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Fall is almost here, which means I’ve already done the following: switched from iced coffees to steaming lattes, screenshotted a dozen Halloween makeup ideas, and endlessly searched “fall nail colors” to prep for my next nail appointment. And trust me when I say that you’ve got a ton of inspo to choose from. Whether you’re into the classics—like burgundy, black, plum, and nude nail polish—or you’re interested in trying something trendy (hiii, Halloween nails and chrome nail polish), you can trust that your fall nails will be worthy of a selfie this year.
But before you make that next nail appointment or gather your at-home manicure kit, check this breakdown of the best fall nail colors and autumn mani ideas of 2022, according to four celebrity manicurists and nail polish experts. I, for one, was planning on wearing vampy-red nail polish on repeat, but I might just have to try them all?!
Our top picks for the best fall nail colors of 2022:
Mustard yellow nails for fall: OPI nail polish in Ochre to the Moon
“Glazed donut” nail trend for fall: Expressie Top Coat in Iced Out
Denim blue fall nails: Jinsoon nail polish in Sea Clay
Silver chrome nail polish: Sally Hansen Color Foil nail polish in Steel A Kiss
Caramel tan nail colors for fall: Mented nail polish in Yes We Tan
Yep, the cutest fall nail colors are right this way. Keep scrolling for 17 ideas you’re def going to want to try, from expert-approved trends to our favorite shades.
1. Mustard-yellow nails for fall
If you’re missing your bright yellow and green summer nail colors already, swap your neon hues for an equally bold shade, like this murky, mustard yellow from OPI that nail artist Galdina Jimenez says will be “the star shade of fall.” Plus, it plays into the western rodeo trend we’re seeing across beauty and fashion this fall (my cowboy boots are about to get so much love), which nail artist Tammy Taylor says is “versatile and effortlessly cool.”
2. "Glazed donut" nail trend for fall
Yup, Hailey Bieber’s “glazed donut” nails aren't going anywhere this fall. This nail trend, aka the #GlazedDonutNails you’ve likely seen all over TikTok, generally involves a powder chrome topper, but you can get the same look at home with this top coat from Essie. Just make sure to add a coat of sheer white nail polish underneath (Hailey swears by OPI Funny Bunny, and I love JinSoon’s Dew) as a base for the shimmery top coat.
3. Denim-blue fall nail color
The nail polish I’m wearing as I type this? This muted, gray-blue from Jinsoon, which reminds me of pulling my jeans out of storage before the first day of fall. It’s an easy way to wear blue as a neutral, or a great transition shade if you’re not ready to layer on the deep winter tones juuust yet.
4. Silver-chrome fall nail trend
Chrome nails are about to be everywhere this fall, says Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of GlossLab nail salons. It’s a futuristic and fun take on a neutral fall nail color. You can also try this hack for chrome nails at home: While your nail polish is still tacky after your first coat, pat your nails with loose silver eyeshadow, and then top it off with a glossy top coat.
5. Caramel-tan nails for fall
Fall is “a great time to experiment with earthy, brown tones for a striking, moody look,” says Glass. This tan nail polish has a warm caramel base, but it’s neutral enough that it won’t look too murky even if your skin tone is on the neutral or cool side.
6. Deep-navy fall nails
If an intense black manicure isn’t exactly your ~vibe~ regardless of the season, try this dark-navy polish that’s almost black, but has a misty-blue undertone to keep it soft. It’ll give you all the spooky feels without requiring you to commit to such a stark shade.
7. Candy-red fall nail color
Red nail polish will always be a trend, but this fall, expect to see this bright, glossy version everywhere, says Glass. She loves how a “fiery-red manicure spices up a simple fall outfit, whether you’re looking to do a fun French mani or accent nail” with nail stickers.
8. Classic French manicure for fall
I, for one, am here for the revival of the classic French manicure, which is both timeless and trendy this fall. But if you can’t make it to a salon and don’t have a steady hand, opt for these French-tip, press-on nails from Glamnetic. They last longer than regular polish on my nails, and they already come with glue, meaning you have everything you need for a French manicure—no fussing with nail brushes or hacks required.
9. Black nails for fall
There's nothing like bold, black nail polish for fall, whether in a monochromatic manicure (like, full Wednesday Addams in honor of the new show, ofc), in some halloween-inspired nail art, or in a sharp French tip. Seriously—I don't consider summer over until I've gotten a PSL and a cool-weather mani. Want to try two fall trends in one? Coat your black nails with a matte top coat for some extra dimension.
10. Smokey-lilac nail polish for fall
This smokey lilac nail color is going to be everywhere this fall, mark my words. It’s part of the OPI Scotland collection (hence the shade name Glas-glow) and looks super flattering on fair, medium, and dark skin tones. It’s soft, but it still has a ~rock ‘n’ roll edge~ to it (thanks to the gray undertone) that Taylor says will be a huge trend in fall nail colors.
11. Burnt-coral nails for fall
I used to think that coral nail polish only looked cute on fingers and toes during the summer months… and then I discovered this shimmery coral shade from Sally Hansen. Umm, y’all, it’s actually perfect for fall. It has hints of red and orange (and not as much pink) that are giving me alllll the warm and spicy PSL vibes.
12. Vampy-red manicure for fall
Vampy red nail polishes are always at the top of the best fall nail colors list. Why, you ask? Well, they’re v flattering, go perfectly with chunky knits and leather jackets, and look a lil edgy. If you’re in the market for a new dark-red shade, try this one from OPI which doesn’t look too deep that you lose the red tone.
13. Blush nails for fall
If you’re looking for a neutral color and are ready to say goodbye to light pink and beige, try this pinky-neutral blush that has a mix of warm and cool undertones for a fall update, which nail artist Lia Smith says evokes “warmth and depth.” It’s flattering on most skin tones and is an unexpected, neutral fall hue you can feel comfortable wearing everywhere.
14. Dark-gray fall nail polish
If you can’t commit to the intensity of black nail polish, then this creamy dark-gray shade from Smith and Cult is for you. Two coats give your nails a moody vibe that’ll perfectly complement all your fall coats.
15. Forest-green fall nails
Green is one of the trendiest colors for fall every year because there are so many variations (bright emerald, deep teal, kelly, to name a few). But if you’re part of the ~minimalist mani club~ and feel a bit intimidated, go with this inky forest-green hue (it’s one of Essie’s best-selling colors)—I swear it’ll feel like you’re wearing a dark neutral.
16. Pumpkin orange nail color for fall
PSA: Cooler, crisper fall weather doesn’t mean you need to retire your bright summer nail colors for good. Add this eye-catching orange shade into your mani-pedi rotation—it feels totally fresh, unexpected, and pretty for fall. Jimenez loves this tone because it’s “the perfect transition from fun multi-colored spring and summer shades to more neutral cozy shades that remind us of pumpkin spice lattes and crunchy brown leaves on the ground.”
17. Metallic-purple fall nails
Gemstone-inspired nails are a great way to ease into glitter without the messy flecks. This metallic purple shade from OPI is basically jewelry for your nails. Your amethyst ring or bracelet just got a little competition for the prettiest fall accessory.
Meet the experts:
Lia Smith is a nail artist and the manager of education at OPI North America.
Galdina Jimenez is a celebrity nail artist based in Oceanside, CA. She is also the education manager and capability at OPI North America.
Why trust Cosmopolitan?
Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan with four years of experience researching, writing, and editing nail polish and shopping stories that range from Native American makeup brands to the best-selling beauty products on Amazon. She’s an authority in all nail categories, but is an expert when it comes to fall nail trends, thanks to many interviews with nail experts. She regularly tests and analyzes nail polishes for efficacy, while working with the industry’s top nail artists to assess new formulas and brands.
Lauren Balsamo is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan with almost 10 years of experience researching, writing, and editing skin, makeup, hair, and nail stories across print and digital, including the best gel nail polishes and glass nail files. Her fall nail color picks were based on product reviews, ratings, and personal testing, along with information from experts.
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