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Tortoiseshell nails are Autumn's coolest manicure trend for 2019

Match your nails to your sunnies.

10 Sep 2019

Starbucks has already put Pumpkin Spice Lattes back on the menu, so that can only mean one thing: Autumn is here. While you might be tucking away your bikini in favor of chunky sweaters, don't put away your sunglasses just yet. Your favorite summer accessory can live on through fall—at least, on your nails — with the season's coolest nail trend.

Tortoiseshell nails are popping up left and right on the runways and on Instagram. While summer brought a selection of crazy colourful nail art like tie dye and confetti, fall is shaping up to be all about neutrals. Sure, muted colours aren't quite as eye-catching as neon, but the textured pattern on this manicure is what makes it stand out. The callback to tortoiseshell sunglasses gives it a bit of a retro feel, yet the neutral palette and high shine give it a modern spin.

"What’s great about this look is that it’s easy enough to try at home, as there is room for error and it will still look good," says Rita Pinto, founder of the nail salon Vanity Projects in New York and Miami. She adds that the key to this look is making sure the polish stays sheer to get a more realistic texture. "At the salon, we would do this in gel to encapsulate the layers of colour to capture the translucency of the tortoiseshell and finish with a high-gloss top coat."

Sigourney Nunez, OPI’s North American education manager and nail artist, says, "It can get easily confused for a different animal print" if you keep the shades too opaque. In order to get the sheer look, Nunez recommends creating a custom shade by tinting your base coat with a yellow polish (try OPI Sun, Sea, and Sand in My Pants), and applying two coats to prepped nails. Then, create another shade by mixing your top coat with a greige like OPI You Don’t Know Jacques. Using a nail-art brush, apply that thinned-out color in blob-like pattens. "Don’t get stressed about precision," she says. "This look is inspired by a pattern seen in nature, and nature isn’t perfect—it’s simply beautiful as it is. So just have fun." Repeat this step with a black polish thinned with your top coat, and continue to layer the patten, switching between colors, until you're happy with the results.

While the pattern itself is cute enough on its own, it also acts as a great base for more intricate nail art. How about a little heart or an update on the French manicure? Pile on the gold for an expensive look, or opt for an accent nail if you're more on the minimal side. Scroll on for some of our favorite examples of tortoiseshell nails for every style.

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Tortoise Shell. I tried these a couple years back and wasn’t satisfied with the results. Thought I would give them another try doing new techniques using acetone and layering with a runny base coat. I mixed 5 different colors to achieve the base and added more brown or black as needed. Rings by @doublemossjewelry

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Just pause. And stop. And zoom in on these super in depth layers. Or just click my profile and look at my highlighted tortoise shell tutorial story. Side note, my hashtag #tortiesforshorties is still going strong (I see you all 😍). One Q though- we are gonna continue doing torties for spring time right?? It’s not just a winter/fall thing??

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Tortoiseshell nails made their big debut at the Luar show last season.

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Her dress LUAR Her hair LUAR Her nails LUAR Tortoiseshell nails for @luar FW19 Creative director @raulzepol Hair @tinadidit Make up @chantel_m_mua Nails by me special thanks to @voeshny Production @leo__becerra

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Tortie tips 🖤 • And im not even going to apologise for spamming you all with tortoise again.. because it’s undoubtedly my absolute fave... • Seriously though if it wasn’t for @nailthoughts 🥰 with her heavenly tortoise designs and without discovering the perfect mix using @the_gelbottle_inc Glass Yellow & chocolate ( tutorial in IGTV) ..I’d be a lost soul!

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Ok so if we had a tortie day yesterday with 4K likes on my heart torties... were gonna have a tortie MOMENT ❤️🤘🏼 Its the best feeling ever finishing a set of nails and lit being like “wow” im fckin GOOD 😂✌🏼 Using all @the_gelbottle_inc jet black, chocolate, and glass yellow ❤️🌟 ⠀ I wana chat to you guys about mad nail SKILLS (but also not being good at some stuff) As you start to get your own personal nail “style” you will know what YOU like to do. Ive just started finding my feet after 8 years and find what I like doing nail art wise. ⠀ For so long I done nails that werent me or not my style (and dont get me wrong I still do these if i REALLY have to) but I want you to know ITS OK TO SAY NO! For me, im good at intricate nail art and I love a sheer mani. And also for me, I hate themed nails 🤣 I always say to people it’s exactly the same as being a tattoo artist! Would you go to a tattoo artist and ask them for a colour tattoo when they specifically do fine line black and white? NO! ⠀ People will come to you for what YOU are good at. I follow so many girls that do specific mani styles- and they ROCK IT! Even if that be plain - do it good and do it well- everyone will love you for it. ⠀ Yours truly- Sophie “Dont ask me for themed nails or disney nails” Dale 🤣🤘🏼 ⠀ What are YOU good at and what do you struggle with or not like doing? Come chat to me⬇️😂

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For a full lewk, match your nails to your sunglasses.

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Inspiração do dia: Unhas de casco de tartaruga. #inspiracaodeunhas #tortoiseshellnails O que você acha dessa #nailart? Usaria? 📷 @brittanyxavier @nailsbytaylorjustine

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Literally if these dont get millions of likes im DEACTIVATING MY INSTAGRAM 😂🤚🏼 One of my favourite sets ... like... EVER! 🤤🌟 Heart torties using all @the_gelbottle_inc and yep you guessed it... my favourite TEDDY biab ✌🏼🌟 Inspired by... ME! If you do them, tag me! I wana see your recreations💖 ⠀ Ive been so excited over the past couple of days because ive been planning a PAAAARRTAYYY! Yes *that dreaded word in all nail techs ears* CHRISTMAS PARTY! 🥳🎅🏽Well... a nail tech social! Im so excited to get booking venues for (as im calling it) the Nancy Loves Nails presents *drumroll please* “NAILED UP NORTH” christmas social! (Hoping I pull this off massively and its not the next Fyre festival😂 ⚰️) It started out a party between a couple of us nail techs... and now theres 60 of us 😂 Last year I was sad bc I had no one to have a christmas good old fashioned p**s up with... and now I have 60 kick arse women to celebrate with. How amazing is that? The support of the nail tech community ceases to amaze me. ⠀ 24th November- in YORK ! If you are wanting to come , pop me a DM so I can add you to the Facebook event! Its gonna be so lit 🥳 🔥 If you’re self employed- dont worry ! We’re all here to make FRIENDS yes NAIL FRIENDS so do not worry we’re all in the same boat 🎅🏽🤣 ⠀ Ill keep you all updated on where I book and its going to be approx £30 PP with a DJ/ Live singer and canapés on the evening! ⠀ Thankyou to all my nail tech friends for being fucking awesome. You da best. Whos hyped ? ⬇️

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Negi space Torties - OH HELL YEAH ✨💛 All my clients love a mani with a good grow out- practical AND sexy - 🤣✌🏼 I neeeeed some foil stick it from @nailstampingqueenuk ! Cant wait to get some now its back in stock ✨🤪 ⠀⠀ Using all @the_gelbottle_inc glass yellow and chocolate mix for the perfect torties ✨(Oh and Teddy BIAB under for the perfect base!! Do torties EVER get old? I think TF NOT 😂✌🏼🤪 Inspired by @beautyworksbyamy ✨✌🏼 ⠀⠀ I want these so bad for myself but I CANT BE BOTHERED ! 😂 The worst thing about being a nail tech is that I literally can never be bothered to do my own - mine are always plain with teddy BIAB but never fancy- nail techs, are you the same? LOL 😂 ⬇️

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#tortoiseshellnails 🐢💅🏻

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Rita Remark, Essie's global lead educator, recommends mixing your thinned-out shades on a watercolor palette from the craft store. She likes to use Essie polish in Hay There for her base, and Licorice and Wild Nude for her blotches.

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Mood🍂

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Tortoise shell 💖 @magpie_beauty @scratchmagazine #magpiebeauty #magpienails #magpiegelcolour #magpiegelpolish #magpieglitter #nails #nailsplymouth #nailart #nailartinspo #nailsof #stilletonails #coffinnails #almondnails #squarenails #naturalnails #acrylicnails #tortoiseshellnails #magpiehazelnut #magpiepiccalilly

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@ngparker49 is so extra nowadays! We've gone for strong Tortoiseshells with an extra gold somethin somethin! And of course still matching that ring 😍 Last set before wedding nails Oh eM Gee!!!!! @the_gelbottle_inc GLASS YELLOW, CACAO, JET BLACK @glitterarty_nails1 GOLD FLAKES Prep as always @navyprotools 💙 Finished with @nafstuff Watermelon cuticle oil

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べっ甲ネイル✨ 秋ネイル☺️ #べっ甲ネイル #ミラーネイル#京都ネイルサロン #tortoiseshellnails #gelnail #nailart #englishavailable #nailsalonkyoto

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Today my client wanted a wee tortoise shell twist! I did this gel manicure freehand using different gel polish colours and you wouldn’t believe this is my clients natural nails! 😍 . . . . #nails #nailday #naturalnails #gelmani #nailart #freehandnaildesign #tortoiseshellnails #nailspo #nailsof #notd #showscratch #showscratchmagazine #scratchnails #nailmag #nailpro #societyabdn #scratchmag #nailtech

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Nail artist Hannah Lee has a bit of a different approach. She starts with a sheer camel, like Sally Hansen's Bare Dare, and then adds a layer of top coat to add depth before going in with the brown blobs. After applying black blobs (she uses a toothpick or bobby pin instead of a brush), she finishes with another coat of the sheer camel before applying a top coat. All the layers of polish will really make the texture pop.

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#tortoiseshellnails #bethesdanails #chevychasenails #salonnaderadc #fallnails #chevychasenails #fleeknails #fallcolornails

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Tortoise with an orange glow 🧡 • . Create using @the_gelbottle_inc Glass Yellow , chocolate mix with a tiny bit of pumpkin...

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#semipermanentes #suela #cafe #nailart #carey #thawksbill #turtle #tortoiseshellnails #tendencenails 🐢 🔝🔝 #freehandnailart #uñasunicasyexclusivas😍💅😋💞💣🔥 by #MariaLauraBeck para @vanefrodo en @studiof.mk @stamatilamaison

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