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Over the last few months, the term “clean girl” has seemingly taken over social media. From the clean-girl bun to clean-girl makeup, the term has come to be synonymous with a pared-back, minimalist aesthetic. It was only a matter of time, then, before clean-girl nails would start to see some traction as well.
“Made popular by TikTok, the clean-girl nail look uses a combination of neutral colors, sheer tones, and glowy reflections using chrome colors — a trend made popular by celebrities like Hailey Bieber,” Julie Kandalec, celebrity manicurist and founder of Julie K Nail Artelier, tells POPSUGAR. “The look, also known as ‘supermodel’ nails, can also include perfect cuticles, rounded nail edges, and really even color coverage with a gorgeous sheer-pink shade that mimics the look of milk-bath nails.”
As for why the aesthetic is so popular right now? Call it the opposing effect of all the over-the-top nail looks that have been trending for the past few years. “Whenever there is a popular movement in beauty or fashion, it is always quickly followed by its antithesis,” says Rita Remark, global lead educator for Essie. “Bold, scene-stealing nail art has been trending for the past two years, so it wasn’t too long until understated, squeaky-clean nails became popular again.”
If you’re a fan of minimal manicures, the good news is they are easy to do at home. “Clean-girl nails rely on perfectly manicured hands and nails,” Remark says. “Along with meticulous nail prep and perfectly filed nails, you should also be maintaining healthy cuticles with cuticle oil. Next, choose a skin-tone-flattering sheer or jelly polish like Essie’s Mademoiselle ($9) or Sheer Fantasy ($13). Follow the color with a high-gloss topcoat.”
You can also add nail art to your clean-girl manicure, but the key is to make it subtle. “A simple, crisp nail-art look on top of the muted clean-girl color is a gorgeous way to add nail art to this manicure,” Kandalec says. “Use tonal colors like the ones in the Lights Lacquer Your Nails But Better 2 Bundle ($66) to achieve that stunning understated look.”
If you’re ready to get your own clean-girl nails, take some inspiration from some of the best iterations of the trend currently on Instagram here.