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In recent months, the term “clean girl” has seemingly taken over social media. From clean-girl buns to clean-girl makeup, the term has become synonymous with a pared-down, minimalist aesthetic. So it was only a matter of time before clean girl nails would see some traction too.
“The clean-girl nail look popularized by TikTok uses a combination of neutral colors, sheer tones, and shiny highlights with chrome hues—a trend popularized by celebrities like Hailey Bieber,” Julie Kandalec, celebrity manicurist and founder of Julie K Nail Artelier, tells POPSUGAR. “Also known as ‘supermodel’ nails, the look can also include perfect cuticles, rounded nail edges, and really even color coverage with a gorgeous, translucent pink shade that mimics the look of milk bath nails.”
Why is the aesthetic so popular right now? Call it the opposite effect of all the over-the-top nail looks that have been trending for the last few years. “Whenever there’s a popular movement in beauty or fashion, it’s always quickly followed by its antithesis,” says Rita Remark, Global Lead Educator for Essie. “Bold, scene-stealing nail art has been trending for the past two years, so it didn’t take too long for subtle, squeaky-clean nails to become popular again.”
If you’re a fan of minimal manicures, the good news is that they can easily be done at home. “Clean nails depend on perfectly manicured hands and nails,” says Remark. “In addition to careful nail preparation and perfectly filed nails, you should also use cuticle oil to ensure healthy cuticles. Next, choose a skin-flattering sheer or jelly-like polish like Essie’s Mademoiselle ($9) or Sheer Fantasy ($13). Follow the color with a high gloss top coat.”
You can also add nail art to your clean girl manicure, but the key is to make it subtle. “A simple fresh nail art look on the muted clean girl color is a great way to add nail art to this manicure,” says Kandalec. “Use tonal colors like those in the Lights Lacquer Your Nails But Better 2 Bundle ($66) to achieve this stunning, understated look.”
If you’re ready to get your own clean girly nails, here are some of the best iterations of the trend currently on Instagram for inspiration.