"Vanilla Chrome" Nails Put a Sweet Spin on the Milkshake Mani Trend

Vanilla chrome manicure with pastel floral designs


If you love to follow the latest in manicures, you've probably seen recent trends take a turn for the sweet and textural, from chrome nails (also known as Hailey Bieber nails or glazed donut nails) to milk bath nails to the vanilla French mani. If you've tried all of the above or simply are looking for another chic take on today's most popular aesthetics, enter vanilla chrome nails. Combining a shimmering finish with rich, creamy shades and plenty of opportunity for personalization, this trend has major potential whether you're having a Bridgerton-inspired coquette moment or feeling a futuristic, radiant finish to complement your summer glow. Learn all about the vanilla chrome nails trend ahead, complete with inspiration photos and insights from celebrity nail artist Gina Edwards.

Meet the Expert

  • Gina Edwards is a New York City-based celebrity nail artist and Kiss brand ambassador who has worked with the likes of Vera Wang, Anne Hathaway, and Tessa Thompson.

What Are Vanilla Chrome Nails?

While a vanilla chrome manicure can look a lot of different ways, at its core, it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like. "Vanilla chrome is off-white or white nails with a sheer, iridescent chrome glazing," Edwards tells us. The look brings together the neutral, creamy palettes of minimalist phenomenons like the "vanilla girl" aesthetic with a mesmerizing metallic finish that feels right on par with manicure and fashion trends alike. In an era when the Y2K obsession is as strong as ever, it makes sense that we're all embracing a retro version of futuristic vibes.

Vanilla chrome nails are clearly closely related to other current trends, but there's a reason they're catching on quickly in their own right. "It’s more dynamic and captures different colors in the light," Edwards says of how the look stands out. By combining the understated base with the shiny chrome finish, you get a manicure that simultaneously makes a statement and goes with everything—and who doesn't love the idea of that?

The Trend

Vanilla chrome manicure with bejeweled accents and silver rings


While you might have expected some variation of vanilla chrome nails to become popular after the other manicure styles that have exploded in recent months, the trend has been on the rise for a while. "Through social media, I would say Hailey Bieber made it explosive, but it was pretty popular behind the scenes," Edwards tells us. "I actually featured a glazed nail on the NYFW runway last year during the Rebecca Minkoff show using the Kiss Jelly Fantasy Sculpted Nails in Jelly Juice ($9)." The nails she used (pictured above) are press-ons, which were perfect for the rush of fashion week and also make it easy for you to recreate the look in minutes without having to go to a salon or stock up on special products.

How to Get the Vanilla Chrome Nails Look

Chrome powder is a professional product, so in most cases, you'll want to head to the salon to achieve a vanilla chrome manicure. Edwards says to ask for "an iced vanilla or a vanilla ice cream glaze," and from there you can specify any customizations you'd like, such as designs or gems. If you're looking for your nails to look as close to the viral photos as possible, it's definitely worth going to a manicurist for best results.

Still, since chrome nails are so popular these days, you also have more options than ever if you want to recreate the vanilla chrome look at home. "It’s normally [created] with gel polish, but you can use a white polish with a sheer iridescent topper or look into press-on nails," Edwards shares. "I love the Kiss glazed donut collection currently available, and they even have one called 'Vanilla Glazed' ($12)." If you choose to top a vanilla-toned polish with an iridescent finish, you have a few options: Try an iridescent top coat like this one ($6) from Urban Outfitters, an all-in-one pearlescent polish like Nails.Inc's What the Shell? ($11), or whatever shimmery eyeshadow you have on hand, which you can then seal in with a clear top coat.

The Best Vanilla Chrome Manicures to Try Now

Glazed Floral

Vanilla chrome manicure with pastel floral design


While the base of vanilla chrome nails is usually a creamy off-white, that doesn't mean you can't integrate a bit of color. We love how seamlessly these pastel flowers work alongside the glazed background for a spring-ready look.

Pearlescent Chrome

Pearlescent vanilla chrome press-on nails with pearl and gem accents


For this mani, created for Markarian's Fall 2022 show, Edwards used a set of Kiss Bare-But-Better Nails ($9), which have a subtle iridescent finish and come in several shade options so you can return to them even when you're craving a different flavor. This pearl-encrusted version is currently unavailable, but you can get a similar effect by adding flatback pearls like these ($5) by Daily Charme to a vanilla chrome or pearlescent base.

Metallic Vanilla

To keep it simple while still turning heads, color choice goes a long way. The subtle golden tone and ultra-metallic finish of these vanilla chrome nails result in an especially luxe vibe.

Tuxedo Chrome

Manicure with vanilla chrome base and black accent designs


For those who are curious about vanilla chrome nails but prefer a slightly darker aesthetic, pair an iridescent vanilla chrome base with various black French tip and half-moon designs for an ultra-cool tuxedo look.

Vanilla Chrome French

Vanilla-toned manicure with chrome French accent nails and micro flower design


Looking for balance between full chrome and a classic glossy finish? This vanilla mani reserves the iridescence for French tip accent nails, one of which features a tiny flower detail.

A Glossy Treat

Sometimes, the best way to make your vanilla chrome manicure stand out is to go all in on the shine. This finish is as glossy and rock-solid as it is iridescent and chrome—make sure to emphasize these qualities to your nail tech if this is your goal.

Negative Space Neutrals

Vanilla chrome nails with negative space cuticle half-moon and white polka dots


If you like your vanilla vibes on the beige side, try a slightly darker shade to create the vibe of a black-and-white milkshake on your nails. This mani also features a negative space cuticle half-moon design and tons of tiny white polka dots to truly stand out from the crowd.

Sparkling Vanilla Chrome

Iridescent vanilla glitter manicure


Maybe looking at all this subtle shimmer made you crave something a bit more explicitly sparkly, and we embrace that. This sheer manicure uses its iridescent shade sparingly to embody the best of vanilla chrome with an extra dose of glitter.

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