This is one instance when being spoiled isn’t a bad thing. And we are spoiled…with a multitude of fun and fabulous choices for our nails. New textures, colors and finishes add panache to everyday polishes—not to mention professional-looking results. Then just sit back and await the compliments. We’ve nailed down the most lavish lacquers sans DBP, toluene and formaldehyde.
After cycling through greiges and mauves, beach tones and pastels are a welcome way to lighten up your lacquer. Julep Nail Vernis has a range of beachy shades including Alicia (shown); Parker, a tangerine crème; and Jessica, a pale blue crème. Scotch Naturals offers pretty pastels in Leprechaun Lynch (shown); Morning Glory Fizz, a heathered lavender crème; and Celtic Mix, a sage green crème.
This product is available on our sister site BeautySage, where we only sell products proven to work!
This year’s crop of striking metallic nail colors are the perfect counterpoint to the neutral tones and matte textures of seasons past. The effect is less frost and more chrome—think gunmetal or gold foil. The five colors in the Essie Mirror Metallics collection contain aluminum pearl coated in silver that gives off a smooth, highly reflective shine. The Butter London metallic lacquers include a diverse range of subtle iridescent greens and blues.
You may have heard rumors that neon nail colors are illegal, but that’s false. These colors aren’t actually banned, the colorants used to create the shades just haven’t been registered with the FDA—a purely technical matter. So those neons lining store shelves may not actually include neon pigments, just really bright ones.
For neons with a touch of sophistication, enlist the help of Deborah Lippmann’s Run the World (Girls) mini lacquer set. They’re punchy without being too Day-Glo or distracting. CND’s Primary and Secondary Colours also offer strong, saturated brights with a glossy finish.
This modern look incorporates tiny pearlescent beads for a textured effect that bridges the line between kooky and cool. Available in three different shades, each has a distinct personality. The rainbow hue is reminiscent of candy sprinkles, the black beads evoke caviar, while the white black beads remind us of bubbly. To achieve, brush on two coats of the base shade and while the second coat is still wet, pour on the caviar beads over top using the small funnel, then shake off the excess. The downside: it has a short lifespan—up to 48 hours. However, you may be able to lengthen the manicure by applying a topcoat all over.
This jagged-glass look gives nails an edgy, graffiti-art feel. What’s surprising is these products contain the same ingredients as a regular nail polish, just in different percentages. Regular nail polishes have a high ratio of film formers but shatter coats contain a lower concentration causing the pigments break up after application, creating the broken glass effect. Apply the coat over dried nail polish and wait three minutes for the desired effect.
Magnetic polishes are a science experiment in a bottle. Apply a generous coat of nail polish then place the magnet (located in the cap) over the nail bed and as the polish dries the iron powder in the formula migrates into a fishnet or wave pattern. The end result is a glamorous and sparkly appearance that looks textured but is actually flat to the touch.
You can create a rock-hard, chip-resistant gel mani or pedi in five minutes with this DIY kit that includes an activator, a gel color and a brush cleaner. Unlike the salon treatment, this one doesn’t require a UV light. First apply the activator then brush the gel color over top; in minutes, the combination fuses together and sets. Removing this stuff takes more than elbow grease; make sure to pick up an acetone polish remover.
There’s no drying time involved with these nail polish decals, so they’re best suited to those who always manage to nick a fresh manicure moments after walking out of the salon. Simply peel off the backing, stick on your nails, smooth down and file off the excess; they come clean with a regular nail polish remover. Press-on decals are fuss-free way to experiment with nail art; 16 out of the 24 color options available have patterns like herringbone, lace, and snakeskin. Or add some bling to a favorite shade with a Kiss Nail Dress strips.
Sweep Sephora’s 18-karat gold topcoat on top of any polish shade to bling it up with flecks of real gold. It gives nail polish a chic glimmering finish (especially when used over top of a dark shade like black). Zoya’s Fleck Effects topcoat has a holographic, 3-D effect courtesy of its two-toned mylar flakes.