Selena Gomez, Olivia Rodrigo, and Sofia Richie Agree: Short Nails Are *It*


(Image credit: @iramshelton)

If you scroll through Instagram and TikTok or think back to the cultural phenomenon that was Hailey Bieber's "glazed donut" manicure, you'll notice something. Long, almond-shaped nails have been trending for months. Sure, this nail length and shape are super flattering and provide ample room for eye-catching color and detailed designs, but there are other options out there—namely shorter, more square-shaped nails.

If celebrities like Selena GomezOlivia Rodrigo, and Sofia Richie are any indication, short nails are *it* for fall. All of these celebs and more have recently debuted short and sleek manicures, and it's caught our attention. Could it be time to reach for the nail clippers? 

According to Rita Remark, celebrity nail artist and Essie's global lead educator, the answer to that question is yes. "I've definitely noticed a return to shorter, sportier lengths," she says. "It feels like a minimalist refresh from the dramatic tapered lengths we saw this summer. Whenever a trend has reigned supreme for enough time, there's always an opposite reaction. I think shorter nails are more popular for that reason. We're ready for something new." Keep scrolling to see celeb inspo and learn what colors look best on short nails. 


(Image credit: @selenagomez)

Jin Soon Choi is a nail expert and founder of JinSoon, the vegan and cruelty-free nail brand we beauty editors love. She says short nails are trending, in part, due to Gen Z. "Short nails are practical, low-maintenance, and fit into everyone's daily lifestyle, especially Gen Zs, who are into a natural and healthy lifestyle," she says. "Many fashion designers are favoring shorter nails on the runway and in their editorials. Most high-fashion houses that I have worked on campaigns for are into short, natural nails. I still remember the hot-red or dark-red short, natural nails in Chanel Beauty campaigns, which were very chic and modern. I am so glad that this trend is back."

Fashion might also have something to do with it. With so many dramatic and oversize silhouettes trending at the moment, manicures must complement them, not compete. "With fall's trending fashion shapes (balloon sleeves, etc.) a long nail could look like a misfit with all that oversize detailing," says Elle Gerstein, celebrity nail artist. 


(Image credit: @sofiarichiegrainge)

Whatever the reason may be, short nails are surely making a comeback thanks to celebs like Richie Grainge. She's been a fan of short nails for as long as we've followed her on Instagram and TikTok. This look pairs well with her quiet-luxury vibe, which is based on classic yet understated essentials. 

The key to achieving a Richie Grainge vibe is perfecting the shape of the nail. In fact, Remark says shape is everything when it comes to short nails. "Short nails are inarguably the easiest length to wear and maintain," Remark says. "Just make sure you get the shape right. If you have shorter nail beds, a round tip may make your nails look like circles, and a square tip may make your fingers look stubby. Opt for something in the middle, like squoval (a square-oval hybrid). If you have naturally longer nail beds and you'd like to give the appearance of shorter, try a sharp square tip." 


(Image credit: @oliviarodrigo)

When it comes to color, nail experts say dark shades of red, blue, brown, and black à la Rodrigo work well. "These deeper hues tend to look a little witchy and talon-like on long nails but super chic on shorter nails," Remark says. "Not to mention, a flawlessly polished dark polish on short nails just screams 'I got a manicure.'" 

Choi agrees: "I personally like dark colors on short nails for an editorial look." 


(Image credit: @kimkardashian)

Anyone who has followed Kim Kardashian for as long as we have knows she's been vocal about her love of short nails. In the past, she's made it clear that they're more practical and require less upkeep, and we couldn't agree more. Here, she wears a soft shade of petal pink.


(Image credit: @kendalljenner)

There's another member of the Kardashian-Jenner family who's in on the short-nail trend—Kendall Jenner. Here, she takes a selfie sporting short, square, and shiny nails. Look closely, and you'll see they each have a micro-French tip. According to Choi, Jenner and her nail artist chose the right kind of nail art for her short manicure. "For nail art on short nails, I would go for very simple designs. Micro-French manicures, a baby crystal or pearl on each nail, and thin vertical lines are all good options," she says. Ugh, so chic. 

How to Prep Nails for a Short Manicure

Kaitlyn McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor

Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.