“Animal print seems to be a fall trend this year,” Erica Marton, a celebrity manicurist based in Florida and New York, told TODAY Style. It allows the wearer to be both bold and muted, depending on the shade, she explained.
The look has been seen in all sorts of accessories, from purses to sunglasses, so why not put it on your nails? “I think it’s a fun way to incorporate this hot trend and its pretty easy to do. Tortoise is a fun way to jump start your nail game,” said Marton.
Since tortoiseshell is most often seen in toasty autumn shades, like caramel, it's primed to be the perfect accessory for fall.
And while the design might look complicated, it's just a matter of layers, according to Addie Sarino, national director of nails at Mynd Spa and Salon in New York. "When doing this type of design, you need to layer and overlap various shades of polish using either gel or regular polish," she said.
Want to get this look at home? Marton suggests following the steps below.
How to do a tortoiseshell nails manicure:
- Start with a fresh manicure.
- Gather some plastic wrap (like Saran Wrap) and set it aside.
- Paint your nails in one color. Marton would either go for Aggie by Zoya for a fun, shiny look or China Glaze's Mustard the Courage for a more subtle look.
- Wait for nails to dry, which normally takes about 10 minutes. (Don’t rush it!)
- Take black polish and dab a few medium-sized dots onto your nails. Make sure you leave some space for the contrast of the color underneath.
- Now take a small ball of plastic wrap, bunch it up and gently dab the black dots to blend. If you feel confident you can even mush the black dots, just don’t overdo it!
- Wait for your nails to dry again and then apply the top coat.
Sound a bit complicated? You can always just start with one or two accent nails at first, or skip the manicure entirely and find cool tortoiseshell nail stickers on Amazon.
Tortoiseshell nails aren't entirely new. At New York Fashion Week Fall 2013, Rodarte used the look in their runway show. Similar manicures were also seen more recently at the February 2019 Luar presentation at fashion week.
Looks like this trend has been building up for a while, which makes sense since "slow and steady wins the race."