Manicurist Paris Green Natural Nail Polish in Terracotta achieves the same effect with hints of pink and coral.
Nail artist Rita Remark is trading in summer’s “blueberry milk” trend for more mysterious midnight blues — just in time for the inevitable end of daylight savings. And while we’re sad to lose the extra hours of sun, this sexy shade works better than a SAAD lamp (we’re sure there’s science behind that). We like Static Nails Liquid Glass Lacquer in Rio or Chanel Les Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Fugueuse. “Deep shades look amazing on shorter nails,” adds Remark.
October marks the beginning of the olive harvest in Tuscany, and if we’re daydreaming of cool evenings on the patio of our Italian villa eating focaccia soaked in herby oil, we may as well have the manicure to match. Remark recommend’s Essie’s Willow in the Wind — a yellow-green match for Castelvetrano olives (you know, the martini kind). For a more muted green, we like CND Vinylux in (as luck would have it) Olive Grove.
As your manicure sommelier will tell you, moodier weather calls for moodier concoctions — so we’re decanting a nice, full-bodied merlot for the fall. Nail artist Heather Reymosa recommends OPI Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine, which has the most subtle tinge of raspberry color. It’s “mysterious but still joyful,” she says. Or try Nailberry Breathable Nail Polish in Les Temps de Cerise for a true wine red.
If dark and enigmatic just isn’t your vibe, opt for this cheerier red with pink-hued shimmer. It’s less like a pinot noir and more like a pitcher of fruity sangria with a splash of seltzer. Summer is really more of a state of mind, after all, so you don’t have to give up fun altogether. Try ILNP Nail Polish in Say Love or Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer in Fortune.
Dang expects to see more deep forest greens in her salon this season. What hue you choose is totally up to your ecosystem of choice. If lush pine forests are your idea of the great outdoors, ORLY Breathable Nail Polish in Pine-ing For You has the bluish undertone of a spruce. If you’re thinking of oaks and elms, try the dustier green of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Leaf Me Be.
Gray skies aren’t all bad news. They make great inspo for a fall manicure. “It’s a great color to accessorize with,” says Nails Inc. founder Thea Green, noting that this trend would look just as chic with a colorful sweater as it would with neutrals and denim. She recommends her brand’s Plant Power Vegan Nail Polish in What’s Your Spirituality for a warm cashmere gray. For a cooler gray that would look striking on darker skin tones, try Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Color in Grey Day.
Shimmery Jewel Tones
Jewel tones for fall aren’t anything new, so we’re happy to see the trend jazzed up with some sparkle this year. “Shimmer effects add more depth to darker shades,” says nail artist Pattie Yankee. It’s the difference between wearing an old, vintage sapphire ring and wearing it after it’s been given a good, healthy polish. Just pick your favorite gemstone (or birthstone, if you can’t decide): Zoya Nail Polish in Merida makes for a striking emerald lacquer, while Sinful Colors Quick Bliss Nail Polish in Black Cherry has a beautiful garnet sheen.
Candy Apple Red
There’s classic red and there’s candy apple red — a slightly spicier, tangier, and brighter color. This punchy shade will turn heads in a room full of dark autumnal hues and can look sassy on short, square nails or skew more vixen on longer lengths. “It’s always classy and makes a bold statement,” says nail artist San Sung Kim. Try Le Chat Nails Dare to Wear Nail Lacquer in Fizzy Apple or Micho Beauty Nail Lacquer in Good Kisser.