20 "Clean-Girl" Nail Looks We're Saving for Our Next Manicures

Clean-girl beauty is everywhere right now. Whether it's clean-girl makeup or clean-smelling fragrances, you've probably seen some interpretation of the trend. And what's not to love? This minimal aesthetic is effortless, understated and very expensive-looking—all adjectives we totally want to get on board with.

Harriet Westmoreland used Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Ballerina for this nail look.

At Who What Wear, we always have our fingertips on the pulse of new nail trends. So it was only a matter of time before we started seeing the "clean-girl" mood reach the fingertips of supermodels, celebrities and beauty experts alike. Open up Instagram or TikTok, and you'll most likely stumble across some clean-girl nails. But what exactly makes this look so good?

A milky wash of colour and perfectly preened cuticles make for an expensive-looking manicure.

The clean-girl nail look includes a neutral nail colour, usually a sheer wash or a hue that pairs perfectly with your skin tone. It's also teamed with immaculate cuticles and a short rounded shape to the nail edge. And don't forget that super-glossy finish with a hydrating cuticle oil. 

Nail artist Harriet Westmoreland is leading the way with the clean-girl nail trend. We practically went down a nail Instagram hole scrolling through the perfectly preened nails on her profile. She's also behind the nails of celebrities such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and you'll spot her prepping the fingertips of countless celebrities for awards shows.

HOW TO GET THE CLEAN-GIRL NAIL LOOK

Westmoreland puts in the prep for her clean-girl nails. On her Instagram, you'll find her impressive collection of skincare products and treatments that she'll incorporate into her manicures. Think La Mer face oil on cuticles and indulgent body scrubs to buff hands to perfection. Want in on the action? Here are some of the products she uses.

Nailcare is essential to the clean-girl nail look.

1. EXFOLIATE

Use a body scrub to leave fingertips and hands glowing.

This luxurious scrub leaves hands so soft.

2. PUSH BACK CUTICLES

Neat cuticles are a key foundation to clean-girl nails. Use a cuticle pusher on nail beds to instantly elongate nails and create a clean slate for your nail polish.

Use a cuticle pusher to gently push back nail cuticles for a neat finish to instantly look put together. 

3. POLISH NAILS

A sheer wash of colour or a neutral opaque shade of nail polish is the key to achieving clean-girl nails.

Get the look:

This milky-pink hue instantly adds a sheer wash of colour to fingertips. It's one of the best Chanel nail varnish colours.

4. FINISH WITH CUTICLE OIL

A cuticle oil finishes off the look with a glossy sheen and helps to keep cuticles hydrated for that expensive-looking manicure.

Get the look:

This hydrating face oil doubles up as a great cuticle oil. And it will look great on your bathroom shelf, too. 

Keep scrolling below for some of our favourite clean-girl nail looks.

CLEAN-GIRL NAIL LOOKS

Photo:

@frannfyne

Neutral nails look so chic paired with gold jewellery and a statement sleeve cuff. Choose a neutral nail polish colour that matches your skin tone to keep nails looking understated.

Get the look:

Want more impact from your clean-girl nail look? This opaque pink looks pretty yet understated.

Get the look:

Shades of caramel, chocolate and sand look elegant on darker skin tones.

A swipe of a milky-pink polish on your fingertips is an effortless way to make your hands look polished.

Get the look:

This is like a tinted moisturiser for nails. It leaves a barely there sheer, pink sheen that looks good on everyone.

A bright yet sheer pink instantly brightens nails.

Get the look:

Like blusher for your nails, this bright-pink colour from Dior is very sheer, adding a healthy-looking flush to the nails.

Photo:

@amistreets

Good cuticle care is key to this look. In between nail appointments, keep cuticles hydrating with a cuticle oil to maintain healthy nails.

Get the look:

Use this hydrating nail oil before going to bed to keep cuticles and nails moisturised.

A clean nail look provides the perfect base to experiment with nail art. We love this inverted French nail art.

Get the look:

Use a nail brush with a fine tip to achieve precise lines.

Micro nail art looks so chic on a clean-girl base. Why not try a heart or minimal flower on one nail to switch up your usual manicure?

Get the look:

A nail-dotting tool is a must for precision nail art. To achieve a heart, add two dots to the nails and drag them both out to a point to form a heart shape.

Get the look:

As your polish dries, add a gold nail bead for a minimal look. Seal with a topcoat to keep it in place.

A neutral French tip looks so polished. Plus, it always goes with any outfit.

Create a fine French tip with a neutral nail colour.

Not quite a French tip but still minimal. Finely outline the edges of your nails in white. It's like a crisp white shirt but for your nails.

Get the look:

White nail art paired with a clean-girl nail base looks so cool.

A rose-quartz nail look is still understated but adds a little something more to fingertips.

Get the look:

Opt for a shimmering nail colour, and use a shiny topcoat for that rose-quartz finish.

A French manicure is so timeless. Keep it feeling modern by opting for a super-thin line on the tips.

Get the look:

Unless you have the steady hands of a nail technician, a French tip can be tricky. Keep this correcting pen on hand to correct any smudges and remove polish from around the nail.

Keep hands soft with hand cream. Don't forget to apply to the cuticles to keep prevent dryness.

Get the look:

Hydrating and sinks in quickly. And of course, it looks so cool on your nightstand.

A minimal dot gives a nod to the season. Why not opt for a pastel hue for spring and summer and a Bordeaux red for the colder months?

Get the look:

OPI's Bubble Bath is a favourite for achieving that clean-girl nail look.

You can layer a sheer hue until you get the desired finish.

Get the look:

Essie's Ballet Slippers is a classic barely there hue for nails.

Photo:

@frannfyne

A faint wash of colour works so well no matter the time of year or what you're wearing. It's also less noticeable when it chips, meaning you can extend the wear of your polish.

This peachy-pink shade instantly brightens lacklustre nails.

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