Since the popularity of the glazed doughnut nail trend that dominated the internet last year, subtle, more muted manicures are on the rise, and with the latest milk nails trend, it looks like the less-is-more aesthetic is here to stay. And while colourful, bright, and neon nails will keep coming and going out of fashion, neutrals never go out of style—milky nails are perfect proof.
Since last year, Google trends have recorded an uptick in the keywords “milky manicures” and “milky nail polish colours”. On Instagram too, the hashtag #milkynails has more than 2,23,000 views. What we love about the trend is its versatility and timelessness—the nails will go well with a range of summer outfits—from breezy midi dresses to cute co-ord sets, but at the same time will look good with colder-weather attire too. Plus, if you’re bored of donning funky designs, and are looking for something fresh yet more low-key, then milk nails will fit the bill.
Below, we break down the look, and tell you how to get your hands (or fingers!) in on the fun.
What is the milk nails trend?
It’s quite simple—a milky manicure involves a coat or two of pearly white nail paint for an opaque-but-not-quite, glossy look that resembles, well, a glass of milk, or a cloudy sky. In some cases, you can see the faintest tinge of your nails’ natural pink peeking through the sheer white.
It’s worth noting that this is not entirely a new trend, just a delicate, softer take on the 90’s French manicure. Rather than the usual Frenchie where the bright white tips starkly stand out from the nude pink base, the pink and the white in this case come together for a cloudy look.
Celebs that can’t get enough of the milky aesthetic
If you’re wondering where the trend picked up steam, it’s thanks to celebrities flaunting the minimal look in the past few months. Everyone from Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Aniston, Nicola-Peltz-Beckham to Sofia Richie and Zendaya has been seen with milky nails.
It’s easy to nail the look at home
While you can always drop by at your neighbourhood salon to get a fresh milky manicure, it’s not that difficult to do it at home. Just find a light, white nail paint, try a couple of coats (not too many, as we want it slightly translucent), and finish with a clear coat of gloss.
Put a twist to the trend
If you’d like to stick to the overall subdued milky look but want to try a slightly more experimental version, then there’s a variation doing the rounds, called the “milky French manicure”. In this interpretation, the nail artists add an extremely soft, barely-there French tip to the design, giving it slightly more definition.
There’s also a pinker “strawberry milk” version, which is exactly what it sounds like, and has celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian sporting it. And unlike "milky nail polish", this one veers more towards a pink tone.
Lead image: Kylie Jenner/Instagram