Super Summer Nail Polish Guide

It’s true—I get a bit fanatical about nail polish. And now that the sun is finally shining and everyone’s donning their warm-weather attire, what better way to channel our need for a summer manicure fix than by showcasing the season’s freshest lacquers? I’ve got you covered with an awesome color wheel full of more than 30 totally transformative shades. So, instead of opting for your usual hues, get ready to kick up your digit decoration with a broad spectrum of brights (think true reds, eye-popping yellows, orange-infused corals, and sea-inspired turquoise blues), try on a gritty green, or go beyond the pale with an earthy neutral. Also included in my nail polish wheel of fortune: The top coat du jour—cracks in every color. Because when it comes to nails, nothing is really off-limits, so give it a whirl!

Neutral Territory: Channelling all things organic and natural, we tracked down gray, iridescent, white, and beige hues that quietly proclaim a dignified nature and also represent a fresh start.

Above, from left: OPI Nail Polish in Skull & Glossbones, $8.50, visit OPI for locations; NARS Nail Polish in Écume, $17, available at NARS.


Above, from left: MAC Surf Baby Nail Lacquer in Hangin' Loose, $15, available May 25 at MAC; RGB Nail Polish in Stone, $14, available at RGB.


Seeing Red: This season’s reds are so brilliantly punched up, they almost yield a cherry-scented impact. The hue is both joyful and seductive, and, in China, an omen of good luck and fortune. Who’s winning now? 

Above, from left: OPI Red Shatter, $14.95 (for Glam Slam! set with Rally Pretty Pink), visit OPI for locations; Estee Lauder Nail Lacquer in Pure Red, $19, available at Estee Lauder.
Above, from left: Lancome Le Vernis in Sarong, $19, available at Lancome; Essie Nail Polish in Too Too Hot, $8, available in June at Essie.

Shocking Pink: Forget pastels. This season, it’s all about being flashy with bright, candy-colored fuchsias and magentas that call for action-packed, summer festivities.

Above, from left: Zoya Mod Matte Nail Polish in Lolly, $8, available at Zoya; Dior Vernis in Paradise, $26, available at Dior.Above, from left: Orly Nail Polish in Va Va Voom, $7.50, available at Sally Beauty; OPI Nail Polish in I Lily Love You, $8.50, available in June; visit OPI for locations.

Orange Crush: Spotted all over the spring runways in both fashion and as a must-have lip color, this bold shade is also tailor-made for nails. It radiates a fun, energetic vibe. So tangy!  

Above, from left: Tracy Reese for Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Coral Fever, $7.99, available at drugstores nationwide; Perfect Formula Nail Polish in Calypso, $15, available at Perfect Formula.Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Girls Just Want to Have Fun, $16, available at Lippmann Collection; Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Purity, $14, available at Sephora.

Yellow Zing:  Psychologically, yellow is one of the happiest hues in the color spectrum. It vibes of sunshine and optimism and the same goes for vibrant yellow nails. Plus, it’s definitely one of 2011’s standout nail trends. Either layer on a creamy yellow hue until its opaque or go for a wash of sheer, jelly-like lacquer. 

Above, from left: Chanel Vernis in Mimosa, $25, available at Chanel; Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Yellow Brick Road, $16, available at Lippmann Collection.


Above, from left: China Glaze Nail Polish in Electric Pineapple, $5.99, available at The Beauty Clutch; Topshop Nail Polish in Summit, $10, available at Topshop.

Green Light: You’re cleared to go green this summer, but with a chartreuse-colored, mossy bent that signals freshness and renewal.  

Topshop Nail Polish in Hunting, $10, available at Topshop; Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Radium, $14, available at Sephora.
Nicole Nail Polish in Brilliant Idea, $7.19, available at Target; Priti Nail Polish in Baby Tears, $12.50, available at Priti NYC.

Blue Period: As a whole, blues are calming and cooling. But this time around, blues get an energetic, turquoise kick reminiscent of tropical oceans and skies. Fun fact: People are more productive in blue rooms, so we’re betting your 10 turquoise nails will be flying across your keyboard in no time.  

Dior Vernis in Nirvana, $21, available at Dior; Milani One Coat Glitter Nail Lacquer in Blue Flash, $4.99, available at Milani Cosmetics.YSL La Laque in Turquoise Blue, $20, available at YSL; Essie Nail Polish in Fair Game, $8, available at Essie.

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