8 Trending Winter Nail Colors, According to Top Nail Salons

nail polish bottle

It's no secret our signature winter nail colors veer vampy. We've already professed our love for burgundy and which colors we'd be sporting for fall. But we're always in need of some fresh, festive inspiration. So we thought we'd ask three experts in the nail industry a question: What nail colors should we be gravitating toward in the winter?

From frosty shades of blue to rich shades of emerald (and so many in between), these are the top eight winter nail colors on experts' radar. Of course, the sky is the limit as far as your digits go, and you need not feel confined to these winter nail colors and these winter nail colors alone, but a little help from the industry's best never hurt anyone, right? Keep reading for their predictions and some stealthy application tips to boot!

1. Cherry Red

jin soon - coquette
Jin Soon Nail Polish in Coquette $18

A far cry from burgundy (though we still love it), a bright pop of cherry in the winter is a vibrant and unexpected antidote for the clouds and cold. Plus, it's one of the shades industry-leading nail artist and creator of Jinsoon Jin Soon Choi selected as a top recommendation.

2. Midnight Purple

base coat - henna luna
Base Coat Nail Polish in Henna Luna $20

"Everyone tends to go a bit darker with their nail color for the winter, so I think we'll see a lot of deep colors like blues, purples, reds, and greens," says general manager of Base Coat Nail Salon and celebrity manicurist, Shelly Hill. "They're the perfect shades for that winter look, and they are also on trend! My personal favorites right now are Base Coat's Nail Polish in Gravity (this shade has been discontinued—we recommend Base Coat Nail Polish in Soot, $20 as a replacement) and Henna Luna." Plus, she also has some tips when shopping for your polish if you're looking for a nontoxic option: "I recommend any nail polishes five-free and beyond (Base Coat is eight-free), as we are now more than ever cautious about what we use on our bodies."

And in case you're curious what that lingo means, five- or eight-free means a nail polish is free of five or eight of the most toxic chemicals used in nail polish  

3. Frosted Blue

CND Vinylux Weekly Nail Polish in Creekside $11

"A little pop of color in the winter months makes it a little less dreary," says founder of Olive & June, Sarah Gibson Tuttle. Her favorite: This brilliant robin's egg blue tone from CND. (However, she also shares that OPI's Nail Lacquer in Russian Navy, $8, and Essie's Nail Polish in Butler Please, $8, are other popular client picks.)

4. Spruce Green

Nail Polish
Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Darjeeling Darling $18

Holly, velvet, satin-trimmed wreaths—some of our favorite things in the winter are emerald-esque hues of green, so when Hill told us the shade range would definitely be a trend for winter nail color, we were quick to fall. This one from Smith & Cult hits the right note and also boasts a luxuriously smooth application and eye-catching glossy finish. 

5. Rose-Gold Satin

Jinsoon Nail Polish in Spiffy $18

Metallics are always en vogue but come the holidays (and party upon party), they're especially appropriate. Choi's pick? A dazzling shade of rose gold inspired by the flapper era of the 1920s.

Since it's hard to have a perfectly clean nail polish line right below the cuticle, keep your nail bed perpendicular to the brush while applying the polish. Also, be sure to frequently retouch the tip of the nail for a long-lasting application.

6. Burnt Crimson

Essie Nail Polish in Playing Koi $10

According to Choi, a bold shade of burnt or brick red is one of her personal preferences when it comes to signature winter nail color. Jinsoon makes a dreamy version entitled Idyll ($18) and we're also obsessed with this high-shine option from Essie. 

7. Sapphire Steel

Zoya Nail Polish in Natty $19

A steely, nocturnal shade of blue is on par with all three of our experts' winter polish suggestions. Plus, it's a tad less expected than your go-to shades of navy or cobalt.

For an expert-approved application, first, use a 240 grit to lightly buff off any dead skin around the cuticle and then take a cotton pad with a 70% alcohol solution to wipe the nails clean for better adhesion. Finish with a base coat as this helps the polish adhere and also will help prevent staining of the nail.

8. Toned Taupe

'Minnie' Travel Ballet Flat
Deborah Lippmann Nail Color in Fashion $20

In addition to the standard dark shades and reds this season, Choi foresees "toned-down nudes" as a popular and on-trend choice for winter. This one by Deborah Lippmann or Jinsoon's Nail Polish in Milieu ($18)—one of Choi's favorties—are both flattering options. 

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