We're Calling It: Thermal Nails Are About to Be Everywhere This Fall

Megan Thee Stallion is a fan.

Megan The Stallion's Thermal Nails


What if we told you that even though the summer heat is coming to a close, you can still take your hot girl energy into the fall? If we've caught your attention, read on. We've got the scoop on the latest nail trend that's taking over feeds everywhere.

Meet the thermal manicure, the unexpected nail design taking off right now. However, with its bright colors and abstract detailing, it's no surprise this trend has widespread appeal. "They are really cool because they feature a lot of bold colors in that abstract look that people love," says Brittany Boyce, Founder of Nails of LA.

Furthermore, the primary colors and bold patterns allow for plenty of styling possibilities. Stylist Tyrina Lee adds that "a manicure can bring a sense of balance and completion to any look. They give that hot girl effect." 

The Trend

Megan Thee Stallion was one of the first celebs to put the edgy look on the map with the help of her go-to nail tech Coca Michelle. The rapper showcased her bold acrylics on Instagram last week, and we couldn't help but want to try the look out for ourselves.

Sported by the "Hot Girl Coach" during her Atlanta Music Midtown Festival performance, the long cobalt blue manicure featured a colorful take on thermal designs. While weather patterns and cold fronts might seem like far-out inspiration for a manicure, the style quickly caught on with fans and beauty enthusiasts alike (Megan's Instagram post has 1.5M likes and counting).

The Inspiration

Beauty mogul and influencer Nikita Dragun also tried out the thermal nail trend at the end of summer. She commissioned celebrity nail artist Chaun Legend to create a similar pattern on her acrylics in early August.

Since then, we've seen substantial growth in the thermal trend that mimics colors seen when mapping temperature distribution. "Even though the weather may not be the direct inspiration, perhaps there is a deeper meaning calling for climate change awareness," Boyce suggests. Furthermore, "this is a great way to express the change of seasons," Lee adds. 

How To Get The Look

Eager to help you navigate the trend, we spoke with nail expert Brittany Boyce to give you a step-by-step on creating the look. Read on for some expert tips.

Don't worry about perfection—each nail should sport a slightly different shape and design to create the best thermal effect.

  • Start with a base coat. 
  • Apply a bright blue polish on the entire nail. (The nail tech reminds us to let it dry before moving to the next step.)
  • Using a striper brush, apply one color at a time in a random section to create a squiggly shape, allowing each layer to dry for two to four minutes in between. 
  • Layer on the next shade on top of the existing layer. Start with a neon green and top with a bright orange-red. 
  • Use a neon yellow to highlight the edge of the orange-red shade. "You don't have to be perfect with the shape or application. Each finger can have a slightly different design. Some can be more elongated; others can be smaller and more circular," Boyce tells us.
  • Allow your design to dry for 10 minutes.
  • Add a topcoat like ORLY's Glosser and allow 20+ min for the polish to dry completely.

Boyce and Lee also underscored that the possibilities are endless when it comes to this design. "You can change the colors depending on the season or your mood," Lee concludes. So, there you have it. Get creative with your take—there are plenty of options if you're trying out this trend come autumn.

Related Stories