Ever since Marilyn Monroe stepped onstage in a translucent gown covered in shimmering crystals back in 1961, the naked dress grabbed hold of our collective consciousness and never let go. See: Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Kendall Jenner and so, so many more.
You may not be borrowing Marilyn’s infamous naked gown from the Ripley’s museum like Kim did at the 2022 Met Gala or donning a gem-studded nude catsuit like Britney Spears on multiple occasions, but you can create a similar trompe l’oeil effect with your manicure with one of the prettiest nail trends of 2023: naked glitter nails.
Naked glitter nails are exactly what they sound like: a neutral base close to your skin tone enhanced by glitter or shimmer that looks as though it’s suspended in air. We’re not talking thick, chunky glitter—naked glitter nails are all about subtle sparkle and delicate shimmer. They can be worn anywhere, anytime, making them a versatile choice at your next mani appointment, and have a certain red carpet allure that is equally pretty for a Monday morning meeting, a Valentine’s Day date or even a wedding.
But that doesn’t mean naked glitter nails require hours in the salon. They’re actually pretty simple to replicate on your own. “It’s another variation of the ‘glazed donut’ nails except it’s less involved,” explains celebrity nail artist Sonya Meesh. “Chrome powder isn’t in the mix and the margin for error is close to none." The naked glitter manicure is a prime choice for low-maintenance folks who don’t love booking regular salon appointments or changing up their polish every few days, since chipping isn’t as noticeable. “This look is also a great option for those who want to be a bit more adventurous with their manis, but can’t seem to shake their usual nude,” advises Meesh.
It’s also a newbie-friendly manicure for those of us without super-steady hands and precise painting skills. “The application for this look is super forgiving since the color is so sheer,” says Meesh. “The shine is distracting so no one will notice your mistakes.” If you’re just dipping a toe (or a nail) into the manicure world, naked glitter nails are a trendy but user-friendly place to start.
How to Get Naked Glitter Nails
If you’re heading to the salon for a shimmery manicure, Meesh advises showing your nail artist photos of your desired manicure to ensure they nail it, pun intended. “If you’ve got the option to pick from a wall of colors, take a look at the bottles, look for those without too deep of a base or background color,” they explain. “Check to see if it’s got small micro-glitter pigment in it.” This isn’t the time for super thick, bold and chunky glitter.
DIYing a naked glitter manicure from the comfort of your couch or bathroom counter? You’ll need a base color close to your natural skin tone or nail color for that long, mannequin hands illusion look, plus a super-fine glitter topcoat—that’s it!
One of Meesh’s favorite polishes for the look is Cirque Colors’ Nectar, a sheer, shimmering gold. “It’s great on top of your favorite sheer nude or layered by itself. I like to pair it with one coat of their color Voile,” they share. Other favorites include ORLY’s Snow Worries, a frosty, shimmery peach-pink and Ephemeral, an iridescent gold shimmer. For more subtle sparkle, Dior Vernis Nail Polish Top Coat in Cosmic is a neutral, translucent hue with the prettiest gold shimmer for a delicate wash of color on the nail.