If you're anything like me—a bit of a dolt when it comes to nail-painting—then I think you'll agree that spring 2013 is pretty much the best nail season EVER.
That's because there are so many cool manis to choose from, and yet surprisingly, nothing really requires high-level nail skillz either.
I mean, fine, if you want to go nuts with your mini-paintbrushes and whatnot, be my guest. The rest of us will be selecting from an easy menu of fresh new shades (and stickers!) to get these looks.
Here are the 10 big ones you need to know about...
This is the number one nail trend for spring. You don't have to pull a Chanel and do an old-school French manicure (I know some of you are still shuddering over that!), but consider giving the brights a break and choosing something more understated: beige, nude, pale pink, and if your nails are in perfect shape, even clear (like Dolce & Gabbana, above). It doesn't have to be boring—especially with an almond shape, it elongates your fingers and looks completely elegant and ladylike.
Estée Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer French Nudes Collection, C$25.00/US$20.00 each; click here to learn more and purchase.
There's something about clean, crisp white that feels really new and fresh for warm weather. The nicest runway interpretation was above at Rag & Bone, where the girls wore it just the way you'd want to in real life, i.e. with gorgeous, minimal, summery makeup. It's a smart choice if you want to make a bit more of an eye-catching statement than you would with a nude—but you've still got the goes-with-anything benefit, since white is a neutral.
Products to try: If you want this exact runway look, the shade used was from Revlon, and it's called Spirit. (Bonus: It's from the Top Speed line, so it'll dry fast too!)
Revlon Top Speed Nail Enamel in Spirit, $7.00; click here to learn more and purchase.
If you don't like the Wite-Out effect so much, one white I've had the great luck with is Essie Nail Polish in Instant Hot. It looks ever-so-slightly pink in the bottle but won't be once you apply two coats, and it has a slight iridescence that's really pretty.
3. Pastel Brights
You know how you always associate pastels with spring? Well, this year it's not about those traditional, pale, muted, sissy colours. It's pastel brights. Pastels on acid, if you will. Could be anything from blue to yellow to pink to green, but the colours are clearer and a bit bolder than in seasons past. I think the Douglas Hannant look above is one of the best examples (the shade is Essie Nail Polish in Knockout Pout).
Products to try: Essie's brand-new spring resort collection (and their upcoming summer collection, which I can't tell you about just yet) fits the bill for this trend perfectly.
Essie Resort Collection 2013, C$10.00/US$8.00 each; click here to learn more and purchase.
Another favourite of mine in this category is an older shade, Orange Fizz from Chanel. It's softer (and I think prettier) than their 2013 orange, called Lilis.
Metallic nails—from gold to silver to bronze to copper—are a cool way to accent your fingers without committing to an actual colour. In fact, you can think of them as replacements for jewellery! (A totally budget-friendly choice, too.) The pic above is from the Carlos Miele show, and remember when I showed you this Erin Fetherston look, a high-impact silver? Yep, you really want them to be that bright and shiny.
Products to try: Sally Hansen has a new special-effects polish out called Lustre Shine, although I don't think the image below really does it justice. The shades Firefly, Gilt, Plume and Copperhead (all in the bronzey-goldy family) are the best picks for a heavy metal look:
Sally Hansen Lustre Shine Nail Color, $8.00 each; click here to learn more and purchase.
Wait—WUT? Black for spring? Apparently yes. And I can see it totally working with the right outfit, in a cool-girl sort of way like the chick above at Marchesa. In fact, it might even work with what you'd think was the wrong outfit—i.e. it could be an unexpected way of toughening up something floral, or nautical, or preppy. Think about it!
Products to try: If you're not much of a black nail polish person, I hear you. If I weren't being sent samples all the time because of my "job," I wouldn't have any in my stash either. But I have a proposition for you. What if the black nail polish came as part of a set—just one of THREE polishes? That's how Physicians Formula are selling their new nail trios, and this set, Smokin' Haute, has a perfect shiny black—plus two reds. Not a bad deal, right?
Physicians Formula Custom Nail Trios, C$14.00/US$11.00 per trio; click here to learn more and purchase.
I LOVE glitter. So much so that I wish I owned this Tumblr. Well, if it were just about glitter on nails at least. Wanna know why? Because the stuff has anti-chipping powers like you wouldn't believe. Not so fun when you're trying to take it off, sure, but I'll make that trade-off any day if it means my nail polish stays put a little bit longer.
For spring, my absolute favourite way of wearing it is à la Behnaz Sarafpour, where it just danced around the edges of an otherwise nude-ish nail. (Super easy to do as well, since you don't need to draw any sharp lines like you would with a colour.)
Products to try: Did you know Victoria's Secret makes nail polish now? Yep—and this is their glitter selection. I can tell you right now (because I just tried it), the one on the far right works awesome for creating fairy-like, silvery tips.
Victoria's Secret Nail Lacquer, $10.00 each; at Victoria's Secret stores and victoriassecret.com.
I also think, glitter-wise, you can't go wrong with Deborah Lippmann (she practically invented the stuff) and Revlon also sell these very cute Moon Candy duos where one side is a flat colour and the other is a glitter.
Matte nails have been around for a few years now, but what's different this spring is the idea of mixing matte and shiny finishes on a single nail. You could do it the same way as the nails at the Angel Sanchez show, above, which were matte pink with contrasting lilac tips. It's not as hard as it looks because you would just do your normal two coats of regular polish, slick on a matte top coat, and then paint the diagonal edges on top with a regular shiny polish.
Another idea that I've been dying to try is to do a tone-on-tone matte nail with shiny polka dots, or vice-versa. All that would require is a dotting dool (you can buy a Quo or Essence one at Shoppers), a regular nail polish in the colour of your choice, and then clear shiny and matte top coats.
Products to try: So many brands make matte top coats these days, but one of the most affordable is Revlon's:
Revlon Matte Top Coat, $4.99 each; click here to learn more and purchase.
8. 3D Accents
How cute is this accent nail at DSquared²? It's just a bit of thin gold wire arranged in a cool shape. And before you go saying you can't DIY this ish, know that you don't need to do anything special except find whatever adornment you want, and then glue it on with clear nail polish! That's right—you don't even need special nail glue or anything. And since a 3D effect on just one nail (or one on each hand) looks way cooler than doing all 10, it's not like the process is going to take all day.
Products to try: Scope out your local beadery, craft store or even Amazon to pick up your doodads of choice. I just found these cute bows on Amazon right now for only $7.25!
Now here's a French manicure I think we can all get behind. This is from the Jenni Kayne show, and I'm a huge fan of the bare base/neon tips combination. So fun, so summery—and unlike the black tips at Tanya Taylor, you don't have to worry about people thinking you have dirt under your nails. Although you could certainly do it in black too.
Products to try: Before you freak out that this isn't a DIY look, bear with me. Sally Hansen has come out with their wicked nail strips (which are made of REAL nail polish) in funky French mani versions:
Sally Hansen Salon Effects French Mani Real Nail Polish Strips, $12.99 each; click here to learn more and purchase.
So this look at Rodarte, even though it was fashioned by some of the world's top nail professionals, STILL required 15 minutes per nail to create, adding up to more than 150 hours to do the models for the entire show.
I would never ask that of you guys. Instead, let's take the key message—which is that patterns on the nails are a huge deal this spring—and cheat a bit. Because just like there are cool French mani stickers now, there are oodles and oodles of patterned ones too.
Products to try: One of the newest collections (although limited-edition) is Sephora by OPI's Trend Tips, which are like the Sally Hansen ones and made of real nail polish. (I'm not a fan of the actual stickers... getting the edges smooth is a b*tch and I've ended up filing off way too much of my tips.)
Sephora by OPI Trend Tips, C$14.00/US$12.00 each; click here to learn more and purchase.
Which nail trends are you most looking forward to for spring?
Have you tried any of these products yet?
What's your favourite nail polish shade right now?