As summer comes to a close, the season of bright, elaborate designs and neon-chrome manicures does, too. Now, more muted, everyday glam is taking over—and the milky nails trend is proof. A favorite of celebs like Nicola Peltz, Zendaya, Miranda Kerr, and Kylie Jenner, this nail color adds a polished accent to every look. It's not stark white or glittery. Rather, this creamy nail color lies somewhere between white and nude.
If you prefer a manicure that goes with literally everything, milky nails could be a great choice for your next trip to the salon. Read on for more details on the trend and expert-approved tips from Glosslab founder Rachel Apfel Glass, and celebrity manicurist Betina Goldstein for achieving the minimalist look at home.
Neutrals never truly go out of style. Although colorful patterns are always a fun option, there's something about a classic manicure that just works. Milky nails are the perfect example of just that. "The milky nail look has definitely been a popular ask among our clients and is essentially a shimmering white that has a sort of chrome-effect to it," Glass explains. "We love this mani because it is clean and simple, yet eye catching and bright."
Goldstein adds that "it’s a softer version of a stark white manicure, but adds a bit more color than a sheer nude. It makes your nails look clean and polished."
Plus, you don't need to grow out your natural nails (or sign up for extensions) for milky nails to look great. As Glass puts it, this manicure "looks good on all nail types whether it be short nails, almond shaped, etc."
Not to mention, as summer ends and fall begins, having a basic manicure that goes with everything (from bikinis to turtlenecks) is convenient. "The milky nail trend is the perfect transition trend from summer to fall, because it is both bright, yet neutral," Glass explains.
Whether you go more nude or white with this milky manicure, these nails are the perfect way to keep things understated, but still fresh. Celebrities seem to be on board, too.
A pinker "strawberry milk" version of this nail trend is also popular. Celebrity nail artist Lisa Kon used LK Nude Rubber Base Coat 04 - Milk Pink ($30) for this baby pink on Zendaya.
Miranda Kerr showed off a similar manicure during the 2022 Met Gala. Celebrity nail artist Kim Truong achieved the look by using NTB-02 Strawberry Milk Base ($17) from Kokoist.
Get the Look
The best part of this trend? It's not too tricky to replicate at home. As long as you have the right color and some nail polish remover handy, you should be able to achieve milky nails without any issues.
Glass suggests, "Try a couple of coats of a light, white polish - such as our Glosslab nail-strengthening nail polish in OG White ($10) or OG Cotton ($10), followed by a coat of shimmer gel polish." OPI's Funny Bunny ($11) is also a go-to for that perfect milky manicure, but any soft white color will work (as long as it isn't clumpy when you're applying).
Another draw of this mani is that it's completely doable at home.
- To start, you'll want to grab a light white polish. If you don't have one, Goldstein suggests making your own by mixing three parts—or drops-of a topcoat with one part of a creamy white polish like Chanel Le Vernis Blanc Écume ($30).
- Once you've prepped your nails, apply a few coats of this barely-there color, making sure that it doesn't become too stark white.
- Using a small brush (or a Q-Tip) and some acetone, clean up any mistakes.
- Finish with a top coat.
If you're headed to the salon, Goldstein likes CND Plexigel in Oat Milk. "It is great because it can be used as a traditional gel polish, or it can be used to create nail extensions, or create 3D designs. It is also a thicker formula, so with one coat you get the perfect dimension for the perfect milky nail trend."
The milky nail trend is an easy go-to that you'll (probably) never get sick of. Whether you've been on the lookout for a neutral manicure or want a bit of a palette cleanser before diving into your next funky design, this can be a great option.