Natural nail designs are the perfect choice when you want a look that's impactful yet airy. They let the beauty of your natural nails shine through while adding pops of color, texture, and pattern.
"The neutral nail designs that have been trending usually consist of complexion-matching or flattering shades like beige, white, greige, or brown—maybe with a touch of earthy shades thrown in like slate, clay, or moss," says expert Rita Remark. "But just because the colors are more subtle, doesn't mean that the designs have to be. That's what is so great about this trend! You can play with graphic shapes and negative space designs without the manicure feeling overwhelming."
Meet Our Expert
Rita Remark is Essie’s global lead educator and nail artist.
Fleury Rose is a celebrity nail artist in New York City.
Get excited about (and prepared for) your next manicure and browse these 35 gorgeous natural nail designs below.
"I love the ombré of different nudes as the base colors,” says Fleury Rose. “We added smileys, but it would also be cute without them."
This stunning nail features a natural base with an earth, geometric brown, and cream tip. Because the tip has a straight-across bottom instead of a rounded shape, it adds a lot of interest to the look.
Using a colorful mix of a handful of polishes from Gucci Beauty polishes, this design leaves half of the nail natural while the other half gets the design. This keeps the look nice and airy.
This is, undoubtedly, the simplest look on the list. It features a diagonal line in lime green down each nail, adding a bit of color to an otherwise bare look.
“White is a great complement to this nude snake design,” says Rose. The pattern starts out more opaque at the tip and fades out toward the middle of the nail, giving a gradient effect.
Although the navy blue and terracotta used in this design are quite deep, there's lots of negative space in this design. It was painted on top of Aprés Sculpted Almond Medium ($17) gel-x tips.
Micro Glitter Tip
“This look is very cute because it uses an almost nude glitter,” says Rose. Plus, the tip is super thin, keeping the look simple and natural.
French Tips are the OG natural nail design. This gorgeous set was completed on Aprés Sculpted Almond Long ($17) gel-x tips.
This set of black, white, and silver nails was done for Beyoncé's Renaissance Tour. It uses five polishes — OPI's Bare My Soul ($12), Alpine Snow ($12), and Black Onyx ($12); Mooncat's Outlaw Country ($15); and Cirque Colors's Moonbeam ($13).
The colored polishes are concentrated toward the center of the room, leaving lots of negative space for the natural nails to show.
This delicate look is "all nude with the exception of a cute snowflake accent nail,” says Rose. Doing a design on one finger is a great option if you want just a little interest.
Painted with OPI's Love is in the Bare ($20), this look is gorgeous and simple. The polish adds a milky whitewash of color across the nails, leaving them looking elevated yet natural.
This look features a natural base with an icy tip and dots of glitter cascading down. It was created with shades from the Static Nail Official Muted Pastels Palette ($60) including Pistachio, Milkshake, Earl Gray, Crushed Diamonds, and Doe My Dear.
Glitter Half Moon
This nearly bare look features a white milky shade complete with a touch of champagne glitter at the base of the nail, creating a simple flash.
These sparkly nails are like jewelry. Each nail has a nude base and is adorned with crystal decals, leaving behind a pretty look.
These pink Gingham tips—accented with teeny-tiny strawberries and flowers—are perfect for spring. The look was created with polishes from Magpie Beauty.
This look takes the aura nail trend and keeps it simple, by applying the look only to the tips. It was painted on Aprés Sculpted Almond Medium ($17) gel-x tips.
Featuring three shades from Chanel Beauty—Fugueuse ($32), Ballerina ($32), and Muse ($32)—this look keeps the color at the bottom of the nail while the top of the nail gets a coat sheer enough you can see the nail beneath it.
Sparkles and Swirls
Each nail in this pretty set has lots of negative space, while pink is applied in wavy blobs to the tips and sides of the nails, accented with silver glitter. It was painted on Aprés Sculpted Almond Medium ($17) gel-x tips.
Done with all Nails Inc Plant Power polishes, this look features a milky base and polka dots. Although quite a few colors were used to make the polka dots, they're small enough that the look isn't overwhelming.
These red swirls are nice and thick, so they add a lot of color to the nail, but, you can still see lots of the natural nail. The look was painted with OPI's A Kick in the Bud ($13) atop Put it in Neutral ($12).
Framed Pink Flowers
Created with polishes from Magpie Beauty, this look features a wavy pink frame around a simple white daisy. The daisy sits on a neutral base, keeping the look uncrowded.
Floral tips are a great way to have a lot of your natural nail show while still enjoying an intricate design. These tips were painted with the ARTYgels from Magpie Beauty.
This Easter-inspired set adds fun and whimsy to the nails without being overwhelming to look at. It's painted with polish from Magpie Beauty.
Pastel Abstract Brush Stroke
This brush-stroke look uses pops of pastels and gold to create a pretty abstract tip. It's done with polishes from Magpie Beauty.
Valentine’s Day Gradient
Although each nail is loaded with saturated color, the half-moon at the base of the nail remains visible. The Valentine's Day look was painted using Magpie Beauty products including the polish Give Me Strength Cupid ($13); and compact pigments in Ibiza ($6), Chile ($6) and Mallorca ($6); White gel ($13); and the Velvet topcoat ($13).
This swirl of colors resembles watercolors, thanks to the sheet nature of the polishes used. Although most of the nail is covered, you can still see the nail really well.
Featuring neon yellow and black swirls, these bold and graphic nails look like they could be straight out of a cartoon.
Opaque pistachio and a pale teal cover most of each nail, but a sliver of negative space is left between the two shades, adding an element of softness to the look.
These nails are topped with chunky glitter cascading from the tips of the nail. They add a fun element of sparkle to clear nail polish.
This look features the ManiMe Bien Happy nail wraps ($12), allowing you to get this same exact design with very little effort.
Vibrant polishes from Lights Lacquer were used to create these fun and tropical tips. The polishes used include Clueless ($11), Hide the Rum, ($11), Coralcabana ($11), Tranquila y Tropical ($11), Down in Kokomo ($11), and Girl from Ipanema ($11).
These nails take a fun approach to rainbow nails, using pastel shades from Lights Lacquer to create these abstract shapes.
Take French tips to the next level with a fun, ditsy pattern, like these red hearts. This design was created using polishes from Gel Care.
These milky, nude nails feature two super-small dots at the base of each nail, adding the tiniest drop of color.
These floral nails have that sheer, pink lip gloss effect but get a little more interest thanks to a few dainty floral halos.
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