Shiny, happy fingers and toes are taking center stage as the hottest accessory for fall. As leaves change color, switch up your nails, too, by experimenting with fun hues from blues and greens to silvers and golds.
“You don't need to buy a new wardrobe to update your look,” says Essie Weingarten, founder of Essie Cosmetics. “Just add a few color staples to your nail color collection and you are good to go.”
First, start with the basics: For the most fashionable and long-lasting shape, file nails into a rounded square and don't keep your nails too long. Begin with a base coat, like ULTA Professional Nail Lacquer in clear, and wait two minutes in between applying each coat. To keep nails hydrated throughout the season, stash cuticle oil in your tool bag. Once your nails are perfectly prepped, the fun begins.
The New Neutrals
Think beyond the same old shades of pink and red, and experiment with go-with-everything colors like brown or taupe for totally on-trend autumn nails. This fall, gray continues to be the chicest neutral on the block. To get the look just right, try Revlon Nail Enamel in Gray Suede and Revlon Top Speed Nail Enamel in Stormy.
Fall's pretty peep-toe stilettos and back-to-the-grind work or school schedule can quickly cause once-perfect nail polish to chip. To withstand wear and tear on fingers and toes, nail polish strips are a fun, non-committal way to experiment with funky fall colors or must-try trends like crackle or checkerboard patterns.
Bold, graphic decals (reflecting the season's color-blocking fashion trend), like Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips in Collide-a-Scope, are easy to apply, save the drying time, and can last a few days longer than regular polish (take it off with your favorite nail polish remover). Plus, the multicolor approach means you'll never have to worry about being too match-matchy.
Glitter and Shine
Manicures are going glam this fall with glitter-infused polishes, like the gorgeous rainbow flecks in ULTA Glitter Salon Formula Nail Lacquer in Pinata-yada. For extra bling, layer it on solo or, for a subtler look, use as a topcoat. For more sparkle with every stroke, try this sparkly blue/purple shade from Sally Hansen High Definition Nail called “DVD.” (Yes, that's a color.)
Feeling inspired by the final space shuttle launch? Orly Nail Lacquer in It's Not Rocket Science looks out of this world with hints of green, gold and space-worthy black. The "new neutral" was seen all over the fall 2011 runways.
If you're not quite ready to go all the way with full-on sparkle, slinky iridescent shades are a clever way to work in the trend. Dazzle, mermaid-style, with the wearable aquatic blue of Nicole by OPI Rich in Spirit or be delicate with the pinkish (with touches of green and gold) shine of Orly Space Cadet, whether it's for a daytime look or sultry nocturnal nails.