The "Naked" Nail Trend Is Sexy but Understated

Getty/Jeremy Moeller
Getty/Jeremy Moeller
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This summer has seen no shortage of kitschy nail trends — think the "blueberry-milk" manicure and "vagina" nails, to name a few — but the latest has to be our favorite yet. "Naked" nails are here — and yes, they're as sexy as they sound, but probably not for the reasons you're thinking. In fact, this trend is all about a stripped-down look with minimal polish (or none at all).

The hashtag #nakednails has more than five million views and counting on TikTok, with videos from thousands of users confirming that 2023 has officially been dubbed "naked-nail summer." Celebrities are starting to adopt the look; even fictional fashionista Carrie Bradshaw is a long-time naked-nail stan. Plus, if you've decided to adopt the "quiet luxury" aesthetic this summer, this manicure is the perfect way to top off your look.

Ahead, we chat with two nail experts, Jan Arnold, cofounder of CND, and Nadine Abramcyk, founder of Tenoverten, who break down everything to know about naked nails, including what they are and how you can achieve the trend at a home.

What Are Naked Nails?

This trend is when your manicure looks how your nails would naturally — but better. "We saw the early phases of this trend take root with the rise of the 'invisible' manicure," Abramcyk tells POPSUGAR. "People have grown an appreciation for natural nails, the equivalent to the no-makeup look."

Rather than loading on excess amounts of polish, gel, or acrylics, people are looking to get as minimal as possible. "The 'clean girl' aesthetic is still very much top of mind, so people want to show off their healthy, natural-looking nails as part of the look," Arnold tells POPSUGAR.

Not only does the trend look good, but it's good for your nails as well. Dermatologists have warned against the potential side effects of wearing gel or acrylics too often and have even suggested "nail cycling" as a way to put the pause on nail damage. "Taking a break every eight to 10 weeks allows the repair of the nail matrix, which is found under the nail cuticle and contains stem cells where new nails are formed," Kunal Malik, MD, board-certified general and cosmetic dermatologist previously told POPSUGAR. "Aggressive practices when it comes to gel or acrylic manicures, such as increased pressure upon removal of the nail, can irreparably damage the nail matrix."

How to Get Naked Nails at Home

If you're ready to embrace the look, Arnold says that the key to a perfect naked manicure is to first make sure your nails are in great health, so you should aim to moisturize and condition your nail beds and cuticles daily. "I love using the CND Solar Oil ($10) as part of my night-time routine before bed because it's a blend of jojoba, vitamin E, rice bran, and sweet almond oils which penetrate the skin quickly and help prevent the nail plate and cuticle from getting dry and brittle," she says.

If your nails are damaged or need a little TLC, Arnold recommends using the CND RescueRxx ($21), a daily keratin treatment that can help strengthen the nail plate with continued use.

Once you've got a healthy blank canvas to work with, you'll want to cut and file the nails to your desired length and shape. Both Arnold and Abramcyk agree that shorter, trimmed nails are a key component of the trend, but in reality, the shape and length are entirely up to you. Abramcyk recommends using The Buff Plus ($12) if you want your nails to glow without polish, but if you're a polish lover through and through, start out with a nail primer like the Tenoverten The Rehab ($18), and then follow up with a shade like the CND Vinylux in Negligee ($9), a sheer nude.

Naked-Nails Inspiration

If you're on board with naked-nail summer, keep scrolling for some inspiration.

Short Round Naked Nails

Short Square Naked Nails

Short Round Naked Nails

Long Round Naked Nails

Short Naked Nails

Medium Round Naked Nails

Long Almond Naked Nails