Denim Nails Are the Minimalist Manicure of the Moment

October 12, 2023
Ariel Wodarcyk
By: Ariel Wodarcyk | by L'Oréal
Close-up picture of denim nails on a blue gradient graphic background

Move over, blueberry milk nails — there's a new blue nail trend taking over. Denim nails, also known as “moody blue jean nails,” a term coined by nail artist and brand owner Jin Soon Choi, are the muted, cold weather-ready interpretation of the light blue mani. “Denim nails defy the traditional warm fall palette, offering a chic, edgy twist in cool tones,” says Choi. “Inspired by the resurgence of washed-out denim, this trend shines in a matte finish.” Below, find out more about the trend and a few of our favorite denim nail ideas.

What Are Denim Nails?

Denim nails are a simple and straightforward departure from some of the more involved nail trends we’ve seen this year, like coquette nails and milk bath nail art. All you need to get the look is one or more muted blue polishes — think navy, blue-gray or a blueish-white that mimics the wash of worn-in denim. 

You can paint a single shade straight on your nails for the most minimalist (and easy-to-DIY) interpretation of the trend, or you can add your own flair with subtle details and design choices. “I love using JINsoon Sea Clay, a moody cerulean, and adding JINsoon Matte Maker top coat after dabbing JINsoon Absolute White over Sea Clay for a distressed blue jean effect,” says Choi.

Denim Nail Ideas

Dark-Wash Denim

A midnight blue polish is the perfect accessory to all the leather, cashmere and chunky knits you’ll be cozying up in this winter. You can achieve the same look with Essie’s Step Out of Line.

Light-Wash Denim

Here, Choi painted the model’s nails with JinSOON Sea Clay, a stormy cerulean that resembles a pair of vintage blue jeans.

Denim Aura Nails

Is your aura that of a lived-in pair of jeans that you plucked straight off the rack and fit you perfectly? If so, you’ll love this shadowy, black-and-blue set.

Two-Tone Denim

Denim-on-denim has never looked better than it does in this subtle swirly set. Replicate the look of lightly frayed cutoffs with swirls of mid-tone blue over a sky blue base. 

Denim French Tips

If you like to dress up your denim, opt for this chic, two-tone French tip. Get a similar look by layering Essie License to Thrill on top of the shade Bikini So Teeny.
Photo: @jinsoon, Visual Designer: Juliana Campisi

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