The Top Fall 2020 Nail Trends to Try Now, According to a Manicurist

A new season means new outfit choices (fresh fall boots anyone?) and is also a great time to switch up your nail look. To help you get your tips prepped, we spoke with nail business owner Christina Grant about the top nail trends for fall.

Expect to see “an eclectic mix of styles and colors,” she says. Among the list, French manicures will return with modern updates, as well as rich autumnal hues, neutrals inspired by quarantine dressing trends and cool nail art designs including cow prints seen on fall ’20 runways.

While some salons remain open, you can replicate many of these trends from the comfort of your own home. In addition to having the proper tools, Grant stresses that nail prep is vital. “Drink lots of water for strong, healthy nails,” she says. “Also, use a cuticle oil to soften the skin, then apply a cuticle exfoliator to create a clean canvas for applying polish.”

Keep reading to discover the top fall nail trends and expert tips for application.


French tip nails remain a timeless style. This season, add a unique twist to the classic look with colored tips (instead of the classic white), abstract nail shapes (like flare or lipstick) or patterns. “Imagine a thicker french tip but with a design like clouds or cherries on it,” says Grant.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon
CREDIT: Courtesy of Etsy

Mismatched nails

For the mismatched trend, each nail will feature a different design centered around a single theme. Grant says flames, negative space and geometric patterns are all top details for fall 2020.

And if you want to try nail art at home, Grant suggests using a liner brush or buying a cheap bottle of polish, dumping it out and filling it with acetone. “That way the brush is fresh,” she says. “You can use it with acetone to clean up excess paint or even create lines and other details for nail art.”

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon
CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon
CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


“If you aren’t too crazy about nail art but want to try something different, glitter is definitely a good way to go” says Grant. She notes the finish is super easy to DIY with a glittery polish or loose nail glitter to use with natural, gel or acrylics.


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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon
CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Square Shape Nails

Next to rounded nails, square nails are one of the simplest silhouettes to achieve — and apparently extremely popular among Grant’s customers lately. A cardinal rule when filing at home? “Don’t over-file or over-buff your nails,” she says. “They shouldn’t be so smooth to the point the polish won’t adhere to anything.”

Also, keep in mind that the square nail shape tends to look best on people with long, narrow nail beds, says Grant.


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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Press-on Nails

Press-on nails are experiencing a resurgence. A range of large and independent labels offer styles that look so seamless, they could easily be mistaken for a professional polish job. (Grant names brands Dashing Diva, ManiMe and Ariel Mosses as some of her favorites). Even better? They take just minutes to apply and can easily be swapped out each week if you get bored with a style. For even shorter wear, Grant recommends using adhesive tabs underneath your press-ons so you can remove the fake nails as you please.

On the other hand, if you want to make your press-ons last as long as possible, Grant suggests dehydrating the nail bed first with acetone, alcohol or a pH bond to make the nail glue and press-on adhere better.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Dashing Diva

Nail Stickers

Nail stickers are another popular DIY trend for the season. They’re simple to apply and can be mixed and matched to your heart’s desire. To make them last longer on nails, “don’t forget to apply a clear top coat over the sticker,” says Grant.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Etsy
CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon

Deep Blues

Swap out traditional dark hues for a deep navy blues this fall. “It adds a lot of character to your look, but is moody in a different way than black or red is.”

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Butter London


According to Grant, summer’s popular highlighter yellow and slime green hues will make way to more toned down takes on neon, like rich brick red and fuscia. The latter made a huge appearance in fall ’20 collections from Christian Siriano and Jacquemus.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of China Glaze

Amber/Deep Orange

Amber and deep orange hues are reminiscent of cozy candlelit nights and pumpkin spice lattes for the season. “These are always going to be quintessential colors for fall,” says Grant.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Ulta


The effect of summer’s nap dress trend extends far beyond apparel. “After the rise of cottagecore, we’re seeing a transition into western-inspired trends for fall and winter. There are lots of variations for neutrals; you can add a little glitter, pair it with a neon color to make it pop or throw in a statement nail with details like my personal favorite, cow print,” says Grant.

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CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon
CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon
CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon
CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon
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