Disclaimer: We have absolutely nothing (objectively) against the rich, moody, and yes, 100% predictable nail colors of winter collections past, present, and future. In fact, we love them and wear them. We've even gone so far as to gather our favorites into gothically vampy odes to burgundy, black and gold, and even olive green. See? No bias here.
However, we'd be lying if we told you our current winter nail M.O. wasn't craving something a bit fresher, a bit lighter, and a bit, well, less angsty. Luckily for us, it's as if all of our favorite polish brands heard our whispers of frustration and answered with collections of housing the winter nail colors of our dreams—unexpected, pretty, and still seasonal to boot.
Ahead, see 11 of the best nail colors to sport this winter that not only challenge the status quo of bold and Bordeaux but will likely improve your mood in one fell swoop. You know that giddy feeling you get when you catch a glimpse of a just-painted mani? Yeah, these colors will achieve that. And guess what—they pair great with a glass of wine and whatever show you're currently binging on Hulu. Keep scrolling!
Think of this striking shade of steely gray your new bottle of black. It's less intense than your normal hue of jet fuel and is surprisingly striking. Plus it works as an unexpected neutral if you still want something relatively subdued.
We understand. Red isn't necessarily unexpected, per se, but as far as shades of crimson go (especially come winter) this one is. It's shimmery (but not in a tacky way) and almost resembles a quick flick of flame on your tips thanks to a subtle gilded iridesence.
Whenever we wear this velvety copper lacquer we get compliments. People simply need to know what we're wearing, and we're always more than happy to tell. Warm and glamorous, it's like a gulp of the most extra hot chocolate—subtle earthy glints of cayenne and cinnamon included—but for your tips.
Is it silver? Aquamarine? Oddly periwinkle? See, that's the beauty of a well-executed holographic nail polish—it keeps you guessing in all the right ways. Pristinely icy, this is one unexpected winter nail color we want to wear all season long.
A spellbinding member of OPI's enchanting Metamorphosis collection, we've been enamored all season long with this wintry shade-shifting polish which features delicate speckles of prismatic blue glitter set against a snowflake-esque (and iridescent) backdrop of white and purple.
Pink is always a classic, but anything too bright or electric (or nude and precious) feel either a little off for winter or just a little blase. Maryann is a perfect go-between and features a full coverage wash of rose with a glowing hint of ember. It reminds us of a wrapping paper—but the chic kind of wrapping paper we wish our holiday gifts were wrapped in. Not, bless her heart, what grandma chooses at the drugstore.
Winter is one time of year when delicious juicy fares like oranges and persimmons are in full season and bloom—on your nails. A peppy middle ground between red and orange, we're obsessed with Base Coat's long-wearing organic formula in Reef. Plus, if you happen to be one of those people who vacation in tropical places during the cold months of the year, this one will look cozily at home there as well.
Inspired by the galaxy, and a great alternative for those who typically reach for inky shades of purple or navy, this out-of-the-box holiday hue from JinSoon features a crisp navy base with a light-handed dusting of sparkle you'll only notice out of the corner of your eye.
Pure black (or navy or wine) is pretty, mysterious, and drop-dead gorgeous for winter. But you likely have about 10 iterations on the former, the latter, and in between (that's navy, if you lost us there). Therefore, this confetti-sprinkled shade of black acts as the perfect antidote. Sure, NYE might be behind us, but we love the sprinkled shimmer of this moody-but-not-too-moody shade.
While we might normally reach for silvery chrome this time of year, we like the high-shine finish better on a metallic application of gold. It's warm, seasonal, and just showy enough to feel glamorous.
Dubbed a "harmonious taupe crème" by the brand, this tame yet still intriguing shade is part of Julep's Intention Collection and honestly, we can't think of a better way to step into the New Year than topping our tips with this serendipitous winter nail shade. Typically reach for nude? Try opting for this one instead.