Goodbye, nail art. We’re sorry to see you go, but there’s a new kid in town. The no-manicure manicure is here and it’s about to be really big.
I came to this realization while I was walking around the office last week. I noticed every super chic girl had bare nails. They were buffed and shaped, of course, but there was no polish in sight. Not even red. On the street I saw the same thing. Every stylish woman was rocking an invisible manicure. I knew I had to give it a go immediately.
Instead of hued polish, I’m gravitating towards nail perfectors, hydrating base coats and barely-there shades that leave a subtle shimmer in a single swipe. Finally, our nail routines are catching up to our skincare and makeup regimens.
Here’s what you need to know to join the new minimalist mani wave:
1. No more covering up.
To pull off a no-manicure, you’ve got to take care of your real nails. There’s no shellac, fillers or opaque polishes here… what’s underneath is where the beauty begins. To get long, strong and smooth nails, add these steps to your beauty line-up:
Buffing cream or scrub — This is basically a facial for your nails. The idea is to scrub away the residue from harmful polishes from your nail beds and cuticles. Reverence de Bastien is a really great option, but in a pinch, Aesop’s Geranium Leaf Body Scrub will also do the trick. If you’d rather not splurge, add a little coconut oil to your favorite face exfoliator. Voila.
Hydrating oil — To keep your cuticles in check, use an oil before bed or after polish removal. It will hydrate your nail beds, reversing the damage that’s been done from all those lights and toxic polishes. Any clean oil will do, but I especially love Maya Chia’s Super Critical Omega-3 Oil and Linne’s Balance Face Oil. I know, they’re technically for your face, but that just means they’re super gentle formulas. They’re nontoxic, too, so use them to the MAX.
Nail perfector — After buffing and hydrating and before any polish application, apply a nail perfector. These gems give your nails growth-stimulating nutrients, while hiding any blemishes like bruises, scrapes or ridges. Nails Inc’s Kale Base Coat is to die for, as is Deborah Lippmann’s Illuminating Nail Tone Perfector. Also, I can’t not mention Dior Nail Glow if you are into the perfect pink/ skin colored nail.
2. Stick to semi-opaque, cool tones or just clear.
If you use a nail perfector, you can often forgo polish altogether. But if you do like a subtle shine finish, opt for polishes that are semi-opaque and cool-toned. Stick to a single coat to keep color translucent. A few pinky-nude polishes buzzing around the beauty scene are Eve Snow’s Anti-Aging Nail Polish and Sundays No. 2 Semi-Opaque polish in French. Otherwise just throw on a really good top like the one from Smith & Cult’s Above it All top coat.
3. Invest in a good nail file.
When it comes to the no-manicure manicure, the nail file is your best friend. Why? Well, a big part of mastering this look is keeping your nails at a length that’s just right. Too short and they look unhealthy, too long and they can get a bit dirty. Swap your clippers for a file that will keep you shaped up. Reverence de Bastien makes a glass nail file and case that’s perfect for keeping in your tote at all times. The glass here is key — it’s gentler than the usual sandpaper-esque files from the drugstore, which will prevent your nails from splitting. It’s also got a slightly pointed tip, which will come in handy if you spot a little dirt under your nails.
P.S. The no-manicure trend doesn’t just stop at the fingernails. It’s also a thing for your toes! Read Annie’s story about her experience with medical pedicures for the 411.
Image, Gigi Hadid for PORTER Magazine. Story by Lexi Tollefsen.