Celebrities have helped launch so many nail looks into full-blown trends in 2019. Everyone from Ashley Graham to Beyoncé was getting classic French manicures, while Kylie Jenner was constantly offering up new inspiration to bring to your salon, like drip nails and retro butterfly art. And now, it’s no surprise that one of the most celebrated stars of the year, Lizzo, is bringing attention to a manicure that’s been gaining ground on Instagram and will likely be huge in 2020.
On Friday, December 6, Lizzo posted a few clips to her Instagram Stories showing off her makeup and her jewelry for the KIIS FM Jingle Ball in Los Angeles. And while her nails weren’t the focus, they definitely couldn’t be ignored as she was Kira Kira-ing some seriously luxurious bracelets and rings. Her fingers were topped off with a long, white manicure with a very distinct finish.
The look is called “milky nails,” and it’s been spotted with increasing frequency in the second half of 2019. It’s the ideal middle point between an opaque white manicure and a sheer white manicure — a semi-opaque white with a ghostly translucent feel that, as the #milkynails hashtag suggests, is reminiscent of milk. (Personally, it reminds me specifically of skim milk because it almost looks a bit watered-down, but in the best possible way.)
The look seems to require the expertise of a professional, but different nail artists have different approaches — some with acrylic powder, some with gel polish, some with both. In the photo below, Virginia-based nail artist Victoyria used an acrylic powder by Young Nails called Core White. “The process was very simple since it is colored acrylic. I laid that one color and topped it with a gel topcoat,” she tells Allure. “A lot of people like using polish to create the milky white look, but I prefer acrylic.”
Utah-based nail artist Quincy Adams tells Allure that the look is easier to achieve than it may seem. “I only used one acrylic color from the brand Exclusive Nail Couture. The acrylic powder is called ‘Milky Way,'” he says of the manicure below. “I sculpted that over the entire nail. Then I used a shiny top coat.”
Check out a few more interpretations of the “milky nails” look.
Now make your appointment with your favorite nail pro so you can say you were one of the first to wear a milky manicure in 2020.