The 25 Best Milky Nails Designs: Manicure Tutorial and Guide

collage of simple milky nails with pink and white color polish in short and almond shaped design styles

Goodbye bright and bold manicures, and hello soft and simple milky nails! After all the statement nail trends lately (from chrome designs to aura nail art), there’s something so refreshing about a minimalist manicure that’ll never go out of style. It’s no wonder the idea of milky manis has taken over the nail world!

A favorite for celebs, brides, and everyone in between, milky nail designs are universally flattering, totally timeless, and SO chic. So if you’re ready to embrace your minimalist nail era, we’ve rounded up our favorite milky nail ideas to add to your line-up — plus a full manicure tutorial to help you recreate the look at home!

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Everything You Should Know About Milky Nails – FAQ + Tutorial

simple almond shaped milky nails with a white polish color
photo: @nailsbyalsn

Listen, we love a statement manicure as much as the next nail lover — but there’s also something undeniably chic about a minimalist nail design that you can rock anytime, anywhere. And that’s the beauty of milky nail ideas!

So if you’ve been contemplating trading your bright and bold nail polish for a chic and timeless design, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about this nail trend. From the best milky nail polish colors to our tips for DIYing your manicure at home, keep scrolling for our complete guide!

What are milky nails?

simple short milky nails with subtle pink polish color
photo: @matejanova

Milky nails are a trendy and minimalist manicure that uses sheer white nail polish to create a soft, milky hue (hence the name!). Just imagine a dreamy milk bath — now translate that ethereal look to your nails! Soft and subtle, it’s a universally flattering look that falls somewhere between bare nails and a statement manicure. If you love a minimalist “clean girl” aesthetic, then meet your new everyday nail design!

Are milky nails still on-trend in 2024?

long almond shaped milky nails with a white nail polish color and gold celestial star designs

While milky nails first hit the nail scene a few years ago, they’re still going strong as a top nail trend in 2024. Just ask all the celebrities who continue to rock this manicure! We’ve seen milky nails on the hands of Zendaya, Hailey Bieber, and Sofia Richie Grainge (who even wore a milky manicure to say “I do”).

With such a versatile and timeless look, its no surprise that milky nail ideas have become a mainstay on our mood boards. They perfectly embody the quiet luxury aesthetic we all know and love, with an elevated look that will never go out of style. Plus, minimalist beauty is having a serious moment right now — so this nail trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon!

DIY Tutorial – How to Do Milky Nails At Home

simple almond shaped milky nails with a light pink polish color
photo: @nails_by_annabel_m

One of the best things about milky nails? They’re way easier to DIY than they look! Scroll on for our complete step-by-step tutorial to help you ~nail~ this trendy look at home.

  1. Start by prepping your nails. Get your nails polish-ready by filing them to your preferred shape, pushing your cuticles back, and applying a protective base coat.
  2. Apply your nail polish. To achieve the subtle milky look, use nail polish with a semi-translucent finish — our favorites are OPI Funny Bunny and Icing is the Best Part from Olive & June. You can even mix different polishes and colors to get that dreamy, creamy depth. Just don’t apply too many coats or you’ll lose the sheer design that milky nails are known for!
  3. Seal the deal with a shiny top coat. A clear top coat will lock your nail polish in place and give you the glossy shine that makes milky nails manicure stand out.
  4. Finish with some cuticle oil. This is the last step for any manicure — it nourishes your fingers, helps your nails stay strong, and gives your mani a healthy glow!

What color nail polish is the best choice for a milky nails manicure?

simple short milky nails with a nude polish color
photo: @matejanova

When it comes to choosing the perfect color nail polish for a milky manicure, it’s all about soft and subtle hues. You want a shade that captures the delicate, creamy look of a milk bath, so avoid anything too opaque or bold. A sheer nail polish in an off-white color with give you that classic milky look — kind of like your bare nails, but better!

Want to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to make your milky nail ideas stand out? While white is the classic color for a milky manicure, it’s definitely not the only option. Infuse your milk bath mani with some fruity hues for a pop of color, like strawberry pink or baby blue (aka, the blueberry milk design that was everywhere this past year!). Just be sure to choose polish with a sheer, milky quality rather than full coverage colors to maintain that ethereal, barely-there appearance.

How To Ask For Milky Nails At The Salon

long almond shaped white milky nails manicure
photo: @magnificientnails

If you’re headed to the nail salon, chances are your nail artist has already heard about the milky nail manicure trend — but if not, we suggest asking for an off-white polish that has a translucent, “milky” quality. Remember: you don’t want a bright or bold look, so ask for polishes that are sheer rather than opaque.

If you’re unsure about what color is best, don’t hesitate to ask your nail tech for recommendations — and when in doubt, you can always screenshot some of the designs in this round-up to use as inspo!

Our Favorite Milky Nails Manicures and Design Ideas – By Color

simple short milky nails with nude polish
photo: @nailsbyalsn

Need an elegant manicure for a special occasion? Milky nails. Want a classy design to go from the office to happy hour? Milky nails. Looking for a cute palette cleanser to transition between seasons? Milky nails. No matter the occasion, milky nail designs are always a good idea.

So to give you some inspo for your next minimalist manicure, we’ve rounded up the best milky nail ideas for every style — from classic white designs to fun fruit-inspired trends (strawberry milk nails, anyone?!). Let’s get into it!

Milky Manicure Color Inspo (Jump Down To Your Fave Section!)

White Milky Nails Manicures and Designs

short gel almond shaped white milky nails
photo: @levnailsss

Ready to meet your new everyday manicure? Introducing: white milky nail ideas! This is the most classic color for the milky nail trend (and the inspiration behind the name), so of course it’s the first hue on our list. With a soft and subtle white color, these dreamy nails are perfect for every style, season, and skin tone. And yes, we plan on rocking them all year long!

So if you’re looking for a chic nail design that you can always rely on — whether you’re at the office, on vacation, or tying the knot — these white milky nail ideas are here. for. you. Can you tell we’re obsessed?!

1. Barely-There White Milky Nails

cute short white milky nails with simple single dot designs right above each cuticle

photo: @matejanova

Calling all minimalists! This milky manicure is the ultimate “bare but better” look, with a cloudy hue that toes the line between white and nude. It’s a universally flattering color that goes with anything — and we are in love.

Want to DIY these nails at home? This nail artist used a mix of this milky white nail polish and this nude color to get the cloudy base coat. Complete with a tiny dot of white polish, it’s the perfect everyday manicure!

2. Creamy White Milky Nails

long almond shaped milky nails with a white polish color

photo: @nails_by_annabel_m

For a manicure that looks good enough to eat (or should we say drink?), look no further than these creamy white nails! They put the “milk” in milky nails, with a rich white nail polish color that has us craving a tall glass of 2%.

Get the look with OPI’s Funny Bunny shade — it’s the perfect sheer white color for all your milk-inspired designs!

3. White Milky Nails With Simple Silver Designs

long almond shaped white milky nail designs with metallic silver curvy line art accents

photo: @jannyesquivelstudio

If a classic milky manicure feels a little TOO simple, kick things up a notch with this trendy metallic design. The subtle silver accents (which you can recreate with this metallic polish) add just the right amount of shine to the cloudy white base coat. If we could describe the quiet luxury aesthetic with a manicure, it would be this one!

4. Lacy White Milky Nail Designs

short white milky nails with floral lace designs in an opaque white accent polish

photo: @nolas.nails

One word: OBSESSED. This manicure takes the milky nail trend to the next level with a lace-inspired design layered on top of sheer white nail polish. It’s dreamy, it’s delicate, and it’s SO dang cute! If you’re looking for a milky manicure that stands out from the crowd, it doesn’t get better than this.

5. Glazed White Milky Manicure

almond shaped white milky nails with shimmery top coat polish

photo: @lolo.nailedit

Glazed donut nails meet the milky nail trend with this shimmery white manicure! This design combines the creamy goodness of milky nails with the iridescent shimmer of a glazed design. Because if you can’t choose between the two viral looks, why not do both?!

P.S. We found the exact shimmery nail polish and sheer white color this nail artist used to create the dreamy shine. Brb, adding to our carts as we speak!

shimmery grey almond shaped manicure

If milky nail ideas feel a little too subtle, check out our chrome nails guide — we’ve rounded up our favorite shimmery designs for every style!

6. White Glitter Milky Nails

long almond shaped white milky nails with speckled polish designs

photo: @monika__nails

This milky nail design is giving us ALL the snow day vibes. While a milky manicure is perfect for any season, there’s something about this cloudy polish and white glitter combo that reminds us of an adorable snow globe. You’ll definitely want to add this design to your winter nails line-up!

7. Cloudy White French Manicure

long white milky nails with French tip designs

photo: @thehotblend

If a French manicure is your go-to nail design, then prepare to fall in love with this chic milky manicure. It’s a trendy update to your favorite style — and if you ask us, this hazy white color is the perfect base for a white French tip!

DIYing this look at home? These nail sticker guides will help you create the perfect French tip every time.

8. Cute Milky Nails With White Heart Designs

almond shaped white milky nails with cute heart designs and gold glittery line art

photo: @monika__nails

We have major heart eyes for these milky nails! Add a little romance to your milky manicure with these dainty white heart designs, complete with gold glitter nail polish for a touch of sparkle. We love how the milky base coat helps the cute nail art stand out — it’s equal parts sweet and sophisticated!

9. White Coffin Shaped Milky Manicure

long coffin shaped matte white milky nails

photo: @beautybeing__

Where are our coffin-shaped girlies at?! If you’re looking for nail ideas that are a little more bold (but not TOO over-the-top), this milky manicure is truly the best of both worlds. It gives you the eye-catching length of a coffin shape, plus the minimalist color of milky nails. SO GOOD.

Finish the look with a matte top coat for a sleek and simple design that definitely won’t go unnoticed.

10. Short Black + White Milky Nail Designs

almond shaped white milky nails with small heart designs in a black polish color

photo: @peachinails

Another milky manicure that has stolen our hearts! We love love love the contrast of the dainty black heart designs with the soft white nail polish. It’s a cute and timeless look that’s perfect for date night, special occasions, or anytime you need an extra dose of romance.

Recreate this look at home with these black heart nail decals — just soak them in water, slide them on top of your milky manicure, and seal the deal with a glossy top coat!

Pink Milky Nails Manicures and Design Ideas

simple almond shaped light pink milky nails
photo: @lauracmcinnis

Once the milky nail trend took off, it wasn’t long until we started seeing pretty pink designs hit the scene (aka, our Insta feeds). After all, everything is better in pink, amiright?! And with a soft and sheer color, these pink milky nail ideas instantly took the dreamy trend to the next level.

From strawberry milk designs to blushing nail ideas, scroll on for the best pink milky nails for your next Barbie-approved manicure!

11. Strawberry Milk Manicure

long almond shaped strawberry pink milky nails

photo: @mihaela_emiliana

Want to make your milky manicure even sweeter? Introducing: strawberry milky nails, aka our new drool-worthy nail obsession! With a soft and sheer pink nail polish, these nails have the same sugary sweetness as a glass of strawberry milk. YUM.

12. Short Light Pink Milky Nails

short square shaped light pink milky nails manicure


Milky nails are all about a soft and subtle look, and this light pink manicure definitely understood the assignment. With a sweet and creamy pink hue, they’ll add a feminine touch to ANY outfit. The coquette vibes are real!

To DIY this simple design, layer your barely-there pink nail polish over a soft white base coat. Finish with a glossy top coat, and you’re pretty much golden!

13. Cute Ombre Pink Milky Nail Designs

ombre pink milky nails manicure with cute white heart and star designs

photo: @nailsbyalsn

Can’t choose between white or pink nail polish for your milky nail ideas? Get a manicure that can do both! This ombre nail design fades from pastel pink to cloudy white, so you can rock both dreamy colors at the same time.

Check out this nail artist’s full tutorial to get the look at home — or go the simple route with these similar stick-on nails (complete with cute heart nail art!).

cute reusable long black almond shaped french manicure

Not a nail art pro? No prob! Recreate your favorite manicures (without ever leaving the house) with our round-up of cute fake nails!

14. Blushing Pink Milky Nail Designs

almond shaped blushing ombre pink milky nails

photo: @nailsbyalsn

Blush nail ideas have been having a serious moment lately, and we LOVE this milky twist on the manicure trend. With a flush of pink in the middle of each nail, it truly looks like your nails are blushing!

To create the rosy design, add a drop of pink jelly nail polish on top of your milky base coat, then blend it out with a sponge — kind of like you’re blending out your favorite liquid blush. Best paired with an equally rosy makeup look!

15. Pink Lip Gloss Manicure

simple coffin shaped pink milky nail designs

photo: @studioilirjana

Another makeup-inspired design, this manicure is as pink and shiny as your favorite lip gloss. It combines a milky pink nail polish with a high-shine top coat to create that sheer, glossy finish. Kind of like swiping a coat of lip gloss on top of your bare nails!

16. Star-Studded Pink Milky Nail Designs

almond shaped light pink milky nails with hot pink star designs

photo: @peachinails

These pink milky nails have us totally starstruck! If you want to add a little star power to your milky manicure, you can’t go wrong with these hot pink designs (which you can recreate using these star nail decals).

Because the only thing better than ONE shade of pink for your nails is TWO shades of pink, amiright?!

17. Short Pink + White Milky Manicure

short pink milky nails with abstract white polish swoosh designs on the ring finger

photo: @mariana.finta_nailartist

There’s something about this milky pink nail polish color that looks clean, classy, and healthy — almost like your nails are glowing from the inside out. Add an abstract white design for a chic accent nail, or rock this milky look all on its own for the perfect everyday manicure.

Blue Milky Nails Manicures and Designs

short shiny blue milky nails
photo: @lookbyelosie

If you haven’t heard of blueberry milk nails….wyd?! This blue milky manicure took over our social media last year, and we haven’t stopped dreaming about it since.

Inspired by blueberry milk (DROOL), these nails combine a classic milky design with a fruity blue nail polish color. It’s perfect if you want to add a pop of color to your look while still channeling the soft and minimalist look of a milky manicure. Truly the best of both worlds!

18. Classic Blueberry Milk Manicure

long almond shaped light blue milky nails

photo: @brendas.nails

Introducing: the classic blueberry milk manicure that we all know and love! This milky blue nail polish color has received the stamp of approval from celebs like Sofia Richie Grainge, Dua Lipa, and Sabrina Carpenter — and it’s safe to say we’re totally obsessed. It’s the color we’ll be rocking ALL season long!

19. Ombre Blue Milky Nail Designs

almond shaped ombre subtle pink and blue milky nails manicure

photo: @brendas.nails

If you’re not ready to commit to a full milky blue manicure, start by dipping your toes (or, more accurately, your fingers) into the water with this rad ombre design. It blends a light blue polish with a milky nude base coat for a manicure that’s timeless and trendy at the same time. We love!

20. Pearlescent Blue Milky Nails

short shimmery light blue milky nails

photo: @unwindnailbar

The mermaidcore vibes are REAL with this milky blue manicure! It takes the classic milky design and gives it an ethereal, oceanic makeover with a dreamy blue polish and a shimmery pearlescent finish. It’s the perfect look for your next beach getaway or warm-weather nail design!

To DIY these mermaid-inspired nails at home, just swap out your usual top coat for this pearlescent one. Now all that’s missing are some matching pearl accessories!

21. Crystal Inspired Blue + White Milky Nail Designs

long milky nails with blue and white polish colors and curvy silver glitter line designs

photo: @rebejrr_nailtechnician

Prepare to make the whole room ~shimmer~ with this glittery blue and white milky manicure! It reminds us of a sparkly quartz crystal, with milky white and blue polish separated by silver glitter accents. Perfect for manifesting some positive energy in 2024!

22. Ombre Blue Milky Nails with Snowflake Designs

almond shaped ombre blue milky nails with celestial designs in a white color polish

photo: @artdecom

If you thought blue milky nail ideas were just for the warmer months, this ombre manicure design is here to prove you wrong. It gives the bright look a frosty vibe with cool blue nail polish and snowy white nail art. Perfect if you’ve been looking for a way to transition your milky manicure into the chilly season!

Want to DIY this design at home? Just add some snowflake nail stickers on top of your blue ombre nails for the perfect cold-weather mani.

Ombre Milky Nails Manicures and Design Ideas

simple square shaped pink milky nails with white color ombre designs
photo: @nailboss_brigitte

Can’t decide on just one hue for your milky manicure? Enter: these ombre milky nail ideas! Featuring a blend of two (or more) nail polish colors, these milky manicures are the perfect way to test out a new color or add a little somethin’ somethin’ to your classic white design.

While you can customize these ombre designs with any color under the sun, we’ve rounded up our favorite milky hues to add to your mood board. Scroll on for more milky inspo!

23. Shimmery Blue Ombre Manicure

almond shaped blue ombre milky nail designs with a shimmery top coat polish with a pink reflection when the light hits it

photo: @bycheznails

We can’t stop, won’t stop obsessing over blue milky nail ideas — so of course we had to include another one of our faves! This dreamy manicure blends a lighter and darker shade of blue to create that ethereal ombre effect.

Complete with a shimmery finish, it’s a statement twist on a classic milky manicure!

24. Glitter Ombre Milky Nail Designs

square shaped silver glitter ombre milky nails manicure with white color polish

photo: @batoulnail.lab

When in doubt, add glitter! If you’ve never met a sparkly design that you didn’t like, then this is the milky manicure for you. It combines a minimalist white base with a maximalist glitter polish. The result? A sophisticated and party-ready design that’s definitely worth celebrating!

25. Coffee-Inspired Ombre Milky Manicure

coffin shaped ombre milky nails with French tip designs in a gradient of brown polish colors

photo: @nailzkatkat

Everyone will be ~buzzing~ over this ombre milky manicure, which features multiple coffee-inspired nail polish colors! We love how the rich brown hues blend into the milky white base — kind of like pouring cream into your morning coffee.

P.S. We found the perfect brown nail polish set to recreate this ombre look. Just add a different color to each of your nails, blend it with your white polish, and prepare for major compliments!

A Manicure For Every Occasion? We’ve Got You Covered.

short white milky manicure with an ombre design in bright polish colors including pink, red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple
photo: Kelsey Klos

As fellow nail lovers, we love any excuse to try out a new nail trend or rock a fun and festive design. And that’s why we’ve scoured the internet to find the best nail ideas for every occasion! Check out our complete nail hub for all the inspo you’ll ever need — from chic seasonal designs to the latest nail trends.

What’s your current nail obsession? Let us know in the comments below!