What’s A Good Nail Polish Colour? 6 Manicure Devotees Weigh In

Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images.
At Refinery29 Australia, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but we may earn commission or other compensation from the links on this page.
Welcome to 2023, where the beauty rules are, there are none. We think of trends as ebbs and flows in the collective energy and the ins and outs are totally subjective. However, when it comes to choosing something as seemingly mundane as a nail polish, we're being mindful about the colours we're gravitating towards and why — because even more fun than painting your nails is doing it with intention.
Advertisement
Here, our Refinery29 editors get into the specific shades we're wearing right now and why we think that the tones will resonate this year. Maybe a glossy but naked nail speaks to you like it does me. It could be that you're more of a dark-nail person, in which case, we see you, too. Whatever draws you, we have an IG save and a polish rec for an upcoming manicure.

Warm Grey

I saw trend forecaster Mandy Lee say that grey will be one of the colours of 2023, so naturally, I think grey will be one of the colours of 2023. For my first manicure of this year, I opted for a light grey coat and loved it; it's close to a 'nude' shade, but with a slight twist. A warm grey leans into brown tone territory, which we saw a lot of it last year — this builds on the not-so-neutral neutrals trend. — Maggie Zhou, Living & Wellness Writer, Refinery29 Australia
Polish to try: Essie Chinchilly

Sheer Gloss

"I'm in a short-nail era and the only polish I really want to wear is two coats of sheer pink. The goal is to give the look of bare nails, without my nails actually being completely unpolished because I want to cover the matte-ness and white spots. One of my favourite glossing shades is OG Sheer Pink by Glosslab, which adds a tiny tint (In Australia, try Clean Slate by Kester Black). I also like the Dior Nail Glow, which does a similar thing — evens out my nail and adds shine — but is more expensive. If I'm at the salon, I might add art, a teeny dot at the cuticle, like this, or I'll do a skinny French. — Megan Decker, Beauty Editor, Refinery29 US
Advertisement
Polish to try: Clean Slate

Classic Red

"2022 was the year of experimentation when it came to my nails. I tried all the latest trends, from chrome to velvet and everything in between. In 2023, I’m returning to my go-to and I think a lot of people will too — what’s better than a classic red manicure? Jumping off the popularity of the red nail theory, I think we’ll be seeing a huge resurgence of the tried-and-true shade because not only does it look elegant, but it also makes you feel sexy and confident. Take Lily James at the Critics Choice Awards as an example. Chanel Nail Artist Betina Goldstein was inspired by the iconic Audrey Hepburn when choosing this shade. 'Red is sophisticated, yet youthful,' she shares. That’s definitely my vibe for 2023." - Sara Tan, Beauty Director, Refinery29 US

Pine Green

"Pine green, forest green, national park green… call it what you will, but I’ve never received more compliments on my nails than when I’m rocking this deep shade. It works on all nail shapes and lengths, of course, but I find it looks coolest on short square or squoval (square with rounded corners) nails. OPI’s Leaf By Example occupies a cosy space between muted teal and fresh, foliage-esque green, so it’s wearable all year round — not just in the winter." — Jacqueline Kilikita, Deputy Beauty Director, Refinery29 UK
Advertisement
Polish to try: OPI Leaf By Example

Plum

"I went through a pretty intense blue nail phase last year — it was almost a compulsion— and while I wouldn’t shy away from a big, bright bold colour, I’m loving a plum shade as a transition into my full Red Nail Polish era. To me, a plum is the marriage of magenta and navy, two shades I love to wear on my nails as it is. And because it has so much red, blue, and pink in it, plum serves well for options when it comes to colours in accent nail art, too. I may not like plums in real life, but I love them on my fingers." - Amanda Mitchell, Senior Beauty Writer & Stories Creator, Refinery29 US
Polish to try: Smith & Cult Analog Fog

 Watercolour Burgundy

"Normally, streaky polish is something we aim to avoid — but something about J.Hannah’s sheer Gamay polish feels so right. The first of the lineup is Gamay, an appropriately-named burgundy that perfectly evokes your favourite glass of red; that is, after you’ve finished it. Inspired by wine-stained lips, the polish formula is intentionally watercolour-like — one coat offers a sheer wash of tint, and multiple (thin!) coats will intensify the colour payoff." - Karina Hoshikawa, Senior Affiliate Writer, Refinery29 US
Polish to try: J.Hannah Gamay
Shop our polish picks, below:
Want more? Get Refinery29 Australia’s best stories delivered to your inbox each week. Sign up here!

More from Nails