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Cloud Nails Are the Manicure Trend of Your Dreams

Cloud Nails

The sheer trend has taken over our wardrobes and makeup routines, and it was inevitable that translucent finishes would come for our nails, too. Celebs have been flocking to sheer manis like lipgloss and milky nails for the better half of 2023, and now, the ethereal cloud manicure is here to bring a wispy white finish to your nails. Ahead, everything you need to know about the trend.

Cloud Nails

The Trend

Although otherworldly designs like the chrome glazed mani, awe-inspiring galaxy nails, and trippy aura nail art had their moment in 2022, this year’s leading nail trends have all featured a more stripped-down, natural appearance. The best example is the my nails but better trend, an umbrella that includes manicures that look like your natural nails, just enhanced with sheer shades and realistic designs (lip gloss nails and milky French manicures are perfect examples). Milk bath nails also fall into this category, and offer a nude, semi-sheer wash of color which creates a natural finish while being just opaque enough to hide any imperfections.


Since the milk bath manicure exploded in popularity, we’ve seen a bunch of variations of the slightly-sheer pale manicure, like the strawberry milk and chocolate milk manicures. Now, cloud nails are joining in on the fun, offering a pure white semi-sheer wash of color.


A white manicure for the warmer seasons isn’t anything new, but the cloud manicure’s sheer finish adds a dreamy twist that’s perfectly on-trend.

How to Get the Look

The cloud manicure might seem as easy as plopping on your favorite sheer white nail polish but make no mistake—a cloud manicure requires lots of attention to detail since sheer polish can be prone to streaking. First, properly prepping the nails is key, so you’ll want to file and buff your nails to your preferred length and shape, and then massage on some cuticle oil and allow the skin to soften for a few minutes. After that, push your cuticles back and wipe your nails clean.


This manicure requires as few ridges to peer through as possible, so first use the Dazzle Dry Transform Ridge Filler ($24) for a smooth finish. Then, apply a thin layer of sheer white nail polish like the Jinsoon Nail Polish in Dew ($18) onto your nail as a first coat. (If you don’t have sheer white nail polish, you can create one by mixing a standard white nail polish with a bit of top coat.) It’s important to work in thin layers here, as applying too thick of a coat on your first go can result in a streaky or goopy finish. After that coat has dried, apply another thin coat of polish as your second layer, and allow for that to dry before applying a high-shine top coat, like the Butter London Hardwear Shine UV Top Coat ($18).


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