Nail art was never going to last, we all knew that.
Oh COME ON, how many pictures of scrunched up claw hands with ombre polish or newspaper prints or American flags or godamn Nintendo characters must we be reduced to on Instagram before we decide enough is enough? Yeah I’ve done it, shoosh. But I don’t do it anymore. It’s not special or exciting or unique if we’re all doing is doing it, is it? This is an industry of swift trends and what’s fun and enchanting this minute almost definitely won’t be in five minutes time. Just ask anyone who swore by at home micro-dermabrasion kits back in 2006. (“Me.”)
Stop! No more! Eat watermelons, don’t paint them on your nails.
Even if nail art hasn’t been officially called, then pass me my official calling skivvy and allow me to don my Calling It cap, for I am calling it. Let’s all cool it with the palm trees and pineapples and glitter tips for a bit.
I’m not entirely making this all up – a recent article in WWD compared nail polish’s meteoric rise back in the “recession” days of 2011, when sales went up 67% for high-end polish brands, and 35.7% for pharmacy brands, to what they are sitting at now, two years later, at 19% a piece. Which, yes, is still pretty good growth, but the boom-boom for polish has definitely gone.
Could be because there are so many brands on the (DIY nail art especially) nail polish bandwagon now, and competition is tough.
Could be a sign that the economy is back on its feet (nail polish, like lipstick sales always increase when there is an economic downturn).
Could be a sign that we are all just really into gel manicures and pedicures now, and traditional nail polish, with all that smudging and chipping, won’t cut it.
Could just be because like most trends, and therefore proving the very definition of the word, this trend is now over and a new one is about to rise.
IF I may be so bold, I would like to suggest that this new “trend” is for a complete and polar opposite to everything nail art is, which is to say, beautiful simple, nude, natural nails. I use “these” around the word “trend” because nude, natural nails are always in. Always.
Daaaamn. Eva Mendes knows how to give good nude nail.
Whether that’s just a lovely nude, natural shade of polish (more on those in a moment) or gel (I use OPI Bubble Bath or CND Romantique) or just healthy polish free nails that are beautifully buffed, neat and shiny, there is something clean and fresh, and refreshing about simple, chic plain nails after a few years of so much colour and movement.
I’m quite partial to a coat of clear and some white pencil under the tip of the nail, you know, like we used to all do back before reality TV shows made the French manicure so incredibly tacky.
HOW TO BE GOOD AT NUDE NAILS
1. Make sure your nails are short, neat and naturally shaped. Naturally shaped, for the record, is usually the most flattering shape for your fingers, because it mirrors the way your cuticle sits at the bottom edge of the nail.
2. Choose the right nude/natural for your skin tone. Think of your nude polish as you would foundation, it has to match your skin tone. Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lopez might both be wearing “nude” polish but oh MY, will the shades they wear differ.
Basically, do your hands look better or worse with that nude polish? If your nude polish makes your hands look dead or sick, or chalky and cold, or dirty, or yellow, or red and raw, or your cuticle is really standing out, then you have chosen the wrong shade. If your hands look lovely, clean and neat, well, you’ve nailed it. Oh, well done Fosters.
Also, there are sheer and opaque nudes, the more sheer you go, the more truly natural you will look, but if you get the perfect shade, opaque can look just as delightful. One coat of sheer with one coat of opaque can give a lovely finish – don’t be bound to one polish per mani.
FAIR /COOL SKIN TONES
Generally you should probably head towards soft, creamy, mauve-based ballet pinks. Try: L’Oreal Colour Riche Nail in How Romantic, Essie in Brooch The Subject or Allure, Deborah Lipmann in Tiny Dancer, Sally Hansen Complete Manicure in Shell We Dance.
WARM SKIN TONES / OLIVE
Something with a hint of peach or beige will be most flattering on us birds. Try: OPI Samoan Sand (my favourite), Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Royal Blush, Chanel Beige, Revlon Colorstay Longwear Enamel in Sandy Nude, Estee Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Nudite (It’s worth checking out the collection, French Nudes, this is from as there is a nude for every skin tone, ready-made, all done, bing bam zap.)
DARKER OR TANNED SKIN TONES
You guys will look best in coffee-coloured hues of nude and tan. Try: OPI Tickle My Francey, Laura Mercier Lacquer in Bare Mocha, Essie Sand of a Beach, Chanel Inattendu, Dior Vernis in Nude Chic or Butter London in Tea and Toast.
3. Maintain with top coat every second day to keep up the shine and prolong the life of your mani. I love Sally Hansen’s Mega Shine. Oh, and definitely steer clear of matte finishes. A high-shine finish ensures your nail stands out and looks healthy, even if the colour is extremely subtle.
4. Consider the toes. I was always a bright orange pedicure bird until a few years ago when I went soft sheer pink while on holiday in Greece. Felt better with my slight tan and leather sandals for some reason. More chic. Cleaner. More elegant. Toes are ugly enough without adding harsh colour, I realised, and I never looked back. Try it and see. But make sure you get the right nude for your skin tone – like I said, toes are ugly enough, they don’t need much assistance to look even more unattractive. But the perfect nude shade to complement your skin, and a neat, short shape – splendid.
Did I forget your favourite nude?
Was it this guy?
Sorry, you know what I mean. Pop your most loved nude polish in comments below with your skin tone and share your wisdom!