What are glazed nails? Plus how to create the look at home

Want to nail the trend for glazed nails? We've got the step-by-step tips and inspiration pics you need

A collage of glazed nails looks on various nail shapes and lengths
(Image credit: Future/Jess Beech)

If there’s one trend that's caused manicure mania in 2022, it’s glazed nails. Also referred to as ‘glazed donut nails’, the trend was sparked by model Hailey Beiber when she debuted a pearly, ultra-glossy, barely-there manicure at this year’s Met Gala. 

So what are glazed nails? Created by Hailey’s nail artist Zola Ganzorigt, the beauty of this nail design is its simplicity. “Glazed nails are glossy, milky nude nails that have an iridescent shimmer to them which essentially look like a glazed donut,” explains pro nail artist Iram Shelton (opens in new tab). “The most popular shade is on top of a nude base, but it has been showcased in so many different colors.” The salon is very much your oyster when it comes to base shade. Pastel nails tend to be a more popular choice over bold brights and we've seen spin-off trends like the glazed chocolate donut, where a frosted finish is the icing on top of a darker brown base. 

A key reason for the glazed nails’ spike in popularity is inclusivity. “The best thing is that they include everyone, no matter your skin color, or size,” Shelton explains. You don’t need to have super long nails to try this trend, unlike French tip nails which rely on length. “This is why everyone went crazy about it. It works on all nail shapes and lengths. The original design that went viral was on long, almond nails then I recreated the look on my short, squoval nails. It looks great on both,” says Shelton.

How do you do glazed nails?

You don’t need to be a qualified nail tech to create your very own glazed mani. To create glazed nails, you need four key elements: 

  1. A base coat
  2. A color (nude for the original look, or any other shade you fancy)
  3. Chrome powder
  4. Top coat

If you have a gel lamp at home, this will help your mani last longer without chipping, but it’s not a must-have. Equally, if this all sounds too complicated, you can cheat your way to an iridescent finish simply by painting with pearly polish. “It’s a look that’s attainable for everyone,” adds Shelton. "Even those who couldn’t afford to go to a salon are able to achieve this look at home using regular nail polish.”

Step 1: Prep

Prep the nails by filling them into your desired shape and buffing the surface. This spot of nail care will help to create a smooth base. 

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 OPI Crystal Nail File | RRP: $11/£10.60

A glass nail file not only feels luxurious to use, but the finer surface means it will help to stop your nails from splitting and chipping. A must-try for smooth edges on your mani.

Step 2: Prime

Apply a base coat to treat, prime, and protect the nail from staining from any colors you apply.

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Nails.INC Nail Kale Superfood Base Coat | RRP: $16/£14

The equivalent of an equilibrium-balancing salad for your nails, this kale-packed base coat will help to promote stronger, healthier nails.

Step 3: Paint

Apply one or two coats of color depending on your desired look. “Use any pearlescent nail polish like the Max Factor Miracle Pure Nail Polish in Natural Pearl or Chiffon My Mind or Bubble Bath from OPI,” advises Iram. The lighter the layers you can work in, the better, as a polish that’s too thick can look clumpy will take longer to dry. If you don’t want to add color, skip this step. 

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Max Factor Miracle Pure Nail Polish in Natural Pearl | RRP: $8/£6.99
This nail polish has been formulated to let your natural nails breathe beneath, so you're not stifling them. This pinky-neutral shade is flattering on all skin tones.

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OPI Nail Polish in Bubble Bath | RRP: $14/£12.50 

A cult buy for good reason, this shade is perfect for a sheer wash of color that leaves nails looking nice and neat. 

Step 4: Powder

Once the color is dry, use a sponge applicator to apply chrome powder onto the nail. It can be a little messy, so we’d recommend putting a sheet over the surface before starting.

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Amazon 1PC Nail Glitter Powder | RRP: $5.10/£4.45

This little pot of sparkle will make a huge difference to your manicure. Dip each nail directly into the pot or use with the sponge. 

Step 5: Protect

Apply a top coat to seal in the shimmering powder. 

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Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure. Vegan Top Coat | RRP: $10/£8.99

Everything you want from a top coat – a flexible yet sturdy finish with an impressive amount of shine. 

12 glazed nail designs to inspire your next nail appointment

1. Original glazed nails

Clean, neat, and almost impossibly glossy, this is a textbook example of the perfect original glazed manicure. The squoval shape means no need to worry about catching or snagging the edges either. 

2. Chocolate glazed nails

Fancy a more autumnal take on the glazed nail? Make your base a deeper shade of brown instead. This chocolatey mocha shade makes the finish look even shinier, with the color changing as it catches different lights. 

3. French glazed nails

French tips fell out of fashionable favor for a little while, but now they’re back with a fresh spin. A layer of glaze over white tips and a nude base makes nails look even healthier. 

4. White glazed nails

The original glazed nail is nude, but the lighter you go, the stronger the finish. Opting for a white-to-nude base keeps things neutral while still making an impact. The iridescent sheen is especially gorgeous for the festive season. 

5. Golden glazed nails

Straying ever-so-slightly from classic nude, the addition of a subtle pastel yellow hue warms up the color. Team with stacked gold rings to complement the shade. 

6. Mixed glazed nails

Contrasted against classic polish on the first and middle fingers, these glazed nails look even glossier. Adding a glaze to your ring finger only would make for a special manicure for an engagement or wedding.

7. Lilac glazed nails

The softness of the shade stops these pointed almond nails from looking too harsh. Plus, the addition of a glazed finish gives this a swirling, almost gasoline-like quality that’s sure to start conversations. 

8. Square glazed nails

Not into rounded edges? Give the girliness of your glazed nails an edge with a square shape. The neutral shade means they look super neat.

9. Glazed nails with graphic lines

The addition of nail art gives these simple glazed nails an extra talking point. The delicate swirling pattern in neutral white is subtle enough that it won’t steal focus, keeping things suitably chic. 

10. Glazed nails with extra swirls

Vibrant swirls make for an extra fancy manicure. Unless you’re something of an artist, this would be fiddly to recreate at home, so look instead to transfers or treat yourself to a professional mani. 

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.