11 Gray Nail Polishes Perfect For Your Winter Mood

When black feels too dramatic and pink feels too soft and red seems too much, there is one nail color that never fails to disappoint: gray.
Gray is a color mostly widely associated with gloomy weather, spoiled meat, garbage cans, dust, and Florida retirement complexes. But never forget, it is also a color that can call to mind super-futuristic cities, skyscrapers, and the exteriors of modern art museums. That's why swiping the shade on your nails immediately gives you a modern and unexpected edge. It's minimalism at its best. Just ask Rihanna or Jennifer Lopez, who've been known to wear the shade regularly.
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We make this plea to consider gray polish now because in the wintery months, gray nails are all the more versatile. Just think about it: Name a dark color — like maroon or black or dark green — that people love to wear this season that clashes with gray. You just can't. It's the chicest neutral.
Ahead, see our picks for the best not-gross-looking gray nail polishes, and consider your nail salon indecision canceled.
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.
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Vegan and cruelty-free, this gray from Sundays strikes just the right balance — it's not so dark that it looks depressing and not so light that any slight chips are immediately noticeable. With a brush specially designed so each nail takes legitimately two strokes to cover, this polish lasted nearly two weeks on us without a single chip. Color us impressed.
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When you start looking at all the different gray nail polishes that are out there in the universe, you start to notice quirks. Some lean towards lavender, while others brush up to blue. This one by Essie is more cool-toned, giving it a bluish, pewter finish.
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If you're looking for a polish with a label attached, this gray from the Proenza Schouler x Lancôme collab is perfect for you. It's packaged in a sweet spherical bottle with that designer label right on top. Swipe one coat on and it's more lavender, with two coats really giving you that light gray color you're probably after.
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Known for its long-lasting polishes and truly beautiful bottles, Smith & Cult has a single shade of gray called Subnormal that we swear by. Reach for it if you're stuck standing in front of all those polishes at the salon, completely unable to make a decision.
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Deborah Lippmann's got a few different gray polishes we love, including her lovely Misty Morning that's a cool blue-gray, but this one, called Grey Day, remains our fave. Inspired by the designs of Jason Wu, it's the perfect neutral.
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With salons throughout New York City, Austin, and L.A., Tenoverten specializes in non-toxic, cruelty-free polishes with a minimalist edge, so of course they've got a great gray.
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You can never go wrong with Sally Hansen. With a formula that's got a base coat, nail strengthener, growth treatment, color, and a chip-resistant top coat packed inside, this shade called Grey Dreaming couldn't be better.
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With an impressively large number of polishes to its name, Zoya has plenty of grays to choose from, with finishes that vary from matte to sparkly. We've got a real soft spot for Tao, a cool smoke gray with a slight metallic finish that catches the light in just the right way.
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Revlon's polish remains best-in-class all these years later — with a chip-resistant formula that's effortlessly smooth. It's also mad cheap, ringing up for less than $5. We'll be wearing this gray shade, with a "French dip" of metallic glitter, for New Year's Eve.
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This cool-toned gray from Jin Soon, the brand behind the chicest salons in New York City, was inspired by the streets of Manhattan, sans the garbage and angry pigeons.
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Between its shine and astounding staying power (we've seen it last for two whole weeks), this OPI polish is basically a gel manicure packed into a bottle. Couple that with the fact that it comes in a perfect dark gray named Steel Waters Run Deep — a pun! — and your at-home manicure may never be the same.
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