23 Pretty Nude Manicure Ideas You'll Want To Try ASAP

The most flattering nail shade just got an upgrade.
PHOTO: (LEFT) Instagram/paintboxnails, (RIGHT) Instagram/nailthoughts

Nude nails, it’s the vaguest of trends that cover a multitude of colors: Beige, caramel, ballet-shoe pink, creamy peach, mushroom, mocha (we could go on). But what’s a girl to do when muted starts to feel meh?

The clever thing about nude nail polish is that it flatters hands by giving the appearance of longer fingers (not that we have anything against short fingers, natch). It also makes a great neutral base for delicate nail art designs and looks incredible alternated with a glittery accent nail on long acrylics. Prefer a no-fuss, high-shine vibe? Try some gel nude nails on coffin-shaped acrylics for added drama. Tracy Lee demonstrates how good a matte finish looks when using multiple beige shades for a pretty gradient effect. And props to Townhouse for their clever wet-look design.

We searched Instagram for the best nude nail looks and threw all our bright nail polishes in the bin (not really, that would be wasteful). Enjoy.

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  1. Touch of Sparkle

    Add a scattering of sparkle above your cuticles to brighten a nude mani.

  2. Lilac Lines

    Pastel colors won’t stand out too hard on a nude background, creating a lovely is-it-there-or-is-it-not effect.

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  3. Metal Cuffs

    A simple-but-chic gold strand along the bottom of each nail adds an interesting detail to an understated look.

  4. Pastel Moons

    Brighten up your cuticles with a flash of rainbow polish.

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  5. Foil Kisses

    Rose-gold kisses add a little extra to your accent nail.

  6. Go for Gold

    Love a metallic mani but don't want to look OTT? Try this understated style on for size.

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  7. French Lace

    This bridal-inspired lace nail art gives a fresh take on the classic white French tip.

  8. Wet Look

    Beige nails that got caught in the rain. The pros use a clear gel to create the droplets, you can use a clear at-home varnish.

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  9. Stripe Through

    A chunky glitter stripe down the length of each nail. You’ll need some nail tape to get those ruler-sharp edges, but other than that, EASY!

  10. Curved Tips

    A long tip will always look chic in beige, especially when it’s softened with a curve.

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  11. Stitched Up

    So fun, yet so simple. Consider this one nail art for beginners.

  12. Embellished

    Fancy a new piercing but don’t have any more room on your ears? Et voilà!

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  13. Glitter Accents

    Negative space nail art isn't going anywhere, and this metallic glitter look is our fave to date.

  14. White Designs

    Delicate white doodles on a nude base. There’s also something very Zen about floating a dot above your cuticles.

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  15. Transparent Tips

    Who knew teaming nude nails with a clear acrylic stiletto tip could look so damn classy?

  16. Neon Flash

    It's official: A teeny-tiny stripe of neon yellow is never not a good idea.

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  17. Cloud Nine

    *Public service announcement* Looking at these cloud-like nails will slow your breathing and make your shoulders drop.

  18. Stargazer

    Try disappearing stars that look like they’re floating.

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  19. Caramel Cool

    Caramel and cream tips add chic detail to this all-natural nail look.

  20. Double Cuff

    A bright white cuticle cuff alongside a softer nude one. An absolute look for shorter nails.

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  21. Gel Gradient

    Gel nails with a gentle gradient. It’s simple, but you’ll still get compliments.

  22. Delicate Dots

    We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—nude nails make the best base for oh-so-delicate nail art.

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  23. Monochrome Mani

    In the mood for something minimalist? Bright black and white tips will do just nicely.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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