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‘Milky’ Manicures Are Everywhere—12 Polishes to Copy the Look All Summer Long

‘Milky’ Manicures Are Everywhere—12 Polishes to Copy the Look All Summer Long featured image
Cindy Ord / Matteo Valle / Getty Images
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I saw it once and now it’s all I see: “Milky” manicures are everywhere. In just the past few weeks milky nails have been seen on the hands of Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Aniston, Bella Hadid and Demi Moore, plus all over social media. The popularity is in large part thanks to a bit of nostalgia (it’s a fresh, softer take on the classic French manicure), its low-key elegance, flattering hues and, importantly, its flexibility. I’ve seen the look on short nails, long nails, almond-shaped nails, coffin-shaped nails, fair skin tones, dark skin tones; it can be worn sheer or semi-opaque, on the pinker side, in neutral shades, white, or in shades mixed together.

For indecisive nail polish types (definitely me) or those who usually wear their nails bare (also me), milky nails are the perfect middle ground, subtle enough to you won’t tire of them, but polished enough to feel put together and complement any look. Keep scrolling for some gorgeous examples of the less-is-more manicure.

@dianakonfederat

Come get a milky white french manicure with me 💅 #russianmanicure #winternails #manicure #nails2022 #nailsinspo Video inspo from: @Aurora Lovestrand

♬ original sound – Ian Asher

The best part about milky nails? The look is so easy to recreate at home. Below, we’ve rounded up twelve nail polishes that will achieve the ideal milky manicure in a pinch.

1 / 12

JINsoon Nail Polish in Dew ($18)

Described by the brand as a “dreamy sheer white reminiscent of organza fabric,” JINsoon’s “Dew” can be worn alone for natural-looking milky nails in seconds. It’s also 21-free and formulated without harsh chemicals.

jinsoon-milky-white

Color family

White

Coverage

Sheer

2 / 12

Londontown Kur Illuminating Nail Concealer in Original ($20)

If a one-step manicure sounds good to you, this is your pick. Londontown’s cult-favorite Nail Concealer requires no base coat or top coat thanks to a formula of botanicals and ultra-fine light-reflecting particles that illuminates, brightens and nourishes every nail with a hint of enhancing color. Its Original shade delivers a flawless milky finish.

londontown illuminating nail concealer original

Color family

Natural to white

Coverage

Milky

3 / 12

OPI Nail Lacquer in Funny Bunny ($12)

Watch a few milky manicure reels and undoubtedly “Funny Bunny” will be in the majority of them. Wear it alone, layer it with other shades or use it as a soft tip to create dimension. This smooth polish and glossy finish is a must-have for milky nails.

Color family

White

Coverage

Sheer to semi-opaque

4 / 12

Manucurist Green™ Natural Nail Polish in Milky White ($14)

This made-in-France nail polish is green, non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free. Using ingredients like potato, corn, yuca and cotton to deliver a “sheer splendor” of milky white, it’s the professional quality, high-pigment color your nails deserve.

manicurist milky white green nail polish

Color Family

White

Coverage

Milky

5 / 12

OPI Nail Lacquer in Bubble Bath ($12)

It doesn’t get more classic than OPI’s “Bubble Bath.” The foolproof pink hue is another go-to for milky manicure seekers who want just a hint of sweet pink to add dimension.

Color family

Natural to pink

Coverage

Sheer

6 / 12

Zoya Nail Lacquer in Leia ($12)

For anyone who wants to turn up their milky manicure with some shimmer, Zoya’s “Leia” is an opalescent white. Infused with specks of fuchsia, green and gold, it can be worn alone or layered on top of a base shade. The long-wear, breathable polish is also Big 10-free.

zoya leia

Color family

White

Finish

Metallic

7 / 12

essie Nail Color in Going Steady ($10)

If you want more subtle shimmer, this ivory shade from Essie is sprinkled with a barely-noticeable iridescent sparkle.

essie going steady

Color family

Ivory

Coverage

Milky

8 / 12

essie Nail Color in Ballet Slippers ($10)

“Ballet Slippers” is legendary in the nail polish world, and, unsurprisingly, the versatile pale pink works especially great as a base for a milky mani.

essie ballet slippers

Color family

Pink

Coverage

Sheer

9 / 12

Olive & June Quick Dry Polish in Buttercream ($7.50)

Described as “sweet frosted perfection,” “Buttercream” is Olive & June’s take on a sheer milky white nail polish. It’s also a part of the brand’s Quick Dry lineup—i.e. your manicure will be ready to walk out the door with you in about one minute.

olive and june buttercream

Color family

White

Coverage

Sheer

10 / 12

Olive & June BEB Long-Lasting Polish ($9)

Another option from Olive & June is “BEB” a fresh take on classic white nail polish with a formula that delivers a plump, gel-like finish that lasts up to 10 days. Got a wedding coming up? The brand calls it the “perfect wedding shade.”

OLIVE-AND-JUNE-BEB

Color family

White

Coverage

Sheer

11 / 12

CHANEL Le Vernis in Ballerina ($32)

Another nail color essential has to be CHANEL’s Ballerina. Beloved by manicurists, it’s often mixed with other neutrals for not-too-pink, not-too-white glossy nails, but for a barely-there milky look, use a few coats Ballerina alone and voilà, you’re done.

Color Family

Pink

Coverage

Sheer

12 / 12

Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish in Well, Well, Well ($10)

When your nails are in need of a little extra TLC, Sally Hansen’s Color Therapy polishes will infuse them with an argan oil-intense formula to nourish and protect them from further damage. Shade “Well, Well, Well” is a shiny sheer white that beautifully builds to the desired effect.

sally hensen well well well

Color family

White

Coverage

Shiny sheer

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