Like our wardrobes, it's time for our nails to emerge from hibernation. After over a year of naked nails and less-than-stellar DIY designs (hey, we did our best), nail salons are now safely back open, and it's officially time to have a little fun with our manicures again. And from throwback 2000s-inspired colors to suddenly chic cow-print nail art, seemingly nothing is off-limits. But if you're anything like me—that is, still reusing the same press-on kit you impulse-bought last summer—you may want to brush up on the shades that are trending right now, just in case.
I slid into the DMs of 12 editors, designers, and other in-the-know people I keep up with in the fashion industry to find out the exact nail polish shades gracing their fingertips right now. What I Iearned: They're wearing summery brights, classic neutrals, and more than a few different shades of lilac. Keep scrolling to see what they're loving, and to find your new go-to color.
OPI Nail Lacquer in Purple Palazzo Pants
Jenn Barthole, senior fashion editor, Shape and Sweet July: "This shade is the perfect pink-lavender combo that speaks to my personal style, which I would describe as classic meets Sporty Spice."
Madison Guest, celebrity stylist: "Because I'm constantly working with my hands, I prefer to keep my nails short. So in the summer, my go-to is Essie Clambake. It's an orangey-red that goes with any outfit and pops against a summer tan. When I'm on vacation and can let my nails grow, I have a little fun with nail art and have loved the negative-space manicures."
Essie Nail Polish in Play Date
Rolanda Evelyn, product marketing and customer strategy manager at Rent the Runway: "I'm loving putting a colorful twist on the classic french manicure. So Essie's Sugar Daddy has been my go-to for my base, and then I top it off with a punch of color."
Sarah Pierson, Co-Founder of Margaux: "I like a natural look—especially for a manicure—and this wearable polish does double duty, with the look of a sheer and the benefits of good-for-your-nails vitamins."
Morgan Taylor Platinum Nail Lacquer in Diamonds in the Sky
Elana Fishman, style editor, PageSix: "After the long, sad slog that was 2020—and now that summer's finally arrived—there's never been a better time to treat yourself to a bright, happy mani."
Lauren Chan, Founder and CEO of Henning, model, and size-inclusive fashion advocate: "It's sheer enough to be easy to work with (i.e. if you get it on your cuticle/skin or miss a spot, it's not the end of the world), but it's opaque enough to be noticeable and make me look a little more pulled-together. Win, win!"
OPI GelColor Gel Nail Polish in Red Hot Rio
Rosa Heyman, deputy editor, Cosmopolitan: "I'm always wearing some shade of red nail polish, and this ruby hue feels especially perfect for this sweaty, vaxxed, flirty summer."
"Also important: the name is the closest I've gotten to international travel in a while," says Heyman.
Paintbox Nail Lacquer in Like Lilac
Mekita Rivas, senior fashion writer, Bustle: "My current manicure is actually the first Paintbox manicure that I got while attending a press event in NYC. I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to my nails. I typically do regular polish (no gel) in a classic white-nude or ballet pink shade (Be There In A Prosecco and Stop It I'm Blushing! by OPI are my go-to's). I never do designs or embellishments, so this was a departure for me!"
"After this last year, I thought, 'Why not go for the drama?' I love the playful pink vibes with the coordinating pops of pink and gold bling. This mani is truly unlike anything I've ever done before—it's a good reminder to step outside your comfort zone every now and then!" says Rivas.
OPI Gel Color Gel Nail Polish in Black Onyx
Meriam Ahari, digital content editor, Harrod's: "I love Black Onyx by OPI because the shade is a true, deep, saturated black with a shiny finish."
"For years, I've only worn black on my nails. I think it looks chic, classy, and clean (that is, when they're not chipped, so I only wear gel polish)," says Ahari.
ILNP Nail Polish in Highline
Anna Moeslein, deputy editor, Glamour: "I've been loving holographic nail polishes this summer. They change color in the sunlight, so now that we're back out in the world, it means I have even more opportunities to enjoy the transformation."