The 5 Best Summer Nail Polish Collections of 2012

Go buy these spectacularly summery shades before they sell out!
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Michelle Villett
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Go buy these spectacularly summery shades before they sell out!
Karen Walker - Spring 2012 nails

Forget jewellery—nail polish is the summer 2012 way of accessorizing your outfit. Now, you know I'm not an electric blue/mint green mani kind of person, but I swear I keep running into people with these non-traditional nail polish colours, and it's growing on me. (I know, only a year late to the trend, what can I say?) Maybe it has to do with the season. Bold colours really are easier to pull off when you're showing more skin and have a bit of a (hopefully faux) tan.

I'm even kinda digging the chartreuse on this model here, from the Karen Walker spring show. (FYI, CND called it the "Murky Mustard" mani, and it's done with CND Colour in Bicycle Yellow mixed with seven drops of CND Colour in Blackjack.) I think what makes it extra-awesome is the coral lippie. I'd want to walk around all day with my hands near my mouth just to show them off.

Anyway! I'll get back to the point of this post, which is to say that there are a whole bunch of new and summery polishes out right now just begging you to try 'em. Whether you go for an extreme shade or not is up to you...

1. Thakoon for NARS

Thakoon for NARS nail polish collection

If you know the label Thakoon, then you know that the designer (his name is Thakoon Panichgul) is known for his use of bold, bright, vibrant colours. NARS founder François Nars has for years collaborated with him on the makeup side at New York Fashion Week, and now the pair have come out with this limited-edition range of polishes. They're $21 each... and don't you want them all? I think my pick is the orchid.

2. Essie Poppy-Razzi Collection

Essie Poppy-Razzi Collection

One look at this collection from Essie and I knew that my summer pedicure needs were met. I always switch from my wintertime staples (classic reds and vampy maroons) to the orange/coral/fuchsia families in summer, so I can't wait to start rotating through these over the next couple of months. In person, they look even brighter than on the computer monitor. My fave is Camera, the second from the right; Essie describes it as a "brilliant coral pink neon."

3. Zoya Beach Collection

Zoya Beach Collection

Now here's a name that I can get behind. (I heart anything "beach." Beauty brands, slap that name on anything and I'll buy it. Usually in fragrances, but hey—I'll do nail polish in a pinch.) Here, it's the moniker for six seasonal shades that look kinda pale and pretty and ice creamy to me. These go on flat; there's also a metallic version of each in another Zoya collection called Surf.

4. Bourjois Paris Paris Show Time Collection

Bourjois Paris Paris Show Time nail polish collection

Did you know that Kate Middleton wore a Bourjois Paris nail polish on her wedding day? It's one of my faves—this brand makes good polish. At $9.99 each, it's cheap, too, and you can buy it at Shoppers. Anyway, this lim-ed collection is not something I can see the Duchess wearing... AT ALL... but if you're looking for uber-bright colours then it could be the ticket. (Their press release says to "forget the sparkles and shimmer" and to instead go for their "pure lacquered shades" with "smooth and radiant colour." I really must applaud them on this anti-sparkle stance.)

5. Revlon Neon Nail Polish Duos

Revlon Nail Polish Duo - French Mix

Have you heard? The classic French manicure is back. Some may shudder at that—I say keep it to the fingers, not the toes, and it actually kinda looks good again. But long before that happened, designers were playing on the runways with French manis in contrasting colours. And now Revlon's got an app... I mean nail polish duo... for that. These do the matching for you (there are eight creamy shades to choose from). They also have other versions: Moon Candy gives you a rock-candy finish; Break-Up is crackle; and Neon is, well, neon (with the other side a white base coat that you can use as your tip).

P.S. I should probably tell you about these M.A.C Nail Lacquers...

MAC Permanent Nail Lacquer Collection

Okay, these aren't seasonal shades because guess what? M.A.C is introducing their first permanent nail polish collection consisting of 31 colours and three different finishes (frost, pearl and cream). Some are new and some are re-releases, and they're available July 5th at M.A.C standalone stores, and then online and at M.A.C counters August 2nd. I've got my eye on the top row, far right, for summer...

Plus! Be on the lookout for...

At-home gel nail kits! They're the next thing in nails—kinda like a DIY Shellac for at-home use. They come with the gel and the LED light to "cure" it with. Neat, huh? I'm in the midst of a test-drive right now, so watch this space.

In the meantime, tell me...

Are you doing the bright nail polish thing?
What shades are you loving right now?
Have you tried anything from these new collections yet?