I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to embrace Hot Girl Autumn. I’m plotting out my autumn shopping wish list, rotating my summer fragrances for my favourite autumn perfumes and booking in for a seasonal haircut. Whilst the days might be getting shorter, autumn is one of my favourite times of the year to experiment—both in fashion and in beauty.
Autumn is the time when manicures really come into their own. There are no hard and fast rules on what nail colours to wear at any time of the year, but I find myself leaning towards those moodier, autumnal nail colours that accompany the season. Who can resist a glossy, deep red lacquer? It’s truly a timeless nail colour that will forever remain classy.
Sure, we can expect the usual autumnal nail colours to do the rounds on our social feeds, but I was curious to know what celebrity nail techs think will be the big autumn nail trends of 2023. So, I speed-dialled two of my favourites—Iram Shelton and Michelle Class, who between them, call the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Margot Robbie and Bella Hadid their clients—to find out what the coolest trends of the season will be. Scroll down for their predictions.
Hands up if you’ve put your nails through a lot lately? Now is the time for a seasonal reset to condition your nails back to good health. “A lot of people often take this time after summer to have bare nails before they get ready for the festive period,” says Iram Shelton. When she’s in residence at The Bulgari Spa every month, Shelton has a collection of luxe skincare that she uses in her manicures to nourish dry hands and cuticles. She advises tending to your nails with hydrating cuticle oils and nail strengtheners—and skip the at-home gel kits. “DIY manicures are huge at the moment, but I would always advise people to stay away from at-home gel kits,” she says. “Instead, try gel-like nail polishes, which can help to improve your nail health and promote strong, healthy nails.” “When doing your own manicure, remember to prep and shape your nails before applying polish. Push your cuticles back and remove any excess oils from your nail plate. This will help the polish adhere to your nails better,” she advises. “To help your manicure last and keep your nails healthy, I’d always recommend applying cuticle oil daily.”
Temple Spa’s award-winning hand cream sinks in quickly without compromising on hydration. It cocoons hands, helping to soften dry skin with jojoba oil and vitamins E and C, leaving hands looking their best.
Pop Chanel’s handy cuticle-oil pen into your bag for on-the-go hydration.
OPI’s new Repair Mode nail serum helps to nurse weak nails back to their former glory.
Dark red nails are timeless, and they’re going to be popular again for next season. “Moving into the autumn/winter 2023 season, I predict that those cosier midnight blues, glossy blacks, dark wine shades and deep purples will make a real comeback,” notes Michelle Class. “OPI Malaga Wine is a classic, deep red which can easily elevate your seasonal wardrobe,” says Shelton. She also has some tips when it comes to removing these darker hues. “To remove red nail polish, I would always recommend applying cuticle oil around the nail, soaking a cotton ball in nail polish remover, holding it over the nail for 10-15 seconds and removing in one swipe,” she says. “Try and avoid using the same part of the pad over the nail, as this can cause the polish to smudge around the skin, making it harder to remove.”
Price shown is members’ price. A beautiful, deep burgundy that looks amazing on fingers and toes.
How classy is this shade?
Shelton recommends this exact shade.
Going hand in hand with those deeper hues are inky blues, ranging from midnight to cobalt. Dark blue is a great choice if you find black too dark but want a statement shade, and these dark tones look beautiful on short nails. Make like Liberty’s resident manicurist Julia Diogo and pair your dark-blue manicure with gold jewellery (pictured).
Chanel’s hypnotic blue will see you through the entire season.
Kure’s nail polishes have a long-wearing formula that stays chip-free for days.
Sally Hansen’s gel-effect polish gives you salon results at home.
Whilst we’ve seen colourful French tips dominate summer, we can expect this manicure to take a seasonal twist for autumn. “French tips never go out of style,” says Shelton. “Towards the autumn months, we can expect to see lots of dark tips. I’ve also seen negative-space tips, which I think are a great twist on the classic manicure.” If you’re DIY-ing your French manicure at home, she has some tips to ensure a precise finish. “Apply a clear base coat onto your nails and then take the bottle brush from your chosen nail polish and work your way across the tip of the nail, working from one side to the other, and meet the line in the centre of the nail.” Alternatively, you can use a nail-art brush to achieve finer lines. “To do this, you will need to decant some polish on foil or a nail palette and draw on your French tip,” she says. “By using a fine liner brush you will probably have more control over the thickness of the tip—remember to take your time.” Keep some nail polish remover on standby for any mishaps and then finish with a top coat, capping the free edge of the nail to keep your French tips chip-free.
Gucci’s black polish is ultra glossy.
Creates precise lines for nail art and French tips.
Don’t have a steady hand? Press-on nails give you the look in seconds.
Greens nails are an autumn/winter staple which we see return time and time again. But for 2023, we can expect the matcha and pistachio shades we saw in the summer months morph into moodier hues of hunter green and crocodile. Tap into this expensive-looking trend for your next autumn mani. “As we’re all still obsessing over the stealth wealth, minimalist trend, I reckon we will see lots of muted nail colours, and I think short nails are the best for this trend,” says Shelton. “Nudes, browns, deep greens, reds or blues—all with a high-gloss finish—can allow you to achieve the quiet-luxury trend.”
This green looks ten times more expensive than its price tag.
The perfect deep green.
I love Manucurist’s nail polishes, and I have my eyes on this shade to try next.
More of a nail minimalist? Naked nails are the understated nail trend that has dominated 2023, with barely-there, sheer washes of pink or beige that act like a skin tint for the nail beds. They’re the low-commitment nail colour that still makes you look put-together. “If you’re wanting to achieve this look, you just need to make sure your nails are shaped to perfection and your cuticles are pushed back,” says Shelton. “You can apply polish if you’d like. My go-to for this look is a thin application of OPI Baby Take a Bow, or OPI Bubble Bath. They add a subtle hint of colour to my nails without looking like I have anything on them—it’s my signature look.”
“OPI Bubble Bath and Love is in the Bare are my go-to nudes,” says Shelton. “They are staple colours that can be worn alone or as a base for nail art or a French tip—a hit all year round.”
I’ve been wearing two coats of Chanel’s Ballerina on repeat, and I’m obsessed.
So many love OPI’s iconic Bubble Bath shade.
Vampy shades were made for autumn, and we can expect to see jewel-toned purples reign in salons—not just for Halloween. However, it can be a difficult colour to work with. “Red or darker nail polish can sometimes be tricky to work with as it can stain your nails and skin around your fingernails if not applied properly,” says Shelton. “Always apply a base coat as this can help the longevity of the manicure and prevent the colour from staining your natural nails. Apply thin coats and allow to air dry for a minute in between each coat, and follow up with a top coat. This helps to seal in the colour and will leave a beautiful finish.”
How luxe does this deep purple look?
“OPI Lincoln Park After Dark paired with beautifully manicured nails is just perfection,” says Shelton.
Trust Hermès to deliver a chic aubergine hue.
Red is a super-chic nail colour that stands the test of time across all seasons, and with so many shades red to choose from, now is the time to experiment with different undertones for your autumn manicure. “OPI Big Apple Red is a classic shade, and there’s always something about a red nail that makes me feel sexy,” notes Shelton. In fact, it’s a shade that nail techs always tell me suits absolutely everyone.
One of OPI’s most iconic shades.
Red nail polish has never looked better.
This bright red will see you through all seasons.
“Chocolate-brown nails are always a hit during the autumn months, especially if you’re someone who loves a dark nail but isn’t quite sure about black,” says Shelton. “I really like OPI Brown to Earth—it’s a beautiful, warm chocolate brown which compliments all skin tones and pairs well with the chunky knits that we all reach for when autumn comes around.” Experiment with deep espresso through to chai-latte brown for an understated manicure that always looks chic.
This brown Hermès polish whispers quiet luxury.
Every shade of brown you could ever need.
The perfect beige.
Guess what? Glazed-donut nails are not going anywhere. “I think there will still be a huge emphasis on the glazed, chrome nail,” says Class. “It’s not going anywhere! I would anticipate that shimmers and pearly-shade polishes will be a huge hit going into winter for an icy, chrome feel.” Whilst chrome powders require a gel polish to adhere to, you can replicate the look with normal polish by choosing ones with iridescent finishes that catch the light in the prettiest way.
Price shown is members’ price. So. Pretty.
Achieves the glazed look in just one coat.
This looks so beautiful worn alone or layered over polish.
Elongated lengths are back in a big way this season, says Class. “I think we’re definitely going to see a real emphasis on that slightly longer nail length. I think it’s a really nice option when coming into party season for a bit more of an elegant length,” she says. This shape also dominated the autumn/winter runways, too. “At Saint Laurent, we saw long, stiletto, vampy nail shapes, which I love, as it really gives an empowering and ‘don’t mess with me’ vibe that I’m totally here for,” says Class. “If you’re braving it with a longer nail length and feel it’s too much to go for both long length and darker shades straight away, ease yourself in. Opt for a glass-type nail with a touch of metallic on the tip, or stay with neutral tones, like an extension of your fingers, as we saw at the Acne Studios autumn/winter show.”
If you’re growing your nails long, a good nail cream is essential. Temple Spa’s contains 65 minerals to strengthen weak nails and prevent them from splitting.
Chanel’s glass nail file will not only last a lifetime, but glass delivers a smoother finish that means longer nails are less likely to snap.
Can’t get into the salon for extensions? These press-on nails are the next best thing.
There’s something about the gloss of a black manicure that looks ultra-luxe, and like black handbags and shoes, it’ll pair with everything in your wardrobe. This hue looks best on shorter nails for an understated look, and be sure to finish with a long-wearing top coat to make your manicure chip-free for as long as possible.
Chanel’s newly formulated polishes are amongst the longest-wearing I’ve ever tried.
A staple to have in your nail polish wardrobe for nail art, too.
Nailberry’s formulas have a super-shiny finish.