In the grand scheme of new beauty-product releases, nail polish is, undoubtedly, the most overwhelming. The top brands flood the market with several launches every season. This deluge makes it hard to keep track of all the newbies — even for beauty editors! This is why we called on some extra help to guide us in our pursuit of the top colors for 2016.
So what’s the latest in color trends? Celebrity and editorial nail artist Steph Stone gave us the lowdown. Her portfolio features a who’s who of Hollywood: Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Rooney Mara, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley — you get it. To boot, she’s done tons of campaigns, editorials, and magazine covers.
Ahead, Stone walks us through the seven biggest nail-color trends to rock right now. Plus, check out her tips on the nail lengths and shapes that best complement each hue, and her favorite polish picks.
Dark, Glittery Navy
Navy isn’t new, but this year it’s getting an update. “Blue is typically viewed as a risky color to pull off,” Stone tells us. “[But] sparklynavy blue just screams ‘sophisticated winter wonderland.'” And luckily, tons of brands are coming out with navy-and-glitter hues, with textures ranging from baby-fine to chunky. Stone’s top pick is from fellow nail artist Deborah Lippmann: “Rolling In the Deep is dark and subtle enough to keep you looking chic, while still adding a ton of flair to your look with its perfect touch of sparkle.”
How To Wear It: “Best worn on short, square nails to keep you looking sharp!” Stone says. “This color would even look amazing with a matte topcoat, to really draw out the sparkles.”
Deborah Lippmann Nail Color in Rolling In the Deep, available at Amazon.com.
For something a touch brighter, try Julep’s Charmaine. The base is a classic navy, and it has glitter of various sizes for serious sparkle.
Julep Nail Polish in Charmaine, available at Amazon.com.
One coat of Essie’s Starry Starry Night is a slightly sheer, vibrant blue, but two coats feel deep and moody. However, you have to hurry: The brand has re-released this shade from the vaults (it made its debut in 1985!) for a limited time.
Essie Nail Polish in Starry Starry Night, available at Amazon.com.
Warm, Opaque Beige
Forget sheer nudes and girlie pale pinks — this year is all about the sexy, creamy ’70s beige. It should be totally opaque, warm in tone, and shiny. Stone calls on Cork from her agency’s new line, Nailing Hollywood. “It’s a universally complementary shade for most skin tones,” she says.
How To Wear It: “I recommend wearing this color on trim, natural-shaped nails,” Stone says.
Nailing Hollywood Nail Polish in Cork, available at amazon.com.
China Glaze’s new Ever Glaze formula is somewhere between a polish and a gel — it goes on like a traditional lacquer, but wears for much longer. We suggest giving it a go in Beach Beige.
China Glaze Ever Glaze Extended Wear Polish in Beach Beige, available at Amazon.com.
MAC’s new Sweet Potion is a play on the trend, but with a touch of peach, making it the perfect compromise for anyone who wants to try ’70s nails, but finds beige a bit intimidating.
MAC Studio Nail Lacquer in Sweet Potion, available at Amazon.com.
Or take this look to the next level with a touch of metallic shimmer. Butter London’s new shade I’m On the List is a true ’70s beige, with a high-shine finish.
Butter London Nail Lacquer in I’m On the List, available at Amazon.com.
It’s deep, moody, and thoroughly modern — we’re predicting that this hue will be huge this winter, in part thanks to Stone. “I have been using this type of gray a ton on set for so many different campaigns and lookbooks due to launch in winter,” she tells us. “If you want to mix it up after feeling tired of beige, nude nails, yet still want to keep it neutral, grays are a super on-trend option for you.” She favors the cool tone of Formula X’s Gray Matter.
How To Wear It: Dark gray wears beautifully on rounded nails, Stone says.
Formula X Nail Polish in Gray Matter, available at Amazon.com.
For something with a little more shine, opt for Zoya’s inky, metallic Tris…
Zoya Nail Polish in Tris, available at Amazon.com.
If you like the cool, bluish tones of Formula X’s shade but want to go a bit deeper, we suggest LVX’s Anthracite. It’s fresh, but still inky.
LVX Nail Polish in Anthracite, available at Amazon.com.
Classic Apple Red
Amid all the trendy nail art and interesting shades we’re seeing on the runway and red carpet, a bevy of brands have released new takes on an old classic for winter. “A classic red is always going to be a nail-color staple, no matter what season we’re in,” Stone says. Her favorite is Fever, which she calls “the perfect red for winter because it wears vibrant, while still remaining subdued because of its blue undertones.”
How To Wear It: This shade of red will look great no matter your nail length, Stone says. “[It] will wear chic and professional on short, natural-shaped nails, or it can feel sexy and playful if you paint it on longer, almond-shaped nails!”
Nailing Hollywood Nail Polish in Fever, available at Amazon.com.
It’s hard to compete with OPI’s classic Big Apple Red (the ultimate foolproof hue), but we love the brand’s new shade Amore At the Grand Canal just as much. It’s a touch closer to cranberry than a classic blue-based red, making it a bit brighter.
OPI Nail Polish in Amore At the Grand Canal, available at Amazone.com.
Olivia Palermo is known for her impeccable nails, which makes her new polish line for Ciaté the perfect partnership. Snatch up this classic shade while you can — it’s limited-edition — and wear it on short, square nails just like she does.
Ciaté London Olivia Palermo x Ciaté London Nail Collection in Hutch, available at Sephora in Amazon.com.
Even Burberry introduced a new apple-red this year. Its new limited-edition shade is the perfect classic option to last through the year: It’s bright, glossy, and flatters every skin tone.
Burberry Nail Polish in Military Red No. 300, available at Sephora.
“Miley Cyrus has been rocking silver metallics on her short nails, so I think it’s safe to say metallics are about to have their moment with the rest of us!” Stone says. Luckily, you’ll have plenty of options, as nearly every brand has released a version, from simple metallic to shimmery glitter. Can’t decide? Just go for Stone’s pick: “I love this specific OPI silver for the holographic flakes mixed in!”
How To Wear It: Follow Miley’s lead and keep your nails short and natural.
OPI Nail Polish in Is This Star Taken?, available at OPI in Amazon.com.
Orly’s Mirrorball is like a disco ball on your nails thanks to the baby-fine glitter — which makes it fun, but far from juvenile.
Orly Nail Polish in Mirrorball, available at Orly in Amazon.com.
Los Angeles-based line Lauren B.’s just released metallic silver is a unique shade. It almost looks like a drop or two of rose gold mixed into cool gray — it has a warmth that’s just beautiful.
Lauren B. Beauty Nail Polish in Angeleno, available at Lauren B. Beauty in Amazon.com.
“I adore this color for winter,” Stone says. “Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to stick to only dark colors!” We couldn’t agree more, especially when the hue is soft and subtle like this clean, pale pastel.
How To Wear It: “Subtle seafoam green wears beautifully on just about any nail shape, from trim and natural to Kylie Jenner-esque squared-off stiletto nails,” Stone says.
NARS Nail Polish in Thasos, available at NARS in Amazon.com.
For something a bit subtler, look to this Chanel limited-edition hue. It’s a soft seafoam, kept fresh and modern thanks to a high-shine, metallic finish.
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Paradisio, available at Chanel in Amazone.
It may look a little odd in the bottle, but YSL Beauty’s brand-new Peace Green is beautiful on the nails. It’s a soft seafoam green with a sheer, iridescent finish that makes it look incredibly modern.
YSL Beauty La Laque Couture in Peace Green, available at YSL Beauty in Amazone.
Guys, mixed-media nail glitter is back in a big way! That is, glitter polish that features different sizes, shapes, textures, and even colors. “Everyone is looking for ways to keep their nails fun, without all the tedious work of nail art,” Stone says. “Nail-art topcoats are the perfect way to achieve this.” Plus, thanks to the various sizes of glitter, it’s a great way to extend the life of a dull or chipping manicure. Stone loves Splatter: “The color combo of baby blue and black flecks creates a graffiti-type look on your nails with ease.”
How To Wear It: These fun and playful topcoats are great for any nail shape. “There are no rules with this one!” Stone says.
Nailing Hollywood Nail Lacquer in Splatter, available at Amazon.com.
Do yourself a favor: Paint your nails any nude or beige shade in your kit, then top ’em with this mixed-size white glitter. The result will be incredibly chic, we promise.
Sally Hansen Luxe Lace Nail Color in Eyelet, available at Amazon.com.
This gold glitter will make any nail color — or even bare nails — instantly party-ready. It has large, round chunks of glitter, as well as fine, shimmery specks.
Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Shattered Souls, available at Smith & Cult in Amazone.com.
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