2012's Most Swoon-Worthy Nail Polish Trends

Buckle up kids — this season's nail polishes are making their big debut and they’re the raddest of the rad. We were having a hard time choosing between all of these fresh new nail trends, so we asked some of our fave nail pros to break it down for us. Here, they share their top polish picks for the shades that are going to be everywhere this spring. We apologize to your wallet in advance: You’re not going to be able to resist stocking up on these cool colors.
"2012 is all about the color green," says Essie founder Essie Weingarten. "There’s something really special about it, so you’re going to see a lot of it." Unlike last season, where we saw tons of hunter hues, spring's iteration is pretty pistachio. Look for polishes that have creamy undertones and lots of opacity — you want the color to really stand out on your nails.
Above, from left: Essie Nail Polish in Navigate Her, $8, available in February at Essie; Priti NYC Nail Polish in Dusty Miller, $12.50, available January 20 at Priti NYC; Yves Saint Laurent Duo Manicure Couture Nail Polish Set in Edition 7, $30, available at Yves Saint Laurent; RGB Cosmetics Nail Polish in Dew, $16, available in March at RGB.
Photos: Courtesy of Essie, Priti NYC, Yves Saint Laurent, RGB
Blame Pantone and 2012's color of the season, Tangerine Tango, for all the bright orange nails you're going to be seeing this year. "Offbeat orange and retro mod brights straight out of the swinging '60s [will be big for 2012]," says CND founder Jan Arnold. Adds OPI Artistic Director Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, "Orange will be a big color for next year, and bright corals (orange with red pigment) will also be popular."
Above, from left: Sonia Kashuk Nail Colour in Tango Mango, $4.99, available in March at Target; Sephora by OPI Nail Colour in Paisley Attention To Me!, $9.50, available in February at Sephora; Le Métier De Beauté Nail Lacquer in Not So Safe Orange, $18, available late January at Bergdorf Goodman; CND Colour in Electric Orange, $9,CND for salons.
Photos: Courtesy of Sonia Kashuk, Sephora, Le Métier De Beauté, CND
Glitter gets an update for spring with new shapes, colors, and sizes of sparkles. "The glitter craze is continuing, but will be transforming into new variations — the latest versions are 3D holographics, but shiny shimmers still continue to rule," says celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann.
Above, from left: Sally Hansen Gem Crush Nail Color in Be-Jeweled, $4.50, Sally Hansen for retailers; Nicki Minaj by OPI Nail Lacquer in Save Me, $8.50, OPI for salons; Nicole by OPI Nail Lacquer in "Fabulous" Is My Middle Name, $7, available in February at Walmart; China Glaze Nail Polish in Techno, $7, available in February at China Glaze.
Photos: Courtesy of Sally Hansen, OPI, Nicole by OPI, China Glaze
Ditch your highlighter hues and try a new kind of bright. "This isn’t old-school, '80s neon," says Butter London creative director Nonie Creme. "It's a grown-up, modern interpretation; the result of a neon mixed with pure white pigment to create a beautiful, pulled-back look. This is an evolution of neon — still bright and in the same color family, but more sophisticated and subdued."
Above, from left: Butter London Nail Colour in Slapper, $14, available at Butter London; Sephora by OPI Nail Colour in It's Totally Karma, $9.50, available in February at Sephora; China Glaze Nail Polish in Gothic Lolita, $7, available in February at China Glaze; Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer in Pink Graffiti, $23, available at Saks.
Photos: Courtesy of Butter London, Sephora, China Glaze, Dior
Mannequin nails make their return this spring, but this time around, the focus is on matching your skin tone, not making your nails look like a Barbie doll's. "Beige is the new sheer pink and its popularity is rising," says Lippmann. "I've been doing nude nails season after season because it gives the illusion of skin continuing and really lengthens your finger — it feels modern. We're shifting to warmer, foundation-inspired hues because who doesn't love the idea of never-ending skin? Skin has become so important to our culture — we're always after that glowing, dewy, gorgeous effect."
Above, from left: Orly Nail Lacquer in Prelude To A Kiss, $7.50, available in March at Orly; Sonia Kashuk Nail Colour in Sugar Rush, $4.99, available at Target; Sally Hansen Smooth & Perfect Color + Care in Linen, $5.49, Sally Hansen for retailers; Sephora by OPI Nail Colour in Neutral Beauty, $9.50, available in February at Sephora.
Photos: Courtesy of Orly, Sonia Kashuk, Sally Hansen, Sephora
Feeling blue? Your nails sure are: Shades of blue will rule your digits all year long. "Different hues of blue — baby blue, turquoise, and navy — will be big this spring. It will definitely be a lasting trend seen into fall as well," says Lippmann.
Above, from left: SpaRitual Nail Lacquer in Undercurrent, $10, available in February at SpaRitual; Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer in On The Beach, $18, available in March at Deborah Lippmann; OPI Nail Lacquer in I Don't Give A Rotterdam, $8.50, OPI for salons; China Glaze Nail Polish in Kinetic Candy, $7, available in February at China Glaze.
Photos: Courtesy of SpaRitual, Deborah Lippmann, OPI, China Glaze
Pastels don't have to be tea-party twee — the latest dreamy shades are actually quite chic and sophisticated, provided you stay away from cliches like cotton-candy pink. "Think more along the lines of pistachio green and butter yellow," says Creme. "I'm seeing a move toward this color palette for spring — taking a fun, light-hearted, youthful trend and translating it into a more high-fashion look."
Above, from left: Essie Nail Polish in To Buy Or Not To Buy, $8, available in February at Essie; RGB Cosmetics Nail Polish in Vellum, $16, available in March at RGB; Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in May, $26, available at Chanel; Rococo Nail Apparel Nail Colour in T-Cup, $16.50, available in February at SpaceNK.
Photos: Courtesy of Essie, RGB, Chanel, SpaceNK
Demure nails these are not: Hot pink and fuchsia replace light pink as the go-to girly shade of the season. Expect to see versions with contrasting glitter, pearlescent undertones, and straight-up opaques for a bold, edgy finish with just the right amount of femininity.
Above, from left: Butter London Nail Colour in Disco Biscuit, $14, available at Butter London; MAC Nail Lacquer in Toco Toucan, $15, available at MAC; Nails Inc. Neon Polish in Notting Hill Gate, $9.50, available in March at Sephora; Kat Von D High Voltage Lacquer in No Regrets, $12, available at Sephora.
Photos: Courtesy of Butter London, MAC, Nails Inc., Sephora

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