Summer Nail Trends: Nudes, Neons, and Pastels
Consider nude nail polish the manicure world's greatest hit -- next to sheer ballerina pinks and fire engine reds. But there's a difference between nude nails and naked nails. True nudes like Deborah Lippmann's Naked ($16; beauty.com), Sephora by OPI's Neutral Beauty ($9.50; sephora.com), and YSL's Beige Leger ($25; yslbeautyus.com) elongate your fingers and look great on manicures of all lengths, while naked nails are just that -- bare. Amp up the look with Chanel's Island ($26; chanel.com), a sheer fawn with rose gold shimmer.
Nude colors aren't limited to sandy beige hues. If you have a deeper skin tone, opt for lacquers like Jenna Hipp's RGB Nail Foundation in F2 ($16; rgbcosmetics.com) or Lancome's Vernis in Love in Beige Dentelle ($15; lancome-usa.com), shades that are more cafe au lait than peach. If you're stuck, reach for one-size fits all sheers like MAC's Skin ($16; maccosmetics.com), or Sally Hansen's Smooth & Perfect in Dune ($6;ulta.com) if you want a bit of shimmer.
Talk about looking on the bright side! Neon hues are having their biggest moment since Duran Duran topped the charts. Lacquer up in electric shades like Essie's Action ($8;essie.com), or Rescue Beauty's Cuprum ($20; rescuebeauty.com), a vivid, foil-like cobalt. Don't forget iconic highlighter shades like China Glaze's Yellow Polka Dot Bikini ($7; ulta.com), or Orly's Popsicle ($8.50;orlybeauty.com).
Neons have the tendency to blend with your natural nail color, resulting in a faded version of the high-octane shade in the bottle. Make sure your talons really stand out by painting a layer of white nail polish before the bright hue for a more saturated color. Try an ivory like Revlon's Calla Lilly ($7; ulta.com before going pretty in pink (and purple!) with NARS's Ratin Jot ($18; narscosmetics.com), or China Glaze's Hang Ten Toes ($7;sallybeauty.com). We also love American Apparel's nail polish in Neon Green ($6;americanapparel.net), and Illamasqua's punchy mint nail varnish in Nomad ($14;sephora.com).
Layer a high-gloss top coat over opaque formulas like Pop Beauty's Pink Popsicle ($10; ulta.com) and MAC's Life or Beth ($16;maccosmetics.com), a sugary-sweet orange, to keep them from looking chalky. We also love the pearly metallic finishes of Paul & Joe's nail polish in Sprite ($14; b-glowing.com), and Zoya's Meg ($8;zoya.com).
Delicate shades like Butter London's Trout Pout ($14; sephora.com) and Laura Mercier's Lavender Cloud ($18; lauramercier.com) don't have to come off as prim and proper. Pair them with tougher elements to give your ensemble a feminine edge. Dolce & Gabbana's Lemon ($20; saks.com) adds a punchy citrus accent to an all-black getup, while Dior's St. Tropez Vernis ($23;sephora.com) makes studded accessories look even bolder.