Beyond Pink Polish: A Rainbow of Nail Colors

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Beyond Pink Polish: A Rainbow of Nail Colors
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Stop into any nail salon and chances are you’ll see enough shades of red and pink polish to cover the rosy spectrum. These hues are nice, reliable, and let’s admit it—safe. Dare to explore beyond your usual nail polish colors to freshen up your fingers and toes. From vivid neon yellow to soft baby blue, there really is a rainbow of polish at your disposal. So what are you waiting for?

Lights: How-To
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Lights: How-To

To get perfectly-painted nails in a light or pastel polish, make sure your nails are thoroughly cleaned and any old polish or dirt is removed. Lighter shades show cracks and discoloration easily, so start by giving yourself the best canvas possible. Once nails are cleaned and well-shaped, apply a clear base coat and let dry. Then paint on two coats of your light polish, waiting for each coat to dry in between applications. If the polish appears streaked or too translucent, you may need a third coat. Lock in your color with a clear top coat.

Lights: White
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Lights: White

If you’re a fan of soft polish colors such as light pink, then try a white polish on for size. White goes with everything, so you don’t have to worry about your polish clashing with your outfit or jewelry. Just be careful to avoid chips or cracks, as they’re very visible with white. Look for shades that are matte, avoiding anything with “pearl” in the name; these shades are iridescent and will have a clear, sparkly finish rather than the desired pure white.

Lights: Baby Blue
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Lights: Baby Blue

Light blue nail polish is a winning color for all seasons, whether you want to channel a clear summer sky or an icy winter wonderland. It’s casual and relaxed, perfect for a lazy afternoon with friends. Different shades of light blue include: baby blue, sky blue, pastel blue and robin’s egg. Keep those names in mind when seeking out a polish.

Lights: Pastel Purple
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Lights: Pastel Purple

If you love flowers, then a light purple nail polish will work for you. Look for shades that incorporate floral-inspired names, like lilac, lavender and periwinkle. A soft shade of purple is a sweet alternative for ladies who usually opt for light pink polishes and is appropriate for any springtime event, like an outdoor wedding or afternoon brunch.

Brights: How-To
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Brights: How-To

Bright nails can pull an outfit together if you borrow colors from accessories and clothing patterns. Alternatively, paint your digits with a noticeable shade to contrast a dark or monochrome outfit. To get the perfect bright polish look, start by shaping and shortening clean nails with a nail file; bright colors draw attention, so you want to avoid unkempt nail shapes. Paint on a layer of clear base coat. When dry, apply your color, starting near the cuticle. If the polish looks streaky or inconsistent, add a second coat. Finish off with a clear top coat.

Brights: Blue
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Brights: Blue

Opposites attract, and blue nails are no exception. They look awesome paired against reds and pinks, so consider this hue as a complement to your favorite little red dress. Shades that fit the bill for bright blue include steel blue, peacock, topaz, cobalt and cerulean, so look for polishes that incorporate those names. This is a color that complements all skin tones; there’s no reason not to try it!

Brights: Neon Yellow
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Brights: Neon Yellow

When the temperature starts creeping up, neon starts making its appearance, from the red carpet to the beach. Want to embrace the trend but too timid to don a pair of neon shorts? Try out neon yellow nails for a sunny look. Just go easy on the rest of the colors in your outfit, as any shade of neon is very striking and runs the risk of being too overwhelming when paired with other vibrant colors.

Brights: Orange
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Brights: Orange

Orange polish is a fun and flirty alternative to red nail polish. It works great to dress up neutral tones like cream and brown, but it can also be worn with blue and green for a spunky look. Orange looks especially good on ladies with darker complexions. Shades of salmon, tangerine, coral and mandarin are all bright oranges.

Brights: Green
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Brights: Green

Green is another stand-out shade of nail polish that anyone can wear successfully. It conjures up images of tall trees and soft grass, making it ideal for a casual event outdoors. However a bright shade worn against white or black can add instant glam to an outfit, so don’t be shy to try it for a night out, too. Look for green polish in shades like emerald, sea green, kelly green and jade.

Brights: Aqua
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Brights: Aqua

Blue nails or green nails—which to pick?! If you can’t decide between the two, then opt for aqua! Aqua polish is a fun and sexy choice that looks brilliant paired with silver accessories. Its vivid color is reminiscent of the ocean waves, making it a summer polish. Similar shades are turquoise, aquamarine and teal.

Brights: Purple
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Brights: Purple

Bored with pink but still in the mood for a flirty and feminine polish? Then look no further—purple is the hue for you! Bright purple nail polish works for all skin tones, but it looks particularly nice on ladies with fair complexions; the rich shade pops against light skin. Shop for nail polishes in shades like violet, grape and plum.

Darks: How-To
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Darks: How-To

Dark nails are sexy, mysterious and perfect for the colder months. Before you start painting, trim and shape your nails to your desired length. Then apply a base coat to avoid staining and discoloration; dark polishes can take their toll on your nails if you wear them too much. One coat of your chosen dark polish should do the trick, but if it looks too thin, then apply another coat. Wait for the polish to try and finish with a top coat. Clean up any mistakes or drips with a Q-tip soaked in nail polish remover.

Darks: Brown
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Darks: Brown

The color brown is often associated with the boring and mundane, but you’d be surprised at how rich the right shade could look on your nails. It’s an ideal color for autumn as it lends itself to the changing foliage and themes of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Look for nail polishes in shades like russet, chestnut, chocolate and sienna.

Darks: Gray
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Darks: Gray

Are you looking for a neutral nail polish in a dark hue but want to avoid the harshness of black? Try your hand at gray polish. Gray is universally flattering and will pair well with most items in your wardrobe. Different shades of dark gray include: slate gray, steel gray, granite, charcoal and ash gray. Keep those names in mind when seeking out a polish.

Metallics: How-To
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Metallics: How-To

Metallic nails add glam to any look, making them great for a big night. But metallic polish can be difficult to apply, so you’ve got to have patience when painting on a shiny shade. First, start with clean, dry nails that are shaped and cut to your ideal length. Add a clear base coat to prime the nails and fill in any cracks. Then paint on your metallic polish in long, consistent strokes. You might have to do multiple coats to avoid streaks. Once the last coat of metallic is dry, lock in the color with a clear top coat.

Metallics: Gold
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Metallics: Gold

Gold nail polish conjures up images of sophistication and elegance. But be careful to wear it correctly! If your nails are too long or unkempt, they can look more trashy than classy. Balance gold nails with minimal jewelry around the fingers and wrists to avoid looking overdone, and consider wearing a solid dark outfit as a backdrop to make your nails shine.

Metallics: Silver
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Metallics: Silver

Silver nail polish is playful and pairs well with most other colors. Like gold nail polish, it is an attention-grabber, so prep your nails well before trying out a silver nail polish, taking care to properly file and shape them. Silver is a great complement to colorful jewelry, so consider it next time you’re wearing your favorite jewel earrings.

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