Why A Fresh White Manicure Feels So Right For Summer

White is the universal shade of summer — it's the feeling of a linen shirt buttoned up over your bathing suit, or the way an ivory sundress brushes your skin as it catches the salty breeze. As we head into vacation season head-on, we'll be shopping all things white, and coordinating with the perfect matching mani-pedi.

Similar to the way mixing light-toned neutrals can be tricky — like, does cream go with beige? — white nail polish is actually tougher than most colors to get right in formulation. The wrong bottle can run streaky, taking six coats to fully cover the nail. Other times, the color reads chalky, like your middle school Wite-Out manicure (not so chic).


To avoid the sad, dingy white polishes out there, we've asked nail pros to break down the best bottles on the market. From full-coverage (and super-clean) Tenoverten to an $8 Essie classic, click ahead to find the cheapest way to go all-in on summer whites.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Tenoverten Nail Polish in White

Tenoverten co-founder Nadine Abramcyk tells us that this white is 100% opaque — not sheer or runny — so one coat is all you need to get the perfect pop of brightness on your fingers or toes.
Tenoverten Nail Polish in White$12.00 Buy

NARS Nail Polish in Ecume

Fresh and full-coverage, this NARS shade is more of a neutral milky white as opposed to a neon bright. Nail pro Sarah Gibson Tuttle, CEO & founder of Olive & June, tells us it's her go-to.
NARS Nail Polish in Ecume$20.00 Buy

Essie Nail Polish in Blanc

Essie fans love an all-white manicure, as evidenced by the fact that the Blanc shade — a fresh-washed linen white — is the fourth best-selling shade of all time.
Essie essie Nail Polish in Blanc$8.78 Buy

Floss Gloss Nail Polish in Mrs. Tony Montana

For the trend-seekers, Floss Gloss polish is a must-try. The brand's M.O. is flashy, look-at-me colors, and this cool cream — called Mrs. Tony Montana, an homage to Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface — is the chicest white around.
Floss Gloss MRS. TONY MONTANA$9.00 Buy

OPI Nail Lacquer in Alpine Snow

OPI nail pro Sigourney Nuñez is loyal to the brand's Alpine Snow shade. She tells us that the glossy white looks good on everyone, giving the skin on your hands and feet a sun-kissed glow — sans spray tan.
OPI OPI Nail Lacquer Classics Collection NLL00 Alpine Snow$10.50 $7.49 Buy
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