2012's Best Summer Pedicure Shades
Yellow toenails: Sounds gross, right? Think again—done right, this shade looks great on everyone. "It's all about picking the right yellow," says manicurist Elle, who works with celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and the Victoria's Secret Angels. Women with pale complexions should choose a color with warm undertones, like L'Oreal Paris Nail Color in Tweet Me, to complement the pink in their skin. Cooler yellows, like Revlon Scented Parfume Nail Enamel in Lemon Meringue (yes, it smells like lemon dessert), look pretty with medium skin. And a bold opaque shade, like Thakoon for Nars Nail Polish in Amchoor, won't fade out on dark complexions.
Forget moody navy and indigo. Aqua is as versatile as any other pastel. Skip the glitter and go for a matte polish, like Sonia Kashuk Nail Colour in Making Waves, which wears best on fair skin. "Heavy pigments look really vibrant," Elle says. A true blue, like Orly Nail Lacquer in Skinny Dip, is great for medium skin—it doesn't have green undertones. And a lighter color, like Butter London in Slapper, really stands out against dark skin.
This purply pink is the most fashion-forward of the bunch. "It goes great with the floral trends in clothing that are out right now," Elle says. Zoya Professional Lacquer in Shelby might be a pastel, but the opacity helps it pop against pale skin. The coral undertones in Topshop Nails in Daydream look amazing on medium skin tones. And those with dark skin will love Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Bubblegum Pink.
We know, we know—red polish seems so wintry. Until you try one with juicy orange tones. "This is your go-to summer red," Elle says. The multidimensional Dolce and Gabbana The Nail Lacquer in Fire picks up pink tones in skin, making it ideal for paler complexions. L'Oreal Paris Nail Color in Caught Red-Handed, which is a bit cooler, contrasts well with medium skin. And the bold Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Ginger Fire is a classic orange, perfect for dark skin.
Toes are one place you can go nuts at any age, says Elle, who loves this loud purple for summer. Women with dark or medium skin look best in brighter neon shades, like Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Stance or Pixi Nail Colour in Very Violet. Those with lighter skin tones should opt for something darker, like Butter London 3 Free Nail Lacquer Vernis in HRH, to create a stronger contrast. Just don't paint it on your fingernails, too. "With bold colors, it's better to complement than match," Elle says.
Warm, sexy, glint-y: Bronze is the best new metallic. Choose one with rose flecks in it, like Priti NYC Polish in Bill Bronze Orchid, if you have fair skin (the color will look healthier). Medium skin tones can handle a bolder metallic, like Maybelline New York Color Show Nail Lacquer Vernis in Bold Gold, which has both gold and silver flecks in it. And bronzy brown shades, like OPI Nail Lacquer in Brisbane Bronze, look gorgeous on dark skin. Just be sure to scrub your nails and use a basecoat before applying. Otherwise the nail polish won't lie flat, says Elle.
We'll be honest. This creamy orange shade isn't for fair skin. "It will look sickly on fair skin," says Elle, who recommends that people with lighter complexions choose a richer, deeper orange. But on medium and dark skin tones, the pastel color looks gorgeous. Essie in Fear or Desire has peach in it, which warms up medium skin tones, while China Glaze Nail Lacquer With Hardener in Orange You Hot is a superbright shade that dazzles on dark skin.