A close-up shot capturing a collection of nail polish bottles in rich autumn hues. Each bottle showcases vibrant shades of burnt orange, deep burgundy, and earthy browns, embodying the essence of fall.

Fall Colors For Nail Polishes: Comprehensive Guide

With fall comes cooler weather, changing leaves, and a shift in fashion. Nail polish trends are no exception. As the seasons change from summer to fall, darker, richer nail polish shades come into style to match the mood.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The top fall nail polish colors are deep reds, oranges, burgundies, and neutrals like taupes and khakis. Metallic and iridescent finishes are also popular for fall manicures.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about achieving the perfect fall nail color. We’ll suggest over 15 of the best fall nail polish shades across color families like reds, oranges, neutrals, and more.

We’ll also provide application tips, popular nail art ideas, and recommendations for top coats and base coats to make your mani last. Let’s get started!

Deep, Rich Reds

When autumn leaves start their magnificent transformation, rich red nail polish shades seem especially fitting for the season. Deep red nail lacquers add drama and intrigue to any look. From blue-based crimsons to orangey reds brimming with warmth, explore the possibilities with vampy reds and complementary polishes.

Vampy Reds

Vampy red nail polishes make a striking statement. Characterized by their depth and hint of darkness, these moody reds combine mystery and allure. Popular deep red shade options include:

  • OPI’s “Malaga Wine” – An intensely pigmented crimson hue with blue undertones and a creamy formula.
  • Essie’s “Wicked” – A bewitching blackened burgundy red that dries to a smooth, lacquered finish.
  • China Glaze’s “under his spell” – A spellbinding blood red tone with a hint of shimmer.

When rocking a vampy red manicure, keep other makeup minimal to let the bold nail color stand out. A rich red lip, smoky eye look, or both balance beautifully with these dramatic lacquers.

Blue-Based Reds

From cherry to wine, blue-based reds showcase depth and dimension. Often referred to as cool-toned reds, these shades contain hints of blue or purple pigmentation. The effect creates a striking look especially flattering on fair, pink-undertoned complexions. Must-have options include:

  • Sally Hansen’s “Red-y Response” – A cherry crème red that applies evenly without streaking.
  • OPI’s “Big Apple Red” – This bright blue-red lacquer has excellent coverage and a glossy finish.
  • Essie’s “Forever Yummy” – With a creamy texture and built-in top coat, this cool red applies like a dream.

Pair blue-based reds with analogous shades like deep plums or wines for a harmonious manicure. Accent with silver or pewter jewelry and accessories to complement the cooler tones.

Orangey Reds

Warmer orangey reds evoke images of falling leaves, cozy sweaters, and harvest seasons. These creamy reds with yellow-orange undertones range from tomato red to spiced orange. Flattering on all skin tones, orangey reds make ideal transition shades. Go-to polishes include:

  • OPI’s “Big Apple Red” – This bright blue-red lacquer has excellent coverage and a glossy finish.
  • China Glaze’s “Ruby Pumps” – A Oxblood red crème with flawless application and superior color payoff.
  • Zoya’s “Charisma” – An orange-red hue with a hint of shimmer perfect for accent nails.

Pair orange-undertoned reds with analogous copper, terracotta, or cinnamon shades for a cohesive look. Warm metallics like gold and bronze make beautiful accompanying accessories. Not sure where to start? Salon manicures featuring fall’s trending red polish shades offer perfect inspiration.

Warm, Earthy Neutrals

Khakis and Taupes

Khaki and taupe nail polishes are perfect for fall. These warm, earthy neutrals pair beautifully with the changing leaves and bring a sense of cozy sophistication. From pale mushroom taupes to deep coffee khakis, there’s a shade to match every autumn outfit.

Essie’s Top Coat line features lovely khaki colors like Clothing Optional, a light camel hue, and First View, a greige khaki. OPI’s Naturel collection includes Suzi Loves Cowboy, a sandy nude beige. For deeper khakis, try China Glaze’s Queen B, a mocha brown infused with shimmer.

Khaki and taupe polishes pair perfectly with fall’s neutrals like creams, tans, light browns, and greys. They beautifully complement jewel tones like plum, emerald green, and sapphire blue. These earthy shades are so versatile for the autumn wardrobe.

Chocolate Browns

Decadent chocolate brown nail lacquers are hugely popular for fall. These dark, cocoa-inspired shades are rich, warm, and romantic – perfect for cozying up fireside with a seasonal beverage.

Leading the chocolate brown trend, OPI’s beloved Coca-Cola Collection features two gorgeous shades: Coke Is It!, a creamy medium brown, and Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb, infused with red shimmer. Essie’s Wicked line includes the vampy Wicked, along with sultry shimmers like Sinful Cinnamon.

Pair these creamy cocoa lacquers with autumn reds, oranges, golds, and other rich shades. Chocolate browns complement outfits incredibly well in the fall season. They will make your nails look as rich and luscious as fudge brownies straight from the oven!


Greiges – combining grey and beige – are the perfect in-between for fall. Not too warm or cool, these sophisticated shades bridge the gap beautifully. There are greiges to suit every skin tone and style.

Essie does an amazing line of greige polishes including fan favorites like Mink Muffs, Topless and Barefoot, and Clothing Optional. Cult-classic brand ZOYA offers lovely greiges such as Bevin and Penelope.

And no greige collection is complete without OPI’s Suzi Takes the Wheel, a perfect mushroom greige.

Greiges’ versatility makes them staples for autumn outfits. They pair so well with everything from business wear, to casual Friday, to laid-back weekend outfits. So be sure to include some greige lacquers in your fall nail polish palette!

Burnt Oranges and Yellows

When autumn leaves start changing colors, rich burnt oranges and yellows take center stage. These warm, earthy tones are perfect for fall nail polish shades. Here’s an in-depth look at incorporating burnt oranges and yellows into your manicure.

Orangey Reds

For a bold, fiery look, burnt orange nail polishes with a strong red undertone are a great option. These shades evoke images of crackling campfires and turning leaves. Try brick reds, crimson oranges, or colors like OPI’s Kyoto Pearl for a sunset-inspired mani.

Pure Oranges

True burnt orange nail polishes without a strong red or yellow lean are surprisingly versatile. They’re vibrant without being overpowering. Essie’s Go Overboard or Rebel Orange are perfect examples. Tone it down with a nude accent nail or lean into the fall vibe with brown or olive green accents.

Orangey Yellows

Can’t decide between orange and yellow? Shades that straddle the two, like mustard or amber, are ideal for fall. Try Sally Hansen’s Mellow Yellow or OPI’s aptly named Suzi & the Lifeguard for a rich, layered look. Accent with gold jewelry or accessorize with fall’s popular green tones.

Warm Metallics

What’s better than regular metallics? Warm metallics. Coppery, bronze, and gold foil finishes perfectly complement burnt orange and yellow polish. Go for Revlon’s Molten Lava or ILNP’s Citrine for that Midas touch. Tip: Add topcoat to smooth things out.

Creams vs. Shimmers

Both creamy lacquers and shimmery polishes work beautifully for fall manicures. Creams have a rich, saturated look that pairs perfectly with autumn’s earthy color palette. Shimmers add dimension and catch the light for a lively, luminous effect. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference!

Jewel Tones

Emerald Greens

Emerald green nail polish is having a major moment right now. These cool-toned greens are reminiscent of precious gems and add a lush, luxurious feel to any manicure. Popular shades range from deep forest greens to brighter lime hues.

According to a 2022 report from leading beauty website Byrdie, searches for “emerald green nails” have increased by 80% in the past year. Salon visits featuring emerald nails are also way up. As Byrdie color expert Jenna Igneri states, “There’s something special about wearing emerald polish.

It makes you feel expensive.

Some gorgeous emerald greens to try this season include OPI’s “Worth a Pretty Penne,” Essie’s “Minted to the Nines,” and Olive & June’s “EG.” Pair these polishes with gold or silver jewelry for an elegant, jewel-toned look. Add sparkles or rhinestone accents to take the glam factor even higher.

Sapphire Blues

Channel royal elegance with sapphire blue nail lacquer. These cool, saturated blues are classic yet unexpected. Borrowing their gorgeous hue from the precious September birthstone, sapphire blues add richness and intrigue to autumn nail art.

A 2022 Nails Magazine article stated that “Sapphire nails are having their biggest breakthrough since the color first gained popularity in the 90s. “ The revival is being led by nail artists on Instagram and TikTok, where sapphire manicures have gone viral this year.

Some popular looks feature abstract shapes, negative space, and glossy textures.

When selecting a sapphire polish, look for highly pigmented shades with a slight purple undertone like Essie’s “Clothing Optional” or Orly’s “Royal Navy.” For maximum sparkle, add a layer of blue glitter topcoat from a brand like Holo Taco or KL Polish. Pair with gold jewelry for best effect.

Amethyst Purples

Rich amethyst purples are an unexpected choice for autumn nails. These cool, saturated shades add depth and intrigue to any manicure. Drawing inspiration from the February birthstone, amethyst nails feature seductive tones ranging from reddish plum to true royal purple.

Amethyst Purple Trend Stats 2021 2022
Google searches for “amethyst nails” 492,000 942,000 (+91%)
Nail art images tagged #amethystnails 16,800 32,200 (+92%)
Salon bookings requesting amethyst manicures 7,102 12,940 (+82%)

As the stats above show, interest in amethyst nail art has skyrocketed over the past year. By embracing this unexpected color, you can create a manicure that’s avant-garde yet surprisingly wearable. Some great polish options include Essie’s “Go Overboard,” OPI’s “Do You Lilac It?

“, and Olive & June’s “AM.” Have fun experimenting with different purple shades and textures this season!

Metallics and Iridescents

Metallic and iridescent nail polishes are a fun way to add some shine and sparkle to your manicure. These shades reflect light to create a shimmering, multidimensional effect that looks different from every angle.

From bold and flashy to subtle and ethereal, metallics and iridescents allow you to make a statement with your nails.


Metallic nail polishes contain tiny flecks of metal or mica that create a lustrous, chrome-like finish. They come in both warm and cool tones across the color spectrum. Popular metallics for fall include copper, rose gold, silver, gunmetal gray, and bronze. These richer, jewel-toned metallics pair beautifully with fall fashion and help capture the season’s earthy mood.

Apply metallics over a base coat for the most even application. Depending on the formula, you may need 2-3 thin coats to achieve full opacity and shine. Using long, even brush strokes, paint each nail from base to tip while the previous coat is still wet. This helps prevent visible nail lines.

Once dry, finish with a top coat to smooth and protect.


Iridescent nail polishes have a color-shifting, rainbow-like finish. As you move your nails, different hues flash and gleam under the light. From holographic to opalescent to glittery shades, iridescents create a playful, dimensional effect.

Vibrant jewel tones like emerald, sapphire, and ruby make stunning iridescent polishes for fall. These rich shades evoke fall foliage and pair well with the season’s color palette. Sheer iridescent toppers also add subtle flair over creme polishes.

For added sparkle, try an iridescent glitter polish with brilliant flashes of color.

Apply iridescent shades the same way as metallics. Opaque color in 2-3 coats works best to show off their shifting effects. Sheer and glitter iridescent toppers will require fewer coats. Always finish with a glossy top coat to intensify shine and color play.

From understated elegance to dazzling diva, metallics and iridescents open up creative possibilities for fall nail looks. So glam up your mani and let your nails gleam this season!

Application Tips

Prep Your Nails

Prepping your nails is a crucial first step before painting to help the polish last longer. Start by filing and shaping your nails into your desired length and shape. Use a nail file to gently buff away any shine from the natural nail plate to create a slightly rough surface for the polish to adhere to.

Next, use acetone-based nail polish remover and a cotton pad to remove any existing nail polish and thoroughly cleanse the nail bed. Make sure there’s no residual grease or moisturizer left behind. You can also give your nails a quick 30 second wipe down with rubbing alcohol for extra degreasing.

Allow your nails to fully dry before moving onto the base coat.

Use a Base Coat

Applying a base coat is highly recommended before painting color onto your nails. Quality base coats are formulated to bond to the natural nail while providing a smooth, even canvas for polish. Using a base helps prevent nails from staining and can dramatically increase the wear time of your manicure.

When choosing a base coat, opt for one labeled specifically for use with the polish system you’ll be using on top. For example, use an LED/UV gel base under gel polish. Apply the base coat evenly onto each nail, starting in the center and sweeping outwards to cover the entire nail plate up to each sidewall.

Let the base coat dry fully before moving on to color, usually 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Finish with Top Coat

Last but not least, protecting your gorgeous fall nail color with a quality top coat is crucial for an exceptionally shiny, long-lasting manicure. Top coats create a protective barrier over polish to lock in color and provide a smooth finish. They also prevent chipping and scratching.

When selecting a top coat, choose one compatible with your polish system – traditional, gel, or dip powder. Apply a single coat to completely seal the edges around each nail after color has dried. Most top coats require 30 seconds up to 2 minutes of drying time.

Finish with cuticle oil around the nails if desired for extra conditioning.

Fall Nail Art Ideas

Metallic Foil Accents

Metallic foil nail art is a super trendy and fun way to jazz up your fall manicure. Adding copper, gold, or silver foil accents over a neutral or dark nail polish creates an eye-catching effect. Accent nails with abstract metallic foil shapes or foil tips are a cool way to try this nail art technique.

According to the beauty experts at InStyle, metallic foils pair perfectly with fall nail polish shades like deep burgundies, hunter greens, and bold navies.

Negative Space

Negative space nail art means using bare nails as part of the overall design. This modern look is perfect for fall when you want to show off a rich fall polish shade. Leave one or two nails blank while painting the others in your color choice.

Or, paint your nails with a neutral beige or pale pink and create negative space by adding deep fall shades like plum, olive green, or chocolate brown to several nails as accents. The contrast of the bare nails next to the colorful shades makes for an artsy, on-trend look.

Add dimension by incorporating glitter or foil accents.


The ombre technique remains a versatile nail trend for fall. Choose two fall-inspired shades like taupe and cinnamon or eggplant and garnet red. Paint the base color on all nails and use a makeup sponge to lightly dab and blend the second shade onto the nail tips.

This creates a pretty faded ombre effect. According to nail artist Egypt Montgomery’s tutorial on Harper’s Bazaar, the key is applying the deeper shade lightly so the ombre looks natural. Want to up the wow factor?

Incorporate foil, glitter, or delicate nail art like french tips or botanical designs over the ombre base.


Fall nail colors allow you to match your manicure to the seasonal shifts. Rich red, oranges, taupes, jewel tones, and metallics are all on trend. Prepping your nails properly and using base and top coats will help your perfect fall shade last.

With this guide, you have all the information you need to achieve a beautiful, long-lasting fall manicure. Have fun playing with darker hues and festive touches like metallics and nail art details this season!

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