Sure, your hands spend most of their time inside gloves or coat pockets during the winter months, but that doesn’t negate the joy of having a little color on your fingertips. When the mittens come off, nothing makes holding a cup of hot coffee look quite as cool as a mani with winter nail colors — whether dark and bold, bright and cheerful, or simple and sheer.
Although classic, deep shades, like Essie Bordeaux or OPI Lincoln Park After Dark come to mind when we think of wintertime, there really are no rules with seasonal nail shades anymore. With old ‘90s favorites returning faster than we can keep up and shimmer on the rise, anything goes. When it comes to nails, there’s only one single (very important) rule to abide by: Wear shades that make you happy.
Here, you’ll find the best nail polishes to wear all winter, according to some of the best nail pros in the business. There’s something for everyone and every skin tone: shades inspired by seasonal phenomena, sweet treats, and the celebrations that warm our hearts when it’s cold outside.
Meet the experts:
One of the best things about the chilly months is welcoming tones that are just as cool. For Sadie Jordan, a nail artist based in London, that means reaching for light blues to transform her fingertips. If you can’t decide on which shade to go for, try a color-changing formula like LeChat’s Angelic Dreams. “It goes from white when warm to a nice blue tone when cold,” explains Syreeta Aaron, Alabama-based nail artist and LeChat educator. Allure editors love this one because of how dramatic the color change is when we’re in the coldest months of the year.
We’re welcoming sage — a color that is usually associated with autumn — to stay a little longer. “My clients are embracing cooler, softer colors, and sage is perfect for that,” Yan Tee, a nail artist based in Manchester, England, explains. She notes that it’s a great shade if you’re someone who prefers to move away from typical winter colors and stick to earthy tones. For the holiday season, you could add a quick glitter topcoat to transform the look into something a little more festive.
Sure, winter can be dreary, but that doesn’t mean your nails have to be. Our experts love shimmering shades for the season, as glitter adds a little magic to even the most neutral tones. “After all, what would party season be without some sparkle?” says Keely Decosta, a luxury manicurist based in Liverpool, England.