From Bare Nails To … Oysters? 9 Manicure Trends We’re Loving In 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Glosslab.
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While we love looking back and appreciating the trends that ruled past seasons, but what's more exciting is to go one step further and use what was trendy to help inform what will come in 2023. In the case of our fingernails, we have a lot to discuss.
Last year, you might have tried a chrome powder for the first time after TikTok served you one too many 'glazed-doughnut' nails. Then was the viral red-nail theory that had many of us wearing (and considering the subliminal messaging of) Big Apple Red. Now that it's January, you may be sporting the big sparkle trend of the moment: velvet nails.
There's a lot to look forward to. Given the state of the economy, it stands to reason that many of us will be DIYing the trends, trying a hand (literally) at a micro French or just a simple, single-colour manicure. Here, we give you a mix, so whether you're heading to a salon or painting your nails at home — realistically, you'll do both this year — here are some ideas to inspire.

Oyster Jellies

Pearlescent polish plus 3D gel, gives us the jellied oyster nail art trend. It's subtle, but if you look closely here — this nail art by Los Angeles artist Mary Grace Koh — you'll notice that a few fingernails have these raised, semi-amorphous droplets. It's a Korean nail-art trend, so if you're looking for something similar, I'd recommend seeking out a Korean nail salon or studio in your area.
Instead of wearing the same design across all ten fingers, combine a few different colours and designs (we're partial to navy and pearl) for a mismatched manicure, a trend that will continue to feel fresh in 2023.


According to Rachel Glass, the founder of NYC-started salon brand, Glosslab, the French manicure continues to hold a title as the most popular nail art, across cities. However, the 2023 update is a micro French. "The thinner line of this micro French mani is super subtle and chic," Glass offers.
The micro French is not a new trend, but we love when it cycles through for a few reasons: it's minimalist, you can bring in any colour you're into at the moment (black is fresh), and it looks great on short nails.

Chocolate Brown

When in doubt about a polish colour, go with a neutral brown. If you pick the right tone — it's "chocolate," according to search analytics from Google and Pinterest — you won't want for extra art. With only a top coat for shine, you have a simple manicure that reads 'elevated neutral' (i.e. goes with everything) and doesn't have the starkness of an all-black or all-red nail.
"If red isn't your thing, brown is the new 'it' neutral we've been seeing our clients reach for a ton," says Glass, "and we don't see it going away anytime soon. It elevates any look and is a winter must."

Sheer Tortoise

The search for "tortoise" is on the rise as well — 1900% year over year, according to Pinterest. If you're inspired to try it, we recommend a caramel tone of brown, and a sheer or jellied application. Similar to lip gloss nails — which are like a chrome lite — Koh calls this look more of a "marble-tinted" brown and less of an obvious tortoiseshell. Some comment that the sheer shade of brown makes it a great transitional manicure.
Given that we're heading into a new year with many transitions ahead, both seasonally and otherwise, this is a perfect design to keep in your 'Saved' folder.

Blood Reds

It's notoriously challenging to find the right red nail polish shade. If you're between undertones, we're seeing the deeper, richer reds take hold in the new year. Where we've seen candy-cane reds having a moment this holiday — as seen on Hailey Bieber — but come in 2023, it will be more about the maroons and oxblood shades of red.
Here, we see a good burgundy manicure designed by Zola Ganzorigt, Bieber's manicurist, who we can credit for the 'glazed doughnut' craze. (Ganzorigt is a great follow if you want to stay up on nail trends before they hit TikTok.) For 2023, we're copying these deep-red Y2K hearts.

Bare Nails

After a few years of maximalist manicure trends, this year is also seeing the rise of healthy, bare nails. "Think clean, minimalist, and glowy," says Manucurist founder, Gaëlle Lebrat Personnaz. "We saw a lot of this on the runway this year; transparent looks that pushed ... the idea of minimalism in a new and edgy direction."
To achieve this simple trend at home, focus on keeping those nail beds hydrated with regular applications of cuticle oil and hand cream. And if you're not quite ready to keep your nails entirely bare, add a thin layer of top coat to add some shine.


We're currently seeing mirrored metallic nails swing back into the trend sphere. Kim Truong, an L.A.-based nail artist, says this will be less of a glazed-doughnut vibe, and more colourful. "More intense than a glaze, metallic can be achieved in bright colours which will be perfect for the summer," says Truong. Opt for a fun base tone — like this deep teal — and then add the white chrome powder to make it metallic.

Orange Aura

If you're looking for something brighter, try neon orange. "For festival season, I’m expecting to see colourful, neon shades," offers Truong. "A trick to making your neon polish really pop is to apply white underneath." In this example from Paintbucket, we're seeing an interpretation of the "aura" or "blooming gel" manicure with a neutral pink-nude base and a large tangerine ombré orb at the centre of each nail.

Strawberry Milk

On TikTok, one of the new trends is the "milky" manicure. What makes a manicure dairy-like? Your nail polish colour should be a white or on the white-pink spectrum (more strawberry milk) and it should be opaque but still glossy. You can do a milky French, adding a thin white tip, or just keep the neutral milky tone on its own. Here, Truong uses a Japanese gel polish, but you can get the same tone with CND RomantiqueOPI Nail Envy in Bubble Bath, or Manicurist Hortencia.
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