Welcome to 2023, where there are no beauty rules. We think of trends as ebbs and flows in the collective energy and they're totally subjective. But 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.
Here, our Refinery29 editors get into the specific shades we're wearing right now and why we think 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.
There is a lot of product out there — some would say too much. 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, but if you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
"My favorite nail polish brand is Morgan Taylor. Besides the wide brush that makes it easy to paint my nails at home, they know how to do a collab! My current go-to is "Let's Do A Makeover" from their Clueless-themed collection. The weather has been such a mess lately so this nail polish is my way of channeling brighter vibes." — Breanna Davis, Social Editor
"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. I like the Dior Nail Glow, £25, which evens out my nail and adds shine. If I'm at the salon, I might add art, such as a teeny dot at the cuticle, like this, or I'll do a skinny French." — Megan Decker, beauty editor.
"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.
"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 cozy 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.
"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.
"Normally, streaky polish is something we aim to avoid — but something about J.Hannah’s sheer Glacé polishes 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.
Shop our polish picks, below.
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