These 14 nail looks offer the perfect blend of simplicity and luxury for January styling

These chic January nails are the perfect way to combat the gloomy winter and refresh your look for the year ahead...

On the left, a picture of nails with a sheer, pink nail polish, alongside a picture of a hand with navy blue nails and finally, a hand with an emerald green manicure by nail artists @gel.bymegan and @matejanova/ Mateja Novakovic- in a three-picture, sunset template
(Image credit: (L & R) @matejanova/ Mateja Novakovic | (M) @gel.bymegan)

These fresh and minimalistic January nails offer a fresh start and at the same time, infallible elegance...

While the 2024 nail trends are already in and painting a very sophisticated picture for the months ahead, right now we're focused on one thing and one thing only - our January manicure.  After adorning our fingertips in festive shimmers and "Mulled Wine" nail hues, we're officially pivoting towards more classic and understated - a fresh canvas, if you will - to carry us through the first (and arguably, longest) month of the year.

So, whether your goal is to achieve healthier talons with treatments like BIAB nails, or perhaps you're seeking a versatile mani, like that of French tip nails, to cover every social situation, we've rounded up 14 January-approved designs to effortlessly elevate your 2024 look...

14  January nails to carry you through the month in style

Of course, the old stand-bys like classic red and milky-white nails are always welcome, no matter the month or season, but for January especially, we're after expensive-looking nails only.

And, with it being the first month of the year, it's also the perfect opportunity to boost your nail care routine, with the best nail strengtheners and perhaps a nourishing cuticle oil - to ensure your January manicures last. So, before we dive into our go-to looks, here are a few quick staples...

Our January nail staples

1. Lightly glazed nails

Just because the festivities are over, doesn't mean we can't still carry a bit of glamour around with us this month - in fact, we encourage it, with these lightly "Glazed" or "Frosted" nails.

This wash of pearly shimmer is truly timeless and never fails to add a touch of elegance to your look, plus it's so easy to replicate at home with the help of an opalescent nail polish or top coat. For a similarly sheer finish to the look above, we'd suggest just one to two coats and finishing with a glossy, clear top coat.

2. Rich Green nails

A post shared by Mateja Novakovic

A photo posted by matejanova on

Whether it's an all-over emerald manicure or a touch of sage green in a short French tip nail style, green nails are in for 2024. For January, particularly, we'd suggest a darker and richer colour (as shown above), but the beauty of green is that its shade variations are very versatile, with pastels - like mint - favoured for spring and summer. There are even several muted leafy hues that are perfect for our minimalist mani lovers out there.

3. Colourful micro tips

If you're not quite ready to ditch your favourite winter nail hues or perhaps want to add a subtle pop of colour to your otherwise understated nails for January, a colourful micro French tip is a great option.

While remaining simple (and easy to recreate at home) you can choose any shade, from burgundy to pastel blue, to add a bit of interest to your nail tips - and can either opt for one single colour, or several, across your fingertips.

4. Tortoiseshell nails

A post shared by Fliss Alton

A photo posted by gelsbyfliss on

Whether you opt to cover just one nail or all, tortoiseshell designs are proving to be very popular this month and it's not hard to see why. It is, after all a timeless print for things like glasses to hair clips, so why wouldn't you want to make your manicure an honorary accessory to match?

To recreate, we'd suggest leaving this design to the pros but if you're desperately to try it yourself you will need two dark brown nail polishes and a lighter caramel, as well as a dotting tool (like this one, at Amazon). From there, you'll want to apply your lighter shade over the base of your nail and before it dries, dot on your chosen brown shades, to create that diffused, spotted look.

5. Sheer pink nails

After all the excitement and business of December, a new year is a great chance to strip things back, refresh and recharge. Thus, a super subtle, barely-there manicure is very much on our agenda. These pink, "Lip Gloss"-style nails are universally flattering - no matter your nail length - and are perfect for every day.

To recreate, either opt for a sheer pink shade or mix your go-to rosy hue with a clear top coat, to achieve that translucent finish. We'd also suggest topping it with a glossy top coat, for a very polished look.

6. Muted pastels

If you're looking to softly transition from the rich winter colours of 2023 to a hue that mirrors both the chilliness of January while also complimenting the pastels so often synonymous with spring, we'd recommend a muted grey. It's light and subtle, but looks so expensive and is perfect if you're not so keen on statement or spring/summer shades.

7. A classic French tip

You can never go wrong with a French tip manicure, in fact, this is one of the few nail looks you can wear all year long. It's timeless and so elegant and suits all nail lengths and shapes - especially "Squoval" nails, which are tipped to be very trendy this year.

To recreate these crisp lines, we'd recommend investing in a nail brush or a nail stamper (both available at Amazon).

8. Business-casual navy

A post shared by M e g

A photo posted by gel.bymegan on

If you're a lover of dark nail colours, this navy oozes chic. It's bold but still fairly understated and will look so stylish when paired alongside your jewellery, go-to knee-high boots and long, wool coats. 

9. Milky white nails

Milky white nails are another timeless nail look that will never let you down, especially if you're looking for a fresh start this January. We love this colour on almond-shaped nails, but it works for any and is a true staple to keep in your nail polish wheelhouse. 

To recreate this milky finish, opt for two layers of OPI's Funny Bunny and if that's not sheer enough for you,  mix the colour with a clear top coat before applying.

10. Signature scarlet

While we're still clinging on to our "Mulled Wine" burgundy nails (we're just not ready to let go yet), bright red continues to be the number one, timeless and chic nail look. You simply cannot go wrong with a signature red at your fingertips, especially if you're looking to radiate confidence in 2024.

11. Barely-there nails

There is a very muted theme to this list and for good reason, this style of manicure compliments every outfit and allows you to focus on the return to work - and everything else a new year entails - whilst being rest assured that your nails look fabulous.  

A nude nail polish is akin to a white T-shirt in your capsule wardrobe and once you find your favourite shade, which compliments your skin tone best, it can always be relied upon for a quick and elegant effect. 

12. Subtle mauve

A slight departure from the rich and warm dark red nails (particularly "Black Cherry" nails) we saw dominate the 2023 nail trends, this more understated mauve is perfect for the end of winter and transition to spring. For instance, after wearing this shade all January-long, a lavender or lilac is the natural progression. 

13. Soft cream nails

Like with milky white, cream nails are another option for neutral nail lovers. It's simple and clean - what more do you need from a January nail look? 

To achieve a similarly buttery look, apply two to three shades of your chosen polish - and for a self and nailcare moment, finish with a nourishing cuticle oil.

14. Short square nails

While Squoval and almond nails are proving to be very popular as we enter 2024, we're seeing short, squared nails gaining momentum also - which is unsurprising considering how perfectly neat and minimalistic they are.

If you're something we loves clean lines and silhouettes, this nail shape should next on your mani list. 

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...