The occasion-ready manicure to wear this summer - for a touch of subtlety and shine

'Glass' nails are the latest, celebrity-approved take on traditional pearlescent polishes and they're perfect for wedding season and beyond...

A hand with a glossy 'Glass nails' style manicure by nail artist @gel.bymegan/ in a pink watercolour paint-style template
(Image credit: @gel.bymegan)

If you're looking to elevate your fingertips without opting for a statement hue or design, 'Glass' nails offer minimalism and luxury - with just a touch of reflective radiance...

It's safe to say that pearl and chrome finishes are not, by any means, a new concept, despite taking up so much real estate among the 2024 nail trends. A 'Frosted' nail look, for instance, was a known favourite of Princess Diana's, meanwhile 'Glazed' nails (in every colour iteration) have been a go-to both on and off the red carpet for the best part of three years now. That said, we're always eager to welcome another crystalline manicure into their midst, what with the luxe and versatile gleam they supply - and let's just say 'Glass' nails have that in abundance.

Affording a mirror shine to your talons, this manicure could be spied on this year's Met Gala red carpet and something tells us it'll be the go-to for occasion-wear this summer too...

Why glass nails are the ultimate, elevated occasion mani for 2024

As the name would suggest, this translucent look takes inspiration from - you guessed it - glass and its clear, reflective surface. And while we've seen its sheer, high-shine finish before, it's having a renaissance for summer 2024.

This is in part thanks to the likes of celebrity nail artist, Tom Bachik, who shared a modern twist on the look, coined 'Glass Slipper Nails' for this year's Met Gala. The manicure featured a sheer, pink and gold sheen, the likes of which you might indeed expect to find adorning Cinderella's feet.

We've also seen a few subtle interpretations of glassy talons emerging on social media, applied to every nail shape, from subtle squoval to elegant almond nails - and as far as we're concerned, 'Glass nails' are the perfect option for both everyday glamour and a reliable occasion look.

Our glass nail picks, for subtlety and boosted shine

If you're looking to try this design at home, we've rounded up a few glassy staples - oh, and don't forget to maintain your cuticle and apply cuticle oil, like Manucurists Huile Verte (available at Look Fantastic).

How to do glass nails?

Like that of chrome French tips and other pearly nail trends, glass nails feature either a clear or sheer, milky base coat, paired with either a reflective chrome or shimmering clear polish applied overtop, to afford that signature sheen.

To achieve the perfect glassy effect, we'd recommend opting for a squoval or almond nail shape and applying a clear coat, or a sheer milky white or nude (a good trick is to mix your chosen shade with a clear coat, to water down the hue, for a more translucent finish) before topping it with a silver or crystal-like chrome powder. Then lock the shimmer in with a clear top coat and a drop of cuticle oil and you've got a glassy mani.

If in doubt, leave it to the pros and take a reference picture of the look with you to show your nail artist. If you have shorter nails but want to recreate this trend with an almond shape, you can also request clear gel extensions, which can then be layered with chrome and high-shine polishes to achieve your desired sheer and glassy look.

The 6 Glass Nail looks to wear this season

This manicure style is simple but elevating and flattering on every nail shape and length - as these 6 looks prove...

1. Almond Glass nails

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A photo posted by bynatashad on

Like Bubble Bath nails and Milk Nails, opting for a sheer, glassy finish atop almond nails is the perfect elevated but as the same time, understated option. We'd recommend this manicure for a wedding or formal occasion and for those who want a nail look to rival the sheen of their jewellery.

2. Short glassy nails

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A photo posted by gel.bymegan on

While we recommend almond nails for a very elegant finish, this glassy effect looks equally chic on short nails - especially if you opt for a sheer or nude base coat.

3. Glitter glass nails

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A photo posted by overglowedit on

To really bring the glamour, opt for a sheer and glossy glitter as opposed to a pearly, chrome sheen.

4. Milky glass nails

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A photo posted by bara.hoyle on

For minimalist nail lovers, this milky and glossy combo is a so sophisticated.

5. Prism glass nails

For summer, we recommend adding an iridescent shine - this look reminds us of that rainbow prism effect that can occur when light streams through a window.

6. Glassy French tips

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A photo posted by nailsxbellaluna on

Of course, we couldn't leave a French tip off this list, what with them being so popular and all - especially for summer.

Naomi Jamieson
Digital Beauty Writer

Naomi is a Digital Beauty Writer from woman&home, where she covers everything from skincare to fragrance but specialises, particularly, in makeup and nail trends. Through her work, Naomi gets to share her trend expertise and share her own shopping recommendations and product reviews. Previously, she worked as a Lifestyle News Writer for My Imperfect Life magazine, where she used her savvy for TikTok to bring readers the latest beauty buzzwords, fashion movements and must-have products. 

Before that, Naomi split her time between both GoodTo and My Imperfect Life, whilst training for her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ, for which she earned a Distinction. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but leapt into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing. Now, when she isn’t reporting on the best perfumes and latest beauty releases, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping...