There’s a reason why the French manicure is one of the most enduring nail art styles around: the minimal colour palette and instantly-recognisable white tip are timeless and enduringly chic. However, now that autumn has arrived, a new season provides the perfect opportunity to revamp this classic trend for the months ahead. From earthy neutrals and russet reds to gleaming golds and moody metallics, a new wave of colourful French tips are dominating salons right now.
So we spoke to some of the best nail artists in the business to fill us in on the coolest colourful French tip nail ideas for autumn and how to recreate them at home.
Described as an excitement-inducing “sexy and sensual” shade in Pantone’s autumn/winter 2023-2024 trend report, fiery red is going to be everywhere this autumn. “It’s set to be the ‘it’ shade of the season,” agrees session manicurist Ami Streets, “and it’s so easy to translate this colour into a fashion-forward nail look by incorporating it into a chic French tip.”
To get the look at home, Ami suggests Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Pirate, £29. “It’s a rich, classic colour that will suit everyone,” says Ami. Take inspiration from Alexandra Teleki aka The Hot Blend on Instagram.
The influence of this summer’s viral latte makeup trend can be seen taking hold of nail art for autumn, with coffee-inspired shades set to be some of the biggest French tip colours of the season. “Think warm, chocolatey browns and shades reminiscent of warm lattes or autumn leaves,” describes Juanita Huber-Millet, founder and creative director at Townhouse. “They complement the season’s cosy vibes and work well for both day and night looks, so it’s a very versatile colour choice.” Take cue from nail artist Amy Le on Instagram. Try Manucurist Nail Polish in Chestnut, £14, for a warm, deep brown or Peacci Nail Polish in the aptly-named Latte, £10, for a milkier take on the trend.
Halloween-inspired nail art is everywhere right now, but this nod to the holiday will work way beyond 31st October. “Deep oranges make a fun twist on the classic French tip,” says nail pro Samantha Rose, “and adding metallic accents, like a gold swirl or the stars in my Halloween nails, is perfect for this time of year.”
Like nail artist Samantha Rose, seek out orange shades with a warm terracotta base, rather than a lucid neon, to keep this feeling autumnal. Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure Nail Polish in Carrot Cake, £9.99, is perfect.
Metallics tend to dominate the nail art scene every year as we move towards party season, but this autumn it’s silver in particular that is proving popular when it comes to French tips. “This metallic silver shade takes its inspiration from street style right now and the move towards silver jewellery and metallic accessories,” explains Ami, like this look by Imarni on Instagram. “It’s super versatile, can be paired with any colour, and adds so much interest and dimension to a manicure.”
Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Agave, £3.99, provides an impressively expensive-looking, glossy metallic finish for the affordable price.
If wearing a dark colour all over your nails feels too bold for autumn, then a colourful French tip provides the perfect entryway to a more dramatic colour palette, like these nails by Amy Le. “Most colours look great as a French tip, but in particular I love deep red hues,” explains nail artist and OPI global ambassador Iram Shelton. Think cherry cola or rich merlots rather than bright pillar-box reds for this look. To recreate this at home, Iram recommends OPI Nail Lacquer in Chick Flick Cherry, £14.90. “It’s something I’ve worn on my nails recently and I’ve never received so many compliments,” says Iram.
Green always emerges as a popular nail colour for autumn, with shades like olive and emerald leading the pack when it comes to most-requested shades in salons. However, this slightly brighter, fresher take on green — we're calling it alpine — has been cropping up on our feeds a lot and it's set to take off for autumn. Just look to these nails by digital creator Lauren on Instagram. Mavala’s Nail Polish in Copenhagen, £5.44, is a lively forest green that will help you recreate this look at home.
In direct contrast to the classic white of a traditional French manicure, glossy black tips are going to be huge this autumn. Take inspiration from this manicure by Sadie J Nails. “Black is a fantastic choice for those who prefer a more edgy and modern style,” says Juanita. “The colour perfectly complements autumn’s darker colour palette.” Opt for glossy, lacquered polishes for a really shiny finish. Essie Nail Colour in Licorice, £8.99, is always a firm favourite among nail professionals.
The palette for an autumnal take on colourful French tips is so wide and varied, that taking a mis-matched approach to the trend makes perfect sense. “I think a colourful French is the perfect transition from summer into autumn as it remains light and chic, but adds a touch of autumn/winter on the tip,” explains nail artist Jaz Moger. “Opt for burnt oranges, rich browns and deep greens, or go for a mixture of them all,” like this manicure by nail artist Franci.
To add playfulness to your French tips for autumn, nail artist Sadie Jordan suggests looking for hues that feel slightly off-kilter and unexpected, like this yellow-tinged olive green colour. “Woody browns, burnt oranges, muted teals or mustard yellows are a fun way to inject some colour into your look this season,” explains Sadie.
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