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Our calendars say we’re in the thick of winter, but the beauty industry has its sights (and hearts) set on spring. The change in seasons brings a much-needed refresh to our looks, with a shift towards vibrant makeup that starkly contrasts from the moody, cozy palettes we often gravitate towards in the colder months. For spring ’22, we’re also looking forward to seeing this shakeup with the best nail colors.
Unlike in seasons past when electric hues and pretty pastels dominated the nail polish category, the biggest trends for spring ’22 mani-pedis include subtle pops of color as well as low-maintenance nudes. According to Bellacures’ nail technician Savanna Galvan, any low-key nail look that’s currently in style was likely inspired by our time in quarantine, when comfort and convenience trumped glamour. “The biggest trends we expect to see this spring all play with light colors and continue to follow the more natural and nude hues that we saw last year coming out of lockdown” Galvan tells WWD.
Top trending spring nail colors for 2022
Neutrals With a Hint of Shimmer: Stick with a simple earth-toned polish and you’ll be considered on-trend, but for anyone who craves a little more pizzazz, Galvan recommends adding a coat of your favorite sparkle or shimmer polish atop a neutral base.
A Twist on French Tips: What Galvan dubs the “unexpected French” is expected to be a popular design for 2022 because it’s delicate, classic and perfect for any work environment or social situation. “This spring, we’re expecting the French manicure to evolve by bringing in more color, either in mild pastels or gradations — we suggest with green or blue hues,” she says. “If a French tip goes garish, it’s not quite a French tip anymore, so there’s a fine line to walk here.”
Glitzy Accents: An emphasis on fun enhancements like pearls and sequins is also being forecasted as one of the top trends in spring nail designs (so those of us with shaky hands can take a breath). Celebrity manicurist and author of the “Nail Art Design Book” Julie Kandalec says she expects an uptick in the Russian style of nail enhancements, which includes the opalescent embedding of sequins under gel manicures.
Keep in mind your nails can be as much of an accessory as jewelry; it’s just a matter of figuring out what nail color/design is going to complement your ensemble. For example, if you’re wearing a pastel pink blouse or dress, Kandalec recommends choosing a nail polish color that is one shade deeper than that of your garment. This ensures your look stays within the same color family, however the deep shade will add a slightly sexy contrast that not only pops but also offers “more depth to your outfit,” Kandalec notes.
Additionally, adding length to your nails can give your style a simple, elegant touch. You can make this happen with nail enhancements, Galvan says, mentioning that any design, be it floral nail stickers or a colorful take on a traditional look (i.e. a French manicure), can also bring your outfit to life.
How to choose the right nail polish for your skin tone
“Darker tones have traditionally worked great with bright pops of color for a beautiful contrast, while both bold and neutrals and warmer tones complement fairer skin tones,” Kandalec says, before quickly adding that today, anything goes. “Whatever color you choose, the most important thing is to wear it with confidence,” she says. “A solid manicure done right (including cuticle work, polish application, shaping and glossing and a top coat to finish) needs nothing else.”
If you’re going for a nude shade, its best to match the polish color to your skin undertones, just like you would when choosing a foundation or eyeshadow. “For cool-toned skin, you’ll want to focus on colors with pink, red or bluish notes,” Galvan says. “Warmer-toned folks should lean towards yellow, peachy or golden colors. This is essential when picking a nude — what’s nude to me, isn’t nude to you, so make sure you’re picking a color you feel fits you.”
Considering all this, we rounded up the 20 best nail polish colors to try this spring. Keep scrolling to find your perfect match.
Dior Vernis Longwear Gel Effect Nail Polish in 331 Mineral Peach
Peach for spring is almost as groundbreaking as floral patterns and prints for the season, but we love it regardless. Dior’s soft hue offers the perfect blend of orange and pink undertones. It’s a universal shade flattering for all skin tones and appropriate for office and off-duty wear.
Anise Vegan Pure in Tea Cakes
Selecting just one of Vegan Pure’s pretty spring nail colors to include on this list was a challenge. There are so many precious polishes to choose from in the brand’s collection (Bath Petals and Mermaid Water are also personal favorites), but Tea Cakes takes, well, the cake. The dusty pink color is an especially gorgeous hue for the season, plus the formula is fast-drying; it takes mere seconds for the 20-free, glossy polish to harden.
Dear Sundays in L.05
Pastels should be a staple in your stockpile of spring nail polish, including this blue lavender colorway from Dear Sundays. The formula is non-toxic, cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, 10-free and applies with a creamy pigment that only calls for two coats. It looks beautiful worn solo, but we also love the idea of adding it to the tip of a French mani for an unexpected pop of color.
Essie Nail Polish in Stretch Your Wings
Essie secured itself as one of the best brands for pink nail polish when it released Ballet Slippers to the market back in 1982 (even Queen Elizabeth is a fan), and while we’d highly recommend adding that hue to your collection if you haven’t already, Stretch Your Wings is another good spring nail color to have in your rotation. The pastel pigment contains lilac undertones, resulting in the kind of vibrant shade you’d look for in a seasonal bouquet. The finish is dreamy and muted, making it a gorgeous option to wear to any spring wedding on your calendar.
JinSoon Nail Polish in Tweety
Another pastel for your polish collection is JinSoon’s Tweety, a vibrant yellow hue inspired by the famous cartoon canary. Also taking notes from Forsythia flowers, the color is meant to inspire feelings of hope and happiness with each wear, so keep it handy on days full of spring showers and overcast skies. Of course, everyone can rock this bright hue, but we think it’s safe to say it’s one of the best spring nail colors for darker skin tones.
Dipwell Jelly Collection in JL01
While not a traditional polish per se, this sheer dip powder from Dipwell’s Jelly Collection is the quintessential spring shade for anyone who gravitates towards a your-nails-but-better aesthetic. A far cry from traditional nude and shimmer polishes, JL01 is a clear jelly glitter comprised of fine silver grains suspended in clear jelly. Apply it to naked tips for a simple but sweet enhancement or atop another spring color to add some dimension.
Essie in Beleaf in Yourself
Matte nudes (nudes and earth tones with a matte finish) will have a moment this season, and Essie’s pale sage green polish is one of Galvan’s favorites for spring ’22. Beleaf in Yourself boasts white undertones, lightening up the hue, and a creamy finish Essie stans will be familiar with. However, because this particular shade naturally dries glossy, you may want to add on a matte top coat to dull the shine.
O.P.I. Nail Lacquer in That’s Hula-rious!
Galvan is clearly feeling green for spring, as O.P.I.’s That’s Hula-rious nail lacquer also comes highly recommended by the artist. “This pastel green is a great way to add an unexpected pop of color to any spring outfit,” Galvan tells WWD. The pale hue is giving us beach vacation vibes for spring break or a weekend retreat.
Ten Over Ten Nail Polish in Spring
What’s in a name? In this nail polish’s case, everything. Ten Over Ten’s aptly named Spring shade makes for a vibrant mani and a very fun spring toenail color for 2022. Described as both a “salmon pink” and “sun-kissed coral,” it’s bright but not overbearing. You’ll want to keep this hue on deck for the duration of spring and summer for a subtle pop of color.
Olive and June Nail Polish in WKF
Olive and June has generated quite the following since its launch in 2013, and for good reason. The label’s salon-quality formulas are built to last with a gel-like finish that easily comes off with regular nail polish remover. A color from the collection that exudes spring vibes is WKF. Named for beauty influencer Katie Moser, it’s a cool mossy green that delivers a surprising, untraditional pop of color. In addition to being seven-free, the polish is also universally flattering for all skin tones.
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in 917 Terra Rossa
This roundup of trending nail colors for spring ’22 wouldn’t be complete without Chanel’s Terra Rose hue. From the brand’s spring line, the long-wearing formula brings a lot of shine to your tips, so while it’s a gorgeous shade to wear solo, you could also add on a mattefying top coat to dial back the color’s sheen. Or, use the lacquer to create a reverse-French mani on naked nail beds.
Pacifica Plant Magic Polish in Tangerine Pop
Another citrus shade for your springtime collection is Tangerine Pop by Pacifica, a plant-based nail polish formula that’s 16-free and sourced from vegetable biomass. Offering a vibrant, high-shine finish, this shade is like sunbeams on the first warm afternoon following a long, cold winter. Make this hue the highlight of your mani for when you want your tips to stand out this festival season.
Emilie Heathe Nail Artist Polish in Liquid Assets
Another nail trend that’s hot for spring ’22? Healthy tips. Emilie Heathe’s 10-free formula will help you get there, complete with silica-swarming bamboo, vitamin-rich sea buckthorn oil and fatty acids galore to keep your mani long-lasting and resilient to breakage. Liquid Assets is a stunning shade for spring (and really, year-round) as it delivers stunning color payoff and a load of shimmer. Our advice: Save this bottle for special occasions.
Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Color in Galaxy Far Far Away
Inspired by all things intergalactic, Deborah Lippmann’s latest addition to her Gel Lab Pro collection is an out-of-this-world turquoise with silver shimmers swirling throughout. For a striking pedicure, this writer would use the shade on her toes for early-season boardwalk strolls and dancing the day away at Coachella. And as if the polish’s funky color wasn’t enough of a sell, its formulation makes the purchase worthwhile. It’s a healthy cocktail of evening primrose and biotin, keratin, green tea extract and more nail-loving ingredients to naturally strengthen your tips.
Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Midnight in Madrid
Spring might translate to color palettes saturated in pastels, pretty nudes and vibrant hues, but for those of us who like to have a moody shade handy, Midnight in Madrid from Smith & Cult fits the bill. Described as an “opaque ink plum,” the shade, inspired by a city veiled in shadow, meets the standards of the dark academia aesthetic (and also doubles as a great winter nail color when the season rolls around again). For anyone heading back to school or the office, meet your new staple hue.
Mac Nail Lacquer Aute Cuture Starring Rosalia in Chocolate Amargo
If you’ve never tried Mac’s nail lacquer, you’re missing out. We especially love the brand’s neutral brown hue for spring ’22 and every season thereafter. A pretty nude for those with light brown skin tones, the high-gloss formula is creamy, pearlescent and metallic all at once.
Pear Nova Classic Lacquer in Michelle Our Mama
The perfect nude for dark skin tones? Enter: Michelle Our Mama, courtesy of Black-owned company Pear Nova. The color is, indeed, a tribute to our former First Lady, and users flocked to the comment section of its product page to sing its praises. “It’s a great nude for Black women,” one commenter wrote. “I wanted a nude for my medium honey-toned complexion; Michelle Our Mama is the perfect tone!” another mentioned.
Zoya Nail Polish in Evan
This writer is a fan of all things Zoya, and the shade Evan from the brand’s Naturel Transitional 2022 collection is no exception. The pigmentation of the brown hue is pristine, reminiscent of cups of chocolate milk. Two coats enrich the color payoff, adding up to a cozy, cool-toned polish for those still-chilly spring afternoons.
Lights Lacquer The Tortoise Set
Why choose one polish when you can score four? Kandalec says tortoise nail art is majorly trending, but because it’s notoriously difficult to master without the proper colors, an all-in-one set can be great for beginners. Aptly dubbed “The Tortoise Set,” the kit from Lights Lacquer is comprised of four caramel-toned hues (each named after the four Ninja Turtles) that together can create a multi-dimensional tortoise shell design.
Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer in Taupe of the Morning
Dazzle Dry’s Taupe of the Morning comes recommended by Galvan as one of the best spring nail colors for pale or cool-toned skin. Still, it’s one of those easy-to-wear shades because it’s neutral and goes with everything, so we think anyone should sample it. Plus, the formula is non-toxic, quick-drying and long-wearing, promising up to two weeks of chip-free wear.