Sorry nail art, the ‘boring manicure’ is here to stay— these 12 looks have won me over

Chic simplicity

boring manicures
(Image credit: Getty Images / Jeremy Moeller / Contributor)

The biggest nail trends of 2024 look set to get even bolder as we approach the summer months—from glow in the dark nails to sunset-inspired manicures. But if intricate nail art and eye-catching colour pop designs don’t fit your personal aesthetic then you’re in luck—a more pared-back approach to nails is emerging from the abundance of neon manis and summer brights. I’m coining it the 'boring manicure'—and, as a woman who likes an easy and drama-free life, I say that with joy.

"Milky manicures, glazed doughnut nails and micro-French tips continue to be popular choices because they are simple to create and easy to maintain, but deliver an effortlessly chic aesthetic,” explains Kirsten White, nail technician and CEO and founder of London Grace. “The trends are universally appealing, suiting all skin tones, nail shapes and lengths too.”

Sure, some might say boring, but their simplicity is undoubtedly what makes these basic manicures so appealing. And who can deny how effortlessly beautiful a perfectly executed, expertly groomed, and ultra-glossy nail can look? These manicures might not have the bells and whistles of a bedazzled lavender chrome manicure, but your nails will still take centre stage with these elegant looks.

From nude BB cream nails to glowy ‘no-manicure manicures’, I’ve rounded up the 12 best boring manicures to inspire your next minimalist nail look.

1. Fombré nails

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Combining the colours of a classic French manicure, but with the colour fade technique of an ombré design, this subtle and chic approach to nail art is about to be everywhere.

2. No-make-up mani

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While the details are immaculate—seriously, look how neat those cuticles are—this look is the nail equivalent of only wearing a skin tint. Sheer, natural, and effortless.

3. Sheer white

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Chiffon soft and barely-there, this milky white manicure is a sophisticated take on the block colour manicures that dominate during the summer months.

4. Classic French

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Some might call it a boring manicure, I’d say that a French manicure is a classic for a reason—when it’s executed impeccably like this one then nothing makes me feel more polished.

5. Lipgloss nails

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Proving that basic nails can still be fun, this high-shine manicure looks so juicy and fresh and that transparent pink shade is just beautiful.

6. Naked French

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This modern twist on a classic French manicure embraces sheer, milky shades for both the tips and base for a softer take on this timeless look.

7. BB cream mani

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A light layer of neutral polish that’s close to your skin tone and an ultra-glossy top coat is all you need for this effortlessly polished manicure.

8. Glazed doughnut nails

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We’ve all been obsessed with glazed doughnut nails since Hailey Bieber stepped out wearing them, and it’s easy to see why when this dewy manicure looks so damn good.

9. Beige manicure

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Call me basic but this minimalist manicure is utter perfection to me. An opaque, sandy beige applied all over the nails is so wearable and a nice alternative to the more sheer, clean-girl manicure. This will be a huge colour for 2024.

10. Iridescent shine

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At first glance this looks like any other boring manicure, but look again and you’ll notice a subtle sparkle that catches the light. A grown-up take on glitter nails.

11. Milky mani

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It’s as much about the translucent milky nail shade as it is about the hydrated hands and nourished cuticles in this strikingly simple manicure. I can only dream of my hands and nails looking this healthy.

12. French crème

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Not as bright as buttermilk nails, but with a definite yellow undertone, the French crème manicure is slightly more opaque than a milky manicure and will appeal to fans of neutral colour-block manicures.

Mica Ricketts

Mica Ricketts is a freelance beauty editor and contributor to Marie Claire. She has written for titles including Refinery29 and Who What Wear UK, and also works with beauty brands on content messaging and marketing copy. She was previously Who What Wear UK's beauty editor. As someone that has tried basically every acne product on the market, she has a particular passion for debunking skincare myths and finding products that work. Plus, with two small children at home she is all about time-saving beauty routines that boost glow and disguise dark circles.