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What are fall nail transition colors?

As the summer winds down and autumn approaches, it’s time to start transitioning your bright, vibrant nail polish colors into warmer, more muted shades. The changing seasons are a perfect time to switch up your nail color palette. The right fall nail lacquers can provide the perfect finishing touch to your cozy sweaters, boots, and scarves. Keep reading to find out what the top fall nail transition color trends are and get recommendations on the best polishes to take you through autumn in style.

Move from Neons to Earth Tones

One of the biggest nail color transitions you’ll make is going from the bright neons and pops of color you wore all summer long to deeper, more natural earth tones that align with fall. Some earth tone nail polish colors that are big for fall include olive green, taupe, mushroom, khaki, brown, tan, mauve, slate blue, plum, and rich wine colors. These nature-inspired hues pair perfectly with fall fashion.

Try replacing the screaming bright yellow on your nails with a deep golden olive green or swapping that bubblegum pink for a warm taupe shade. Fall is the perfect time to break out those rich chocolate browns, cozy café au lait colors, and elegant slate blues on your fingertips. These earthy tones are much better suited for the colder months than the bold, vibrant colors of summer.

A few popular earth tone nail polish lines to explore include:

  • OPI Nature Strong Collection
  • Essie Stylenomics Collection
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Trend Colors Collection
  • Revlon Super Lustrous Nail Enamel
  • ILNP Fall 2021 Collection

Incorporate Rusty Reds

Another gorgeous fall nail color that easily transitions away from summer brights are rusty reds. Rich red wine, crimson, and ochre shades are comfortable fall back options. These warmer reds pair perfectly with fall fashion trends. They look fantastic with plaid prints, leather textures, and cozy sweater days.

Some stylish rusty reds for fall include deep burgundy, burnt sienna, spiced apple red, brick red, and warm terracotta. These exotic shades complement autumnal fashion and makeup looks flawlessly. Trade in your cherry red from summer for one of these seasonal stand outs.

Top rusty red nail polish picks include:

  • Essie Wine Not
  • Ciaté London Terracotta Terrace
  • Orly Red State
  • ILNP Canyon Canyon
  • OPI An Affair in Red Square

Metallic Nails for Fall

Metallic nail polish offers the perfect bridge between summer shimmer and fall flair. Gold, bronze, copper, and silver metallic nail lacquers are ideal for the fall. These shimmery shades provide just enough flash and sparkle for the cooler months, without being over the top.

Coppery tones, like rose gold and penny bronze, beautifully complement fall fashion. Silvers and greys are on-trend metallic polishes that add elegance and sophistication to any autumn look. Go for a rich gold metal flake for warmth and flair. You can also layer metallic polishes over earth tones for an extra dose of glamour. Metallic nails are a fall do that always impresses.

Some of the top metallic nail colors for fall include:

  • Essie Penny Talk
  • Deborah Lippmann Glitter in the Air
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Allegory
  • Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Steel(etto)
  • Christian Louboutin Loubi Under Red

Vampy Shades for Fall

Deeper, vampier nail polish hues are always a huge hit for fall and winter. Darker shades like blood red, burgundy, plum, black cherry, and deep purple conjure images of the colder, spookier months. These rich colors pair fabulously with leather jackets, velvet fabrics, and cozy knits.

Vampy nails also have a gothic, moody vibe that’s perfect for the Halloween season. You can get really creative with dark nails by playing with textures like cremes, shimmers, and glitters. Go for an all-over black polish or add intrigue with bold nail art on a dark base.

Some trending deeper nail lacquers for fall include:

  • OPI Malaga Wine
  • Essie Wicked
  • China Glaze Raven
  • Sally Hansen Mudslide
  • Zoya Willa

Moody Gray & Blue Shades

Along with darker vampy tones, cool-toned grays and blues make a sophisticated fall nail statement. These moody hues remind you of stormy autumn skies and chilly weather. Go for a weathered blue jean look in a dusty denim polish or get stormy with an icy slate gray.

Navy blue and steel blue are bold options that add drama to your fall nail looks. Pair these moody blues with plums, blacks, and silvers for an edgy nail color mix.

Top gray & blue polish picks for fall include:

  • Essie Stylenomics
  • Deborah Lippmann Stormy Weather
  • Ciate London Smoked Out
  • Butter London Sloane Ranger
  • OPI Have Yourself a Merry Little OPI

Accent Nails

An easy way to transition your nails from summer to fall is by keeping your base color neutral and adding accent nails. For example, do a nude base with dark purple or metallic gold accent nails. This allows you to blend the seasons and test out fall colors without going all in.

Accent nails also allow you to get creative with patterns, textures, rhinestones, striping tape, and more. Some fun accent nail options include:

  • Gold foil accent nail
  • Marble or tortoiseshell patterned accent nail
  • Matte black accent nail
  • Burgundy and gold chevron stripes
  • Olive green with a snakeskin accent nail

Add Layers

Layering polish is an easy nail art technique that allows you to blend summer brights with sophisticated fall tones. Start with a bright color like yellow or pink as your base. Once dry, add a layer of earth tone, metallic, or gray polish on top.

The fall tone will softly veil the bright color underneath. This gives you a muted, dimensional look that expertly straddles the seasons. Use a sponge or makeup wedge to create fun ombre effects.

Incorporate Fall Details

Tie your nail art to the fall season by incorporating autumnal details and embellishments. Pumpkins, leaves, acorns, pinecones, and maple leaves make adorable nail accents. You can paint them on top of your base color or attach them using nail decals.

Spice up a deep green or nude polish with a few gold leaf details. Top off a burgundy base coat with a glittery maple leaf accent nail. Get creative with fall motifs to really get into the spirit of the season!

Cute Fall Nail Designs

Here are some easy DIY fall nail designs you can recreate at home:

Pumpkin Spice Nails:

  • Base coat: Orange cream
  • Accent nail: Light brown and dark brown stripes
  • Top coat: Matte top coat

Rusty Leaves Nails:

  • Base coat: Gold shimmer
  • Accent nails: Paint on rusty red leaves
  • Top coat: Glossy top coat

Sweater Weather Nails:

  • Base coat: Dark olive green
  • Accent nails:
    • Grey angled stripe
    • White zig zag chevron
  • Top coat: Glossy top coat

Forest Fruits Nails:

  • Base coat: Chocolate brown
  • Accent nails:
    • Painted acorns
    • Red maple leaf nail decals
  • Top coat: Matte top coat


As you transition your wardrobe and makeup to warmer fall tones, let your nail polish follow suit. Phase out the bright pops of summer with muted earth tones, metallic shimmers, vampy shades, and cool-toned blues. Incorporate rusty reds and accent nails to slowly build your fall polish palette. Play with fun fall details like leaves, pumpkins, and sweaters to get in the autumn spirit. With the right polish picks, you’ll have stylish, seasonal nails you’ll want to show off all season long.