When it comes to winter fashion and beauty palettes, the colors often veer darker and moodier, and fittingly enough, they tend to be the coolest (in terms of tones) colors we wear all year. While some shades—like burgundy, navy, emerald, and silver—are classic go-tos for the colder months of the year, it’s important to remember that there are always ways to switch things up. After all, according to celebrity manicurist Gina Edwards, that’s the science of anchor colors. “The top trending winter nail colors are anchor core colors, just brighter, deeper, or lighter,” she says. “It’s their twist on the expected winter hues that make them unique.”
With that in mind, keep reading to discover the top trending nail colors for winter, according to Edwards and fellow celebrity manicurists, Betina Goldstein, Brittney Boyce, and Deborah Lippmann.
Meet the Expert
- Gina Edwards is a celebrity manicurist and KISS products brand ambassador.
- Betina Goldstein is a celebrity manicurist, Chanel Nail artist, and founder of Doublemoss Jewelry.
- Brittney Boyce is a celebrity nail artist and founder of Nails of LA.
- Deborah Lippmann is a celebrity manicurist and founder of Deborah Lippmann nail products.
Not quite pink, but not quite berry, mauve is the perfect in-between shade, according to Edwards. Her favorite? Deborah Lippmann’s Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish in the shade Sweet Emotion.
Forget about classic, shimmery silver—Goldstein says that high-shine chrome is the way to go for winter. The bright hue is bolder than your typical silver, giving it an unexpected allure. If you are looking for more shimmery inspo, check out our snowflakes design roundup.
When blue is so light and moody that it almost looks gray, Edwards says that’s when you know you have a hue worthy of winter wear. After all, she predicts that blue-meets-gray shades will be a major request this winter. While Dior's Dior Vernis in the shade Junon is her go-to, if you prefer a bit more pizzazz, you can embrace the shade while also achieving the season's velvet nail trend by using Live Love Polish's Metallic Nail Polish in Frozen Mist.
Goldstein says that rich, warm mocha hues will be major this winter, as well. While the season is known for its low temperatures, a warm mocha tint will help create a hot look worthy of the season.
Deep English Green
Goldstein says rich, dark green hues are always welcome in winter. Deep English green adds a slightly retro allure to the pine-tinted color. We don't know about you, but we're getting old-green-leather-meets-green-glass-lamp vibes—in other words, a scholarly feel that may very well become a staple in TikTok's land of dark academia.
Classic Cherry Red
You might think of cherry red around Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, but according to Edwards, it’s the unexpected nature of the classic shade that makes it so worthwhile in winter, too. One of our favorite takes on the hue? Smith & Cult's Kundalini Hustle. The shade is a cult-favorite, and for good reason: It touts an 8-free formula that's good for your nails and bound to last for days on end.
Another color reappearing from years past? Mustard yellow. Goldstein believes the ‘70s-inspired hue will be a go-to this year. Glam & Grace's version of the hue is a particular favorite thanks to its vegan, 10-free formula.
Hot pink is another hue that you might believe is best suited for summer, but according to Goldstein, the bright fuchsia shade is a must for winter. And, it makes sense considering the color has been popping up in retailers near and far. From Anthropologie and Rothy's to Free People and H&M, you can expect to find plenty of garments and accessories to match your new favorite mani.
Taking a break from winter's typical ultra-dark, semi-brown shades, Goldstein says that sandstone orange, which is similar to terracotta, will dominate winter nail trends. And, it’s making us realize that maybe, just maybe, this winter more than ever, we’re wishing for warmer, brighter days ahead.
(Fun fact: If you're not the most patient nail painter, know that Essie's fast-drying Expressie nail color in Bolt and Be Bold will help you achieve the look in record time.)
Around the holidays, jewel tones are always a crowd-pleaser. The ones that may first come to mind are ruby, emerald, or lapis, but trusty (and underrated) turquoise helps your tips pop.
Even if you are spending the holidays some place steamy, a few swipes of a creamy white polish (we love the Gucci Glossy Nail Polish in Winterset Snow) makes you feel like you're watching the first snow. The number one fashion rule is that fashion rules do not matter, so consider this your pass to wear white after Labor Day. Something about frosted window panes makes frosted tips feel right.
No shade to intricate nail art, but sometimes a solid swipe is all you need. When a hue is as pretty as this one, there is no need to add anything extra. This deep raspberry color pops against any skin tone and is bound to garner compliments. For a close match, try the Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Vibration.
You may not have time to deck the halls, but you can decorate your nails. If you are entering your Bejeweled era (IYKYK), consider rocking a shimmer this holiday season. This subtle statement is reminiscent of glittering ornaments, shimmering garland, and of course, mistletoe. Try swiping on the Essie Head to Toe Mistletoe for a statement nail.
Please note: Applying shimmers can be tricky. Check out some tips on how to here.
Scarlet reds and emerald greens are obvious choices around December, but we recommend going for a more unexpected choice this chilly season. This faded lavender looks just as festive without the cliche. Wear this shade all over your nail or spice things up by doing a modern French tip.
Expect to see tons of gold-tinged manicures all over your social feeds this season, as gold foil is the latest nail accent that will dominate in the coming months, says Boyce. “Gold is having a moment this winter,” she tells us, adding that the versatile trend can be pulled off with everything from simple foil accents to raw French tips.
As Boyce explains it, “People love motifs, whether it’s something personal or something ‘90s-inspired.” She predicts that the ‘90s takeover will continue this winter, with some of the decade’s most notable symbols (think: evil eyes, Nirvana-inspired happy faces, and aliens) popping up on manis everywhere.
“You’ll see them incorporated somehow, either with hand-painted nail art or with nail decals and nail wraps,” says Boyce, noting that some of her celebrity clients like Madonna and Travis Barker have already adopted the trend.
New Year’s Eve might have come and gone, but we’re still seeing tons of low-key sparkle looks everywhere this season. “Accenting nails with a glitter or shimmer is a fun yet subtle way to elevate your manicure without saying too much,” says Lippmann.
Our favorite takes on the trend involve just a coat or two of a sheer shimmer polish for an effortless effect.
According to Boyce, nail artists will be taking a cue from art icons like Monet and Van Gogh this winter. “Impressionism seems likely to trend as nail artists focus on brush strokes, colors, and lighting over lines and contours,” she explains. "I think nail artists will be experimenting with different techniques, textures, and finishes."
Since Pinterest predicted that Pearlcore will be one of 2022’s biggest style trends, it only makes sense that there’s a matching manicure to go with it. Stick-on pearl accents are one of the easiest ways to take the classic French mani to the next level. Plus, the versatile look will go with just about every possible outfit in your wardrobe.
Yes, a timeless red manicure is always in vogue, but Lippmann says the shade is particularly suited for the winter months. “As a warm and dynamic color, red is known to be energetic and exciting while also passionate—all traits that lift your spirits,” she explains.
Instead of the festive reds you might’ve reached for during the holidays, Lippmann recommends opting for a deeper, moodier hue like her Gel Lab Pro She’s A Rebel ($20) shade to fit the season.
If you’re looking to start off the year with a low-maintenance style, the extreme minimalism nail trend is the simplest way to look polished without the effort. “I think as creative and bold as nail art is going to be in 2022, there’s also a push for extreme minimalism,” Boyce tells us. “Just very clean nails in a natural shape in either a sheer neutral that looks really glossy and shiny, or in a ‘new neutral’ shade.”
Short nail fans, rejoice: Boyce says that as a result of the pandemic, many of her clients have been requesting short, rounded-square (or squoval) shapes recently. “Because of the current surge, a lot of people are going back to natural nails,” she explains.
“When nails are short, they look good with round tips,” adds Boyce. “Plus, it grows out nicely and can easily be shaped into ovals.” Lippmann agrees that 2022 is the year of the natural mani shape. “I always recommend finding the nail shape that is best suited for your hand which can be done very easily by properly pushing back your cuticles and mirroring the shape of the tip of your nails,” she shares. “This gives you the most natural, elongated nail.”
Very Peri Nails
“I’m really excited about the periwinkle trend inspired by the new Pantone Color of 2022, Very Peri,” Lippmann tells us. You can opt for subtle accents, or go for a full periwinkle look that will both boost your mood and take you right into spring.
To get the look at home, Lippmann suggests using her Gel Lab Pro Polish in the shades Young, Wild & Free ($20) and I Put A Spell On You ($20). “Also, using a good base coat and topcoat will never go out of style and will help preserve your manicure,” she notes. Lippmann recommends starting your DIY mani with a base coat of Hard Rock ($20), a protein-rich nail strengthener, and topping it off with a coat of High and Dry ($20) for a high-shine finish.
To balance out our winter blues, Boyce predicts that a bright, attention-grabbing version of the shade will be highly requested in the coming months. “The blue that’ll trend in 2022 is the kind that catches your eyes, that’s bold and rich and statement making,” she says.
As for which mood-boosting hue she’ll be reaching for this winter, Boyce recommends Orly’s It's Brittney, Beach ($10), a bright cobalt blue that she actually conceptualized and had named after her. “It looks great as an all-over color or used for geometric color-blocking nail art or french tips,” she says.
While coffin and stiletto-shaped nails were all the rage in 2021, Boyce says that the tides are changing for 2022. “Most of my clients are still asking for long, natural-looking oval shapes,” she says. “It’s very classic, it elongates the nails, and looks great with either a minimal nail polish, a simple French tip, or a more involved nail art.”
Plus, she adds, oval shapes are universally flattering, no matter what your natural nail shape or width is. “For example, some people’s nails are on the wider side and a stiletto shape doesn’t taper quite as naturally,” says Boyce.