Like everyone right now, I'm loving neutral nails—here are 13 different ways to wear them

Nudes, browns, pinks and creams to fall hard for

Two fashion week attendees wearing neutral nail looks
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A neutral nail look is the nail trend equivalent to a crisp white t-shirt, or that black leather bag you fit your life into: it's simple, understated, and always does the trick. Not sure what you'll be wearing for a special occasion? So-called 'boring manicures' never fail, so go neutral with your nails. (Perhaps this season's BB Cream nails take your fancy?) Off on holiday but have a wardrobe of bright outfits? Neutral will go with everything. Work in an office where there's a strict dress code? Neutral works well with business chic.

The phrase 'neutral nail' is in itself wide-reaching; neutral can refer to nudes, browns, pinks and creams. We've all got our favourite neutral (I'm a sucker for O.P.I's Bubble Bath while in the salon), and whether it's straight across the nail or incorporated into a fun nail art situation, neutral is always a winner.

The pros like to turn to neutral hues, too. "Sometimes, less is more. A neutral manicure gives an instantly sophisticated and clean look; it will be perfect for any occasion, plus it goes with any colour outfit," says Hayley McColm, Mii Cosmetics Pro Nail Ambassador.

If you're unsure which neutral you'd like best, Lynn Mason, nail expert at Mavala says it's pretty easy to work out which nail polish colours best complement your skin tone. "When helping customers choose the best polish for their skin tone, I suggest choosing a range of varying tones in the shade, and putting the bottles between each finger. You will quickly see which polishes don’t stand out, and you can choose by process of elimination. Shades that work for your skin tone will stand out more against the ones that don’t. I always suggest trying a tone you would not normally pick, as it may surprise you," she says.

If you need neutral nail inspo, I've selected my current favourites, plus the best neutral polishes for the job...

Shop neutral nail polishes

Neutral Nail Inspiration

1. Chic taupe

A taupe shade nail polish is a great neutral option if you don't fancy pinks or creams.

2. Simple stars 

Neutral nails often work best with subtler nail art, such as these pretty stars.

3. Pretty in pink

A sheer polish is a winner, every time. It also looks great with silver rings.

4. Muted tips

Understated, muted tips are a gorgeous addition to a neutral mani.

5. Chrome finish

The celebrity-approved chrome finish mani is here to stay, so pair it with a neutral nail polish for a modern take on the trend.

6. Subtle ombre

A pastel pink to creamy milk white ombre fade is so stylish and worth a try.

7. Modern French tips

A French manicure with white tips is always in style; I love this modern approach.

8. Neutral hearts

I'm in love with this look, which combines neutral nude-pink hues with understated nail art.

9. Detailed tips

Opt for a detailed tip if a classic French manicure isn't enough for you.

10. Square ombre

A short-ish square-shaped nail looks lovely with this dreamy ombre design.

11. Sheer pink

A sheer pink is cooler than a block colour; this look proves it!

12. Milky hues

A creamy milk white nail polish always makes a statement.

13. Classic nude

This nude has subtle undertones of pink and looks beautiful on extensions.

Rebecca Fearn

Rebecca is a freelance beauty journalist and contributor to Marie Claire. She has written for titles including Refinery29, The Independent, Grazia, Coveteur, Dazed, Stylist, and Glamour. She is also a brand consultant and has worked with the likes of The Inkey List on campaign messaging and branded copy. She’s obsessed with skincare, nail art and fragrance, and outside of beauty, Rebecca likes to travel, watch true crime docs, pet sausage dogs and drink coffee. Rebecca is also passionate about American politics and mental health awareness.