July 25, 2024


Creative meets living

The 15 Coolest Nail Designs for Fall 2021

It’s that time of year where we slowly start putting away our favorite neon polishes in favor of the darker, moodier tones of fall. For nail-art aficionados, a change in season presents an opportunity to experiment with an entirely new slew of fun nail designs and colors. Although there are certain standbys we always have waiting once fall arrives (shoutout to our favorite burgundy nail polishes), we reached out to some of our favorite nail aficionados to give us a heads-up on what we’ll be seeing in the coming months.

Four experts gave us the scoop on this year’s fall nail designs. Even better, most of these are easy enough to DIY with the help of a few tools, new polish shades, and textured topcoats.

Intrigued? Keep reading for 15 new fall nail designs (plus tips on how to get the look at home) straight from the pros.

1. Matte All Over

I think this fall will bring the need for change, and this may be expressed in the switch from a super-shiny manicure to a matte effect,” predicts Jin Soon Choi, a New York–based expert nail artist and founder of Jinsoon.

Jinsoon Matte Topcoat Maker ($18)

Choi touts the Jinsoon Matte Maker topcoat as one of her all-time favorite products.

OPI Nail Lacquer in Suzi Needs a Loch-smith ($11)

Give bright, summer orange polishes more of an autumnal feel with a matte topcoat.

2. Multicolor Matte

Similarly, Brittney Boyce, consulting nail artist for Orly, anticipates seeing a rise in the multicolor matte manicure. “This is a really fun and easy way to DIY nail art at home,” says Boyce. “It’s especially great for people who can’t make up their minds on just one nail color.”

Orly Matte Top ($9)

Boyce explains that using a matte topcoat on bright colors helps to accentuate that muted feeling.

Nails Inc. Freshly Juiced Nail Polish Duo ($11)

Give this summery duo a fall spin with a unifying matte topcoat.

3. Mismatched Topcoats

For beginner nail artists, Boyce also suggests experimenting with different finishes. “Try playing with matte and glossy topcoats, like a matte base with a glossy tip or vice versa,” she instructs.

OPI Matte Top Coat ($11)

Another great matte option.

OPI Infinite Shine ProStay Gloss Top Coat ($13)

You can’t go wrong with OPI’s Infinite Shine line.

4. Modern French

All of our pros agreed that French manicures are back in a big way. “They are simple, but I love that you can really combine any colors to create a clean statement look,” says Lisa Logan, consulting manicurist for Nails.Inc and owner of The Nail Suite in Harlem, New York. Boyce agrees, suggesting that people with longer nails go for an almond shape with a darker shade at the tip and that those with shorter nails experiment with the painted curve.

Essie For the Twill of It ($9)

Metallics for fall just makes sense.

Nails Inc. Nailkale Superfood Base Coat ($15)

Yes, there is kale for your nails.

5. Double-Corner French

Lately, Choi’s clients have been requesting a riff on the iconic French manicure. “Clients often ask for different versions of this, modernizing it a bit by using a different color combo (not just pink and white) or trying colorful tips. They also request things like negative space French manicures, diagonal or two-tone diagonal tips, and ombré French,” she says.

Orly White Tips French Manicure Nail Lacquer Tip ($9)

The original white nail polish.

Nails Inc. Retinol 45 Second Top Coat ($15)

A quick-drying topcoat (with retinol) is essential for any DIY application.

6. Ombré French

The above photo is a perfect example of the ombré-French design and can be created using any number of color combinations.

Orly Desert Muse Fall Collection ($51)

We love this warm-yet-moody set for fall.

Olive and June The Fall Set ($56)

This seven-piece set celebrates the many hues of autumn.

7. Kitty Cat Tips

These feline-inspired nails give the appearance of claws with dark, angular tips—just in time for Halloween. This design looks best on longer nails, and it can work on extensions, too. “This is slightly harder to DIY, but if you are getting nail extensions, this is such a fierce look,” says Boyce.

Jinsoon Absolute Black ($18)

Because black goes with everything.

Teoyall Double Ended Nail Art Brushes ($5)

Don’t discount a double-sided brush and dotter tool for designs and delicate cleanup.

8. Two-Tone Diagonal Tips

“Many people are slowly easing back into fun, bold manicure looks since, for so many, it’s been a long time since they’ve had a professional manicure,” shares Logan. Like Choi, Logan’s clients have requested modern French manicures with two-tone diagonal tips, as pictured above.

Orly De-stressed Denim ($10)

Denim for fall? Groundbreaking.

Orly You’re A Doll ($10)

This pastel pink is surprisingly opaque.

9. Tips Only

“The nail art for this season will be unlike any other mostly because it will be DIY since most people are still hesitant or unable to go into nail salons,” predicts Mazz Hanna, celebrity manicurist and founder of Mazz Hanna. Simple designs on just the tips of the fingernails are a great way for at-home nail artists to begin while also playing with this season’s color palette.

Nails Inc. Keep It Tonal Nail Polish Set ($22)

How pretty are these fall hues?

Olive and June Pink Sweater Kit ($40)

We love this cozy take on the season, too.

10. Tonal Ombré

Instead of multicolor manicures, Logan is seeing more clients request a tonal ombré with two or more colors on a single nail. Like the transition between seasons, this design can carry you from fall to winter (or your next manicure appointment).

Essie After School Boy Blazer ($9)

One of our all-time favorite navy blues.

Essie Pret a Surfer ($9)

Contrasting yet complementary.

Essie Toned Down ($9)

Gray, the great neutralizer.

11. Ombré Color Family

If the multi-nail ombré look seems a bit more feasible to DIY, we love the idea of playing within a cohesive color family. Hanna agrees, noting, “It is super easy to do and still makes a bold statement.”

Essie Berry Naugty ($9)

When summer turns into fall, you know it’s time to bust out those berry reds.

OPI Red Heads Ahead ($11)

A classic red for all seasons.

Olive and June Cherry Bomb Kit ($48)

This five-color ombré set makes it easy.

12. Glass Extensions

As a specialist in gel extensions, Boyce is, unsurprisingly, all in on the glass nail trend. “It’s a chic design that goes with everything,” she shares. “This is slightly harder to DIY, but if you are getting nail extensions, this is such a clean look.”

Orly Gelfx Builder in a Bottle Mini Intro Kit ($46)

This intro kit will have you leveling up in no time.

Makartt Press On Nails Set with 500 pieces ($15)

If you love this nail design and want to attempt to DIY, Boyce recommends trying press-ons with glass extensions and leaving the tips unpainted.

13. Negative-Space Nail Art

Nail art has become more and more popular not only at NYFW but also since quarantine started,” explains Choi. “I expect to see many negative-space manicures with simple and minimalistic nail art, such as the look we created for Proenza Schouler [last season].”

Anezus Nail Art Painting Polish Design Tools Set ($11)

At just $11, this kit gives you so many DIY options.

iFancer Nail Art Decals ($6)

These gold decals are so intricate.

14. Polka Dots

Similarly, Hanna is predicting that polka dots will be back in a big way. “It’s super simple to do using a bobby pin, even with limited nail art experience, and you can use any seasonal color that is trending,” she shares. But you can’t rush the process. “Polka dots typically take longer to dry, so it’s important that you make sure your dots are completely dry before applying your topcoat,” cautions Hanna. “If you apply a topcoat too soon, it will cause the polka dots to drag.” And that can make this DIY design prone to re-dos.

Diane by Fromm Bobby Pins ($6)

If you don’t have a couple of bobby pins already laying around then this deal is tough to beat.

15. DIY Designs

Inspired by your favorite nail artist on Instagram? Or ready to try out a freehand design? Choi says to go for it! “Most designs can be done with the edge of your nail polish brush and a bit of practice,” she says. She encourages at-home nail artists to begin by using everyday items like a toothpick or a clean makeup sponge. If you’re ready to level up, all of our pros recommend buying a set of thin paint brushes and dotting tools.

Winstonia Nail Art Brushes Set ($10)

These tiny brushes are essential for any aspiring nail artist.

Up next: 7 Fall Nail Colors We’re Obsessing Over

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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