What’s the Point of a Natural Nail Manicure? Our Beauty Editors Weigh In

BY: Amanda Parker |Dec 27, 2018

With all the eye-catching gel polishes, nail designs, and acrylic and silk nails available, why would anyone want a natural nail manicure? A lot of reasons, it turns out. An anonymous poll of the Groupon beauty team reveals why lots of women are choosing to go out in the buff.

Natural nail manicures require less maintenance.

Well over half of our editorial staff who go beyond the obligatory nail trim agree that they prefer a natural nail manicure because of the easy upkeep. Not having color to touch up, however, doesn’t mean they eschew the finer points of nail care.

  • They regularly trim and push back their cuticles: While grooming the cuticle cleans up the nail bed and helps prevent hangnails, be careful to avoid damaging the cuticle as it acts as a protective barrier for the root of the nail.
  • They’re diligent about filing: Nail files lend shape, and can also prevent a break from becoming worse.
  • They buff to create shiny nails: A nail-care tool like a multisided buffer will help perfect your nail game, giving bare nails glossy shine, no polish necessary.
  • They still get manicures, sans color: Just because you aren’t in the market for gel polish or acrylics doesn’t mean you have to give up those relaxing trips to the nail salon.

Natural nails are versatile.

Another common case made for buff nails is that they go with everything. If your nails aren’t screaming for attention, they won’t clash with the rest of your look. This versatility has a practical component as well. One editor said that she sometimes adds a layer of protective topcoat to her colorful manicures, but that it is "no match for digging through [her] messy purse." In other words, take away the color, and the worries about chipped or smudged manicures also go away.

Natural nails have a timeless appeal.

Especially when exquisitely manicured, buff nails transcend trends with a timeless, understated aesthetic. Going bare also gives healthy nails a chance to shine all on their own. Like sporting a pixie haircut à la Audrey Hepburn, keeping your nails “wonderfully short and neat,” as one editor put it, still conveys that you care about your appearance, without the time commitment of acrylics, silks, or nail colors.

Natural nails look professional. 

Several of our staffers believe natural nails (or, at least, natural-looking nails) are more work-appropriate. As one put it, “I love bright, colorful nails for everyday wear, but I also use more natural nail polish for job interviews—most people aren't bothered by my blue nails, but better safe than sorry!”

This goes hand-in-hand with the belief that colorful nails look immature; however, less than a quarter of those polled felt this way. Instead they indicate that their preference for the easy maintenance of buff nails is stronger than any aversion to flashy colors and nail designs.

We have a lot of ... colorful reasons to go buff, too.

The majority of our staff cites one of the above reasons for their tendency toward natural nails, but some people offered up more individualized rationales, too.

  • Nail polish just feels weird: “I can feel nail polish on my nails and I hate it. It feels bizarre to me.”
  • A fear of eating nail polish: Another editor who loves to cook fosters a somewhat understandable concern that chipped nail polish will make its way into her food—which would be an unpleasant surprise for a dinner guest, to be sure.
  • A concern for healthy nails: After a three-year string of biweekly no-chip manis, an editor said she’s not sure she'll go back to polish. Her nails were dry and weakened by the constant cycle of adding and removing polish, so now her main concern is maintaining clear, strong, and healthy nails—though she intends to keep getting manicures.


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