32 timeless nail trends that will never fail you - from chic and subtle French tips to signature reds

These timeless nail trends never fail to impress, no matter the occasion or season...

Three hands with timeless nail trends, including a French manicure, a red manicure and a pale pink manicure/ in a cream template
(Image credit: Getty Images (L to R) ValuaVitaly/ Kelly Mitchell/ Mariia Demchenko)

While manicure fads come and go from season to season, there are some timeless nail trends that always endure and we've rounded up 32 such designs that will never tire.

When it comes to selecting your next nail look, there are a lot of things to consider - from your nail shape to your style, in general - especially when whatever shade or pattern you choose will be on your person from then on out, every moment of every day until you opt for a change. Thus, selecting a classic, tried and true manicure is always a good way to go.

In the same way a capsule wardrobe revolves around trend-defying basics, there are some nail looks that simply never go out of style - no matter the season or year -  from signature dark red nails to nude, expensive-looking nails. In fact, we've compiled 32 manis that are proven to stand the test of time, all of which are easy to recreate and universally flattering...

The beauty and fashion world moves pretty fast but there are some trends that really don't even warrant the term "trend" anymore, as they've been around for eons (okay, not that long - but it feels like it) and scarcely changed. 

This is indeed the case for nail looks like the French-tip manicure and bright red nails, so if you're stuck for ideas on your next manicure but want to play it safe with a timeless and ever-stylish look, here are 32 looks to wear - no matter the season or occasion.

1. French tips

Hands with a classic French manicure

(Image credit: Getty/elena1110)

A French manicure is as timeless as it gets. You can wear this design in every colour variation but white will always be iconic. It's clean, subtle and perfect for anyone looking to compliment their minimalistic capsule wardrobe. If you're planning to recreate this look, be sure to use one of the best nail strengtheners

2. Milky nude nails

Hands with cream nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/Anna Efetova)

For another subtle and muted look, a milky white polish never goes out of style. It will perfectly elevate any outfit and is easy to recreate at home. A block shade like this one is also ideal if you're a fan of BIAB nails.

3. Signature red nails

A hand with a red manicure

(Image credit: Getty/Kelly Mitchell)

If you're looking for a truly chic nail look, you can't go wrong with a signature red. This bold, crimson shade adds a pop of colour to your look and while it is definitely a statement, it's effortless and sophisticated - hence why it's such a timeless trend. A primary red also suits every nail shade, especially the trendy "squoval".

4. Dark blue nails

Hands with dark blue nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/Dariia Chernenko)

A dark blue shade is another classic, it's the perfect winter nail colour but this hue will also lend itself to a chic look all year round. It's dark but simple and ideal for the minimalistic lovers among us.

5. Burgundy nails

A hand with burgundy nails

(Image credit: Getty/Javier Perez)

There's just something about dark red nails that never gets old - especially when autumn rolls around. This rich, wine-like shade is so chic and really compliments shorter nail lengths, as well as longer, almond nails. If you're planning to recreate this particular burgundy moment, be sure to invest in a high-quality, glossy top coat, like OPI's Nature Strong polish (available at Amazon).

6. Warm brown nails

Hands with warm brown nail polish

(Image credit: Getty Images/SerhiiBobyk)

Brown nails are another popular staple, especially in the autumn/winter months. Being a neutral shade, it remains subtle, though if you're looking to make more of a statement, opt for a dark brown.

7. Pink-nude nails

Hands with soft pink, glossy nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/ Mariia Demchenko)

A pink nude is the perfect choice for those who prefer to steer clear of loud, statement hues and instead want something for everyday. A simple light pink or nude never fails to look neat and expensive and suits every nail shape and length. 

8. Coral nails

Hands with coral nail polish

(Image credit: Getty Images/Yulia Lisitsa)

If you're looking for a slightly subtler option to red, a bright coral is the way to go. This sunny shade is perfect for the warmer months and evoke thoughts of the beach and ice cream - well, to us anyway.

9. Lilac nails

A hand with lilac nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/Jena Ardell)

Lilac is another pastel you can add to your capsule nail collection. This pretty cool-toned shade always manages to creep back into the spring nail trends and it's not hard to see why. It's delicate but still adds a little pop of colour to your everyday attire.

10. Grey nails

A hand with grey nails

(Image credit: Getty/Kelly Mitchell)

For a more mature look, a dark or blue-toned grey is a sophisticated option. We'd recommend pairing this muted shade with short and squared nails. 

11. White nails

A hand with creamy white nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/Mariya Borisova)

White is another timeless colour that always finds a way back into the beauty zeitgeist. It's fresh and easy to pull off, especially if you're looking to recreate it at home.

12. Pink nails

Hand with a light pink manicure

(Image credit: Getty Images/petrenkod)

Pink in every iteration is always a safe bet when selecting a stylish manicure. You can go pastel or opt for a vibrant fuchsia, either way you've got yourself a chic look.

13. Micro French tips

Two hands with a micro French manicure

(Image credit: Getty/krisanapong detraphiphat)

For a more minimal take on the French manicure, opt for a micro mani. It features the same elements; a pink/nude base and a thin white tip, the only difference is the tip's width. A micro French manicure boasts just a slight white tip - applied typically to shorter, squared nails - as opposed to the classic, almond shape.

14. Barely-there Glossy nails

Hands with subtle, pink glossy manicure

(Image credit: Getty/Klimenko Oksana)

A barely-there, glossy manicure offers a very natural but clean look. It's easy to maintain and complements every length and shape. It works for every season and is also a great option if you're taking a break from nail treatments, as you can achieve this look with a nail strengthener or glossy builder.

15. Beige nails

Hands with shiny, beige nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/Mariia Kokorina)

Neutrals like this creamy beige shade will never go out of style. It's soft and subtle and ideal for a chic, everyday look.

16. Glitter nails

Hands with cream, glittery nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/Anna Efetova)

Nothing puts a spring in your step quite like a glittery nail polish, especially if you're looking for a festive look come December. There's a reason why a sparkly mani is often attributed to Christmastime but it can also be incorporated into your everyday look, easily. For a very wearable look, opt for a cream or milky white base coat with a silver or gold glittery top coat applied overtop. 

17. Minimalistic feature nails

hands with greena dn cream nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/SimoneN)

Feature nails are a very versatile option as they can be incorporated into any of the above manicures and add a little bit of interest to your chosen look. A feature nail can be anything from a different colour or finish to the rest of your fingertips or a pattern. You can also opt for multiple feature nails, like the picture above.

18. Red glitter nails

A hand with sparkly, red nails

(Image credit: Getty/Mariia Demchenko)

A sparkly red polish is very synonymous with the festive period and for good reason. It's statement but you can opt for less or more sparkly, depending on your preference. 

19. Pearl nails

A hand with pearly nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/eterex)

If you love a natural nail moment but are looking for something with a bit more oomph, a classic pearly manicure is perfect. It's elegant and chic and will easily elevate your everyday look. We'd recommend this opalescent polish for an event or occasion.

20. Almond nails

A hand with almond shaped nails

(Image credit: Getty Images/Alina Kozub)

If you're wondering about timeless nail shapes, almond is one of the most popular and complements every shade and design. 

21. Orange nails

A hand with orange nials

(Image credit: Getty/DevMarya)

Orange is always a timeless autumn nail shade, but it's also perfect for summer. Whether you opt for a tangerine hue or a more muted, burnt orange, you can't go wrong.

22. Cobalt nails

Hand with cobalt blue nails

(Image credit: Getty Images/SimoneN)

Blue is another colour that always makes its way back into the seasonal nail trends time and time again. Cobalt blue is a classic, statement shade that adds a vibrant pop to your attire while still remaining chic and classic. 

23. Dusky pink nails

A hand with pink nail polish

(Image credit: Getty Images/Mariia Demchenko)

A dusky or sheer pink is also a foolproof option, especially if you already love neutral shades but are perhaps looking for a change - but nothing too drastic. A soft, pastel pink complements all nail shapes and lengths easily and also makes a great base for a French manicure.

24. Light blue nails

A hand with a light blue manicure

(Image credit: Getty Images/Mariia Fadeeva)

A pastel blue is another colour often attributed to spring and summer but it's also perfect for winter too - especially if you add a glittery or pearly top coat. It's soft and not too daring, making it an elegant manicure shade for whatever season or occasion.

25. Green nails

A hand with a light green manicure

(Image credit: Getty Images/Dmitry Epov)

Green, especially a cool sage shade is one colour we return to often because not only is it cute but it's also not too out there. Like with light blues and lilac, a stylish green never goes out of style and depending on your chosen shade, can be worn throughout the year. When applying a pastel shade at home, be sure to use two to three coats, to ensure you have an even, streak-free finish!

26. Mauve nails

A hand with mauve nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/Liubov Vakhitova)

A mauve - much like with burgundy - is just one of those signature shades that never fails to impress. Having this colour at your fingertips will leave you looking (and feeling) chic and put together and is sure to bring a few compliments your way.

27. Burnt orange anils

Hands with dark orange nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/Inti St Clair)

A burnt orange shade is another classic. It's the epitome of a timeless nail look because every year, when the leaves start changing colour, you can spy this particular colour cropping up more and more.  That being said though, this shade isn't only applicable for the autumn months, you can wear it all year round, thanks to its more muted look - as opposed to a vibrant orange.

28. Dark red nails

A hand with dark red nails

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Kseniya Ovchinnikova)

Like with a crimson shade, a dark merlot-like red always looks effortless. It's mature and sophisticated and the perfect failsafe if you're unsure of what manicure to go for, or are looking to change things up.

29. Black nails

Hands with black nail polish

(Image credit: Getty/Javier Perez)

While a black nail polish might be too bold for some, it is definitely a timeless look. It's trendy, especially when applied to shorter nails and can often be spotted on the red carpet. Like with burgundy and navy shades, we often seen black manicures made a comeback in the autumn and winter.

30. Half moon nails

A hand with blue halfmoon nails

(Image credit: Getty Images/ kobrin_photo)

If you're looking a subtle design like that of the French manicure, a halfmoon nail look is a good option. As the name suggests, it features a crescent shape at your cuticle that can either be a different colour from the rest of your nail, or allow your natural nail to show through, creating a contrast.

31. Short squared nails

Hands with short, squared red nails

(Image credit: Getty Images/Vesnaandjic)

Much like how almond-shaped nails are a classic style, short and squared nails are also a staple look, as opposed to more angular and statement stiletto or coffin nails. Any of the manicures in the roundup would perfectly suit this length and shape. 

32. Dark brown nails

Hands with brown nail polish

(Image credit: Getty Images/Dariia Chernenko)

Like burgundy, dark brown is a classic shade when it comes to autumn/winter but really you can wear this colour all year-round and look effortlessly chic as you do so.

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...