What do Jennifer Lopez, Ananya Panday, Hailey Bieber, Jacqueline Fernandez, and Lizzo have in common? All are devoted stans of milky white nails — a trend that’s shaping up to be the biggest manicure moment of the year. A crossover between Y2K French tips and the Gen-Z clean-girl aesthetic, this nail-do is delicate, elegant, and extremely versatile. The best part is that it works for all nail shapes, whether you like them short and neat as seen at Proenza Schouler Autumn/Winter 2023, or long and glammed up à la Smith Spring/Summer 2023.
So, what exactly is the milky mani? Rather than a stark contrast between the pink base and the bright white tip, here we see the two shades merge into one gorgeous colour. Kind of like a polished and grown-up version of the ombré nails that were seen in the 2010s. Taking cues from multiple eras of the past, the trend is a part of the much hyped #Nowstalgia movement that’s taking over social media this year.
With over 21,000 posts on Instagram stacked up already, is not just limited to fashion and beauty but has made its mark on the arts in general. The most popular example being Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras Tour, which takes elements from all her previous album ‘eras’ for a live musical experience. The singer-songwriter has also been spotted in the milky white mani.
This obsession with combining elements from different decades and making them a singular trend is largely due of the recent popularity of period dramas. Bridgerton (2020) takes you to the regency era, while Stranger Things (2016) has you grooving to Kate Bush’s music from the 1980s, and the upcoming Barbie (2023) movie is all about the early aughts. It’s all part of a big cycle that’s keeping old trends alive.
Get the Look
1. Start with picking out your favourite shade of white: ivory, snow, eggshell — everything works. Now apply the first coat.
2. Remember that the key is to keep the polish sheer with just one to two coats rather than layering. This way, the natural pink of your nails will still show through.
3. Using a nail corrector pen or a cotton bud and some acetone, clear out the edges for a squeaky-clean appearance.
4. Finish with a glossy topcoat for that gorgeous, glazed look.