Cute and Easy Fall Manicure Tutorial

Amanda Bellantoni
by Amanda Bellantoni
6 Materials
40 Minutes

One of my nails broke, which makes it the perfect time to try out a short fall manicure.

Cool-weather is setting in, so cute fall manicures are super in right now! Let’s jump right into it.

Tools and materials:

  • Nail clippers
  • Glass nail file
  • Strengthening base coat
  • Glossy top coat
  • Burgundy nail polish
  • Cuticle oil
Clipping nails

1. Clip your nails

If you’re doing short nails alongside me, pull out your clippers and start taking off some length.

It was actually a challenge to cut my nails because they were too long for the clipper so I had to clip from each side to remove the length.

I started by removing the bulk on each side and then went back to trim them down a little more.

Filing nails

2. File down your nails into a squoval shape

Glass files are my favorite nail files of all time because they never lose their grit, and they just continue to impress.

File back and forth along the nail to smooth out the edge. Round them out into a squoval shape. 

If your nails are too long for the file, go back in with the clippers.

Glass files are for finishing, not length removal, which is why I feel comfortable going back and forth with them on the nails.

Never go back and forth with a regular emery board, because that’s how you encourage peeling and splitting of the nails.

Inspecting nails

3. Match up the nails on each hand

As you file, take a second to match up your left hand with your right hand to make sure the nails look even and of similar length.

Sometimes one hand might be shorter or longer than the other.

Removing dust

4. Remove any dust and rinse your hands

Use the top of the glass file as you go to remove any dust or shavings that collect under the nail.

Once you’re completely done filing, you can rinse your hands off.

Applying base coat

5. Apply a base coat

Apply a really thin coat of a strengthening base to all of your nails.

Don’t use too much product on the first coat, because you don’t want to flood the cuticle.

You just want to protect the nail from the deep red we’re putting on it.

Let it dry for a couple of minutes before moving onto the color.

Painting nails

6. Paint a thin first coat 

Paint a thin first coat of red polish on each nail.

This is a really rich red that’s perfect for a fall manicure. All you need is a small bead of polish on each nail.

If you happen to get any polish on the cuticle or the skin surrounding the nail, don’t worry — we’ll go back later to clean it up.

Painting nails

7. Apply a second coat

Once your nails feel dry to the touch, go back in for that rich, second coat.

You can be more generous with this coat since it’s the final coat.

Let the nails dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

Applying top coat

8. Apply a glossy top coat

Apply a quick-dry glossy top coat over the nails.

If you notice the top coat is pulling a bit of color on the brush, and as long as it’s not streaking or ruining the manicure, you can keep going.

Let this dry for another 20-30 minutes.

Adding cuticle oil

9. Apply cuticle oil

Apply a bead of cuticle oil to each nail, and gently massage it into the finger to complete the manicure.

This is going to help protect the fresh polish and rehydrate the cuticle and skin around the nails.

Cute fall manicure

Cute fall manicure

Here are the finished nails! Cute fall manicures don’t have to be that hard. Dark colors on short nails really pop, and they look so clean and classy.

It’s the perfect season to wear those Bordeaux and eggplant polishes so grab your favorite, and let me know how your Fall manicure turns out!

Next, learn How to Do a Cute Gel Pedicure Easily at Home.

Suggested materials:
  • Nail clippers
  • Glass nail file
  • Strengthening base coat
See all materials

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Join the conversation
  • Michelle McCaughtry Michelle McCaughtry on Oct 14, 2023

    Beautiful color! I just had to trim all mine down - no where near as gorgeous and long as yours tho. I’m going to check my Colorstreet stash to see if I have a rich burgundy set.

    • Connie Fidler Connie Fidler on Nov 17, 2023

      Love ColorStreet! I think the dark blue will work for Autumn,,,,,,

      I'm putting on Royal Brocade this weekend

  • D D on Oct 14, 2023

    How nice! I have to keep my nails short. I have an English Bulldog. Meagan is our 6th bulldog. Bulldogs are the Marine Corps mascot. Bulldogs have what’s called a nose rope. It’s a thick layer of skin laying on top their nose. I have to lift it up and clean underneath. So this is why I need short nails. I discovered this years ago while cleaning our Grisella Ann’s nose rope.

    Thank you,