We don’t want to believe it, but summer is  on its way out over. It’s time to abandon your Easter-egg manis and neon claws and lean into the moodier shades and glitzy accents that go hand-in-hand with frigid temperatures and end-of-year-celebrations. We consulted Canadian nail experts Leeanne Colley and Rita Remark to get the low-down on the top nail art and colour trends to keep on your radar this fall and winter.

1. The New Neutral

According to Leeanne Colley, nail artist and founder of Tips Nail Bar, rusted hues are officially taking over as the neutral nail shades du jour. Swap out flesh-toned polishes with sepia-tinted colours for low-key nails that have an autumnal edge. Colley suggests opting for “earthy tones, like terracottas, burnt oranges, even mustard” to warm up a subtle manicure. Look for shades that have “warm, flattering brown undertones” – like burnished copper and honeyed yellow – to keep your mani universally flattering.

2. The Mismatched Mani

Multi-hued manicures, otherwise known as skittle nails, will remain as popular as ever. The reason? It’s an uncomplicated way to inject colour into your manicure. “It’s nail art with no nail art tools required,” says Rita Remark, global educator and lead nail artist for Essie. Plus, it’s super easy to master on your own. Remark recommends choosing anywhere from three to 10 shades that harmonize or look exciting together. “It doesn’t have to be wild. It can be as simple as five different nude shades,” she says. If you’re having trouble choosing a set of colours, Remark recommends turning to textiles, prints or paintings you’re drawn to for inspiration. “It makes creating an artistic selection of colours really easy and straightforward,” she says. “Ultimately, those are all done by artists that have a really good [understanding of] colour theory.” Just make sure not to have similar tones beside one another. Vary it up with contrast to achieve a true “skittle” effect rather than an ombré look.

3. Appliqués All Day

We may be past the days of press-on nails, but stick-on embellishments are on our radar as we move into the second half of the year. “A big trend on runways was appliqués, like studs and jewels,” says Remark. “These couldn’t be easier to apply, especially if you’re just adding a couple of jewels by the cuticle.” To get the look, take a moistened toothpick and pick up the gem you want to use. “Press it into nail polish when it’s still kind of gooey, and then it dries there and you have a really fun nail statement.” Easy as pie.

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4. The Updated French Manicure

Love it or hate it, the French manicure isn’t going anywhere. “It’s way too fun and it’s way too versatile,” says Remark. It’s also a great way to experiment with different trends. “Just having the tips of your nails painted is an expression of the French manicure, even if it’s not in the traditional smile curve,” says Remark. Add gold accents or stud appliqués onto the tips of your nails to add a glamorous edge, or if you’re feeling extra extra, try mismatching with different patterns and colourful accents. Want to tone it down? “A cool graphic French tip using two or three shades with a clear natural nail base is really beautiful,” says Colley.

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5. Black Is the New Black

“A glossy black nail has always been my go-to in the fall/winter,” says Colley. “It’s become like the new red.” Besides its versatility (you simply can’t go wrong with black), high-shine black polish works on all nail shapes and lengths, and is sophisticated and badass at the same time. And if you’re prone to chipping, inky shades are the way to go. A few nicks and scratches here and here looks effortlessly cool and just screams: “I am unbothered.”

6. A Touch of Metal

Metallics will take on a new softer edge during frostier months. According to Remark, “textured nail polish that has a little bit more oomph to it” – like gold leaf, metallic brushstrokes and intentionally placed glitters – will be favoured over a full-on chrome effect. Not so big on nail art? Colley suggests asking your manicurist for a powdered chrome mani. “It gives a really cool sheen to the nail, but you don’t get this blinged-out [look].”

7. Blue, But Make it Denim

Yes, icy-blue hues and iridescent manicures dominated this summer (and we will miss them dearly), but muted tones that pop are taking over. “This fall it’s a little bit more of a denim [blue],” predicts Remark. Colley agrees. “Greyer undertones of blue will be really big this fall/winter,” she says. This understated shade looks elegant without overshadowing the rest of your look. If you’re a stickler for vibrancy, Colley suggests pairing blue nails with warmer shades. “I love seeing blues paired with those earthy tones [like] burnt oranges and mustard yellows.” Extend your Canadian tuxedo to the tips of your fingernails with confidence.

8. Negative Space Nails 

“Negative space will still continue [to trend] this fall/winter and be bigger than it was before” says Colley. Subtle graphic lines or a few dots on a natural nail goes a long way to make a statement with very little effort. The best part? After your manicure is well past its best-before date, this style of nail art can outlast a bit of growth and chipping. “A lot of it has to do with elongating time between manicures. Everything that we’re doing now is about convenience,” she says. Suffice to say this look is well-suited for 2020.


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