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."
"It makes me feel polished, but the cool tone of the pink, mixed with an almond nail shape feels modern," says Barthole.
Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Sheer Fantasy
Alexa Buckley, Co-Founder of Margaux: "To me, this is the perfect shade of sheer. It feels natural, effortless, and lasts a lifetime."
Olive and June Nail Polish in Megababe Blue
Essie Nail Polish in Clambake
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
"It's summertime in N.Y.C.—a little color never hurts anyone!" adds Evelyn.
Olive and June Nail Polish in EC
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."
"I've been reaching for Morgan Taylor's holographic glitter polishes lately, which are basically a smile in a bottle."
Essie Nail Polish in Sugar Daddy
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."
In addition to shape-shifting from purple to green to gold, this polish is also vegan and cruelty-free.