Trust me when I say that nail art isn’t just for maximalists. Yes, flashy chrome manicures and vibrant marbled nails may be all over your timeline, but more natural nail designs are just as relevant in 2023. Wear and you won’t tire as quickly as a bolder design. Also great: Most natural nail designs are surprisingly easy to DIY, so you can experiment with different manicure ideas without spending a lot of dollars or going to a salon.
Are you already sold? Great because I spent hours scrolling through IG to bring you this roundup of the top 30 natural nail designs and ideas of 2023. From modern French manicures to pearl accent nails, this list has something for everyone.
1 Natural Nail Design: Nails Inspired By Euphoria
Euphoria-inspired makeup can turn off minimalists, so I recommend going in style with a wavy manicure like this one here. It’s understated but still beautiful, and all you need is a clear base coat, a matte white polish, and some little DIY gems.
2 This Hands Of Neutral Crystal
There is something so elegant about nude nails, and up the ante with a gem placed on each tip. It requires little to no experience because all you have to do is paint your nails with your favorite neutral nail polish and then stick a sticky gem on top.
3. Natural Nail Idea: Simple Emojis
Nail stickers are all the rage these days because they are inspired by professional nail art but don’t require a steady hand. They still create the same vibe as a carefully drawn emoji, just without the time or experience required to draw it.
4 That Extravagant French Manicure Design
This is for those who are in the environmental age. Barely visible black tips on these clear nails can be achieved by dipping the nails in black polish instead of applying it with varnish.
5 Designs For Natural Nails: Dominoes
If your manicure is done with pale pink polish, the easiest way to experiment with nail art is to use the dot tool to add subtle black and white dots to the base of each nail. Sure, you can use any colorful polka dot nail polish, but I personally like the black and white shade.
6 Natural Nail Designs: Peekaboo Mani
These nails are almost all white, with the exception of a tiny stripe through which a natural nail can be glimpsed for a negative spatial moment. The pure white color keeps it looking fresh, while the unpainted stripe helps keep overgrown nails understated. I kept it in a folder with summer nail art.
7 This Natural Pearl French Manicure
If you love Emily’s fashion and beauty moments in Paris, these nails are for you. The quintessential French manicure gets a very pretty yet subtle update with pearl accents.
8 Futuristic Nails For Hands-Minimalist
Futuristic and brilliant, but suitable for minimalist, clean and graphic diagonal lines make this metallic silver look elegant and modern. IMHO, this is an amazing winter nail art option.
9 This Natural Nail Design For Fall
This is the perfect autumn manicure for minimalists. The brown accent nail on the ring finger and the tiny dots on the cuticle effortlessly convey the fall vibe.
10 Stars For Nail Design
Finally, a heavenly manicure that looks understated enough for everyday wear. I love how crisp and clean the contrast is between the white and rose gold stars on a pink gradient base.
11 This Half Nail Design
If you want to join the TikTok red nail trend without committing yourself, this look is for you. Prepare for compliments, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
12 This Natural Triangular Nail Design
These nude nails are anything but plain, thanks to the black graphic triangles located in the corners. This might require a little more dexterity than some of the other designs on this list, but it still falls within the realm of minimalist nail art.
13 These Little Hearts Are For Natural Nail Lovers
Those red hearts on a white background look like they were backdated with marker, but I don’t hate it. I love how casual and cool the floating hearts look and that they are placed in different places on each nail. The perfect nail idea for Valentine’s Day if you ask me.
14 Natural Latte Style Nails
Do you know the beautiful swirl that occurs when you add cream to your morning espresso? This is what it reminds me of. Check out these delicious layers of creamy white, caramel and chocolate. Yum.
15 Natural Concrete Nails
It might be an unlikely place to follow, but there’s no denying that these concrete wall inspired nails are pretty cool. My favorite part is the imperfect gold line running down the nail – it really brings out the textural design.
16 Nail Ideas: Shaded Blue Hearts
The gradient manicure trend is flirty and fun, but instead of painting the entire nail with a different shade of blue polish, these hearts do the trick. If blue isn’t your color, don’t worry, you can achieve this effect with any combination of colors.
17 Natural Nail Designs For 2023: Golden Tips
Why only do one parting for a French manicure when you can do two? Oh, and in gold instead of white? Yes thank you! Any metallic hues are sure to stun, but this yellow gold lacquer really stands out.
18. That Natural Flirty Nail Look
Transforming traditional crescent-shaped tips into heart-shaped tips on just two nails makes this French manicure more modern. This is perfect for VE Day or whenever you feel the love.
19 This Matte Natural Nail Design For 2023
Glossy nails get all the love, but can we make time for this monochrome matte number? I can’t imagine anything more chic paired with a cozy set. Something about these matte nails tells me they “go well with cashmere sweaters.”
20 Ideas For Natural Nails: Hand Safari
A full zebra print can look overwhelming for 3 weeks while your manicure lasts, but with a little touches here and there we promise you won’t tire of this design anytime soon. You can also tone down this look by wearing the zebra print on just one nail instead of several as an accent nail.
21 Natural Nail Designs: Fire Flame Nails
These nails are the best way to give me the Ed Hardy vibe. After all, the fashion of yesteryear is back! Keeping the French manicure and fire emoji design with white and clear base polish, it maintains a delightful non-tacky finish.
22 Wavy Nail Designs For Natural Nails
This trendy design can look a little dressy when done with, say, neon nail polish. Instead, nudes and whites keep this retro pattern modern and polished (pun intended). To me, it looks like a chic work of art by the artist Hannah Polskin, but in the form of nails.
23 This Natural Abstract Nail Art
Between two shades and can’t choose the one you like for the finished manicure? This drawing is here and there for you. You have a little shade of brown and cream on each nail, but most of it is bare. Commitment phobia, please.
24 Natural Nail Ideas For 2023: Cuticle Art
Whether you’ve had your nails done at a salon or literally tried your hand at DIY, you can easily enhance the look by applying a few gems along your cuticles. This design also gives you more time between manicures because the bumps can be used to cover your height.
25 This Natural Ombre Nail Design
Your hair isn’t the only place you can play with the ombre effect. The dark to light gradient looks amazing as a natural nail design. In this case, “dark” is a soft neutral base that transitions to a snow-white color at the tips.
26 This Two-Tone French Manicure For 2023
Black and white nail polish plus this simple French manicure design is exactly what people dream of in a minimalist manicure. It gives me Chanel vibes and I’m obsessed with it.
27 Natural Mani Inspo: Crushed Blue Nails
This teal and blue combo just screams surfer girl to me. For example, I can practically see these nails on Kate Bosworth’s character in Blue Crush. If you love the ocean air and Kali waves then this is for you.
28 Natural Nail Designs: Minimalist Leopard Print
If you’re from the leopard-neutral camp, then I’m with you. Making cat spots even more affordable, this manicure features just two or three on each nail with a versatile pink base. Oh, and did I mention that the stains are special effect nail decorations? No design skills required! Meowow.
29 This Tone-On-Tone Natural Manicure
If you ask me, brown might be the new black. And this combination of brown on brown nails is so damn good that I can’t get enough. @browngirlhands DIYed this look with The Editorial Nail’s Kaffé Latté Reusable Press-Ons, but you can also create a similar look freehand with brown nail polish.
30 Turtle Tips For 2023
Tortoise shell, usually reserved for bobby pins and sunglasses, makes its way onto nails with this modernized French design. It’s still very understated, but it’s also a pretty fun way to make a difference when you’re tired of your old manicure.
Why Rely On Cosmopolitan?
Lisa DeSantis is a freelance beauty editor with eight years of experience writing articles on hair, makeup, nails and skin, including cleansing conditioners and protein treatments. She scoured Instagram and Pinterest for the best natural nail art ideas. Beth Gillette is a beauty editor at Cosmopolitan. For four years now, she has been researching, writing and editing nail stories, including ideas for New Year’s nails and Christmas nail art. She has a mile-long Pinterest board of nail designs, including natural manicures.