One of my favorite simple pleasures is nail polish. I have an ever-expanding collection: Decade-old bottles of discontinued OPI shades live in a colorful harmony with the latest Essie resort collection and limited-edition Deborah Lippman shades on my salon-worthy lucite display shelf. Ever since my neighborhood ULTA opened in seventh grade (#lifechanging), nail polishes have been my go-to beauty treat (an affordable treat even on a junior-high babysitting income — or an entry-level post-grad income, same difference). In recent years, I have mastered the at-home DIY manicure.
My nails change with the seasons, much like one’s wardrobe. Warmer temps and sunshine means I can finally break out my beloved spring favorites: my bright purples, my spicy orange-reds, my muted seagrass greens. During the past year and a half, I’ve focused a lot on cutting spending and paying off debt, so I’m not the same shopper I used to be — a $400 seasonal wardrobe refresh is not in my budget. But a $10 nail polish? That I can swing. A new nail polish can instantly update your look, and there’s nothing like freshly lacquered fingers to makes you look and feel more polished (#punny). I thought I’d share some favorites I keep going back to year after year.
My Favorite Nail Polish Colors for Spring:
Pinks — a safe place to start. If you’re not adventurous with your nail-color choices, then you likely gravitate toward pink. Take it a step further this spring by choosing some bolder hues in the color family. These are three I love:
1. Come Here! by Essie: I always think of Jenny Lewis yelling “Come here!” in “Portions for Foxes” when I grab this feisty pink-coral lacquer. This shade is my spring-appropriate alternative to the classic red nail. It’s bright and vibrant but less intense than red. The creme finish is easier to apply than some of Essie’s chalky opaque polishes.
2. Hello Pretty by Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure: I used to be a total nail-polish snob and turned up my nose at drugstore-mainstay Sally Hansen — but then I tried it. The Complete Salon Manicure line is perhaps the best all-around nail polish. It’s the most foolproof and user-friendly. No need for a base or top coat. The wide flat brush makes application easy. It goes on thick and dries quickly. There are tons of on-trend colors to choose from, and this Barbie-worthy pink is bright and cheery for a spring mani or pedi.
3. Tart Deco by Essie: I’m sporting Tart Deco in the Instagram picture above. Inspired by the pastel-painted art deco buildings of Miami’s South Beach, the Essie bestseller is a must-have modern coral.
1. Mint Candy Apple by Essie: Mint Candy Apple is Essie’s trademark blue-green mint polish; since mint exploded in popularity a few years back, this bestseller has become a mainstay. I think the playful pastel always feels fresh and fun for spring. I’m wearing Mint Candy Apple in the Instagram picture below; I find that the polish dries bluer than it looks in the bottle.
2. Absolutely Shore by Essie: At first glance in the bottle, this shade almost looks like a white, but it’s actually a pale blue-green. With added layers, it becomes a subdued mint color. For me, this is a modern new neutral that can be worn like a white or pale pink.
3. Style Cartel by Essie: I can’t banish all my dark polishes once spring rolls around. Despite what my other selections might suggest, I love a dark nail in the spring; I think it’s a sexy and chic contrast to the lighter hues in your warm-weather wardrobe. My favorite dark polish for spring is dark inky cobalt, like this Essie lacquer.
Moving along in the color rainbow brings us to the purple family, which boasts two of my all-time favorite spring polishes: one a grown-up grape and the other a chic magenta.
1. Grape Gatsby by Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure: My most-liked Instagram post ever, courtesy of this purple polish. In the ‘gram above, I’m wearing this dreamy, creamy grape color. I love that this shade is in between lavender and plum; it’s neither too light nor too dark.
2. Foot Loose by Essie: This is my springtime version of a berry-hued polish, something I sport often in the fall. Foot Loose is an opaque, vibrant plum-magenta that pops on nails.
Sometimes your spring outfit is bold enough that you need neutral nails to balance out the look. These mainstays work year-round:
1. Blanc by Essie: This opaque white is often used in french manicures, but I love to use it alone on my entire nail for a mod pop of white. This is also great for layering with other polishes, especially more sheer shades; a bottom layer of white helps intensify the color.
2. Romper Room by Essie: A timeless favorite great in any season, this creamy pale pink is a mod take on the classic girly pink nails. The creamy pale pink goes with everything, so it’s a great everyday nail color.
Don’t Forget Top Coat!
What are your favorite nail polish colors for spring?