The 3 big nail polish trends for 2012.


As I type this, my hands are without polish and have been chaotically clipped by a woman (“me”) who was extremely frustrated by their length, because she kept accidentally scratching her face, and just felt, well, dirty. Long nails make me feel dirty. Not sure why. To me it feels alien and unnecessary to have my nails long, and plus, I’m far too clumsy and childish to do them with elegance.

I have a friend who has long, oval nails, and they are absolutely magnificent. They suit her, because she is a careful, graceful woman, the type who knows which knife is for which course at sophisticated dinners, and how to tie and wear scarves in multiple ways. For her to have short nails wouldn’t be right. But for me, and my little kid hands, shorter nails are much better. I still ask for an oval shape though – it’s much more flattering on the hand, especially a stubby one such as mine, than a straight, blunt edge. (Mimic the moons at the base of your nail bed for the most flattering nail shape.)

This afternoon it all stops. I will set off to my local nail bar and enjoy an injection of high-gloss cherry red. I will probably chose OPI Big Apple Red because it is a wonderful, orange-based red that doesn’t make my hands look lifeless, like blue-red reds do. (I am warm toned.)

The elegantly buff nails at Derek Lam s/s 2012

I will do this this week because I always wear red lipstick or a red dress (or both! How outrageous!) and certainly red nails on Christmas day. It makes me feel festive and celebratory, and as it takes just as much effort to put on a Party Dress as it does shorts and a t-shirt, why not? We dress up for friends and work and restaurants and roller discos all year round – why not our family on this one day? They’re the ones giving us kitten calendars and novelty mugs to unwrap after all.

But back to nails, and more specifically, the Big Nail Trends for 2012. It’s fair to say that while nail polish is predominantly a mood/outfit/habit thing, there has been a tremendous increase in professional manicures and nail varnish trends in the past few years. And so, there’s no harm getting your head around which shades and textures will be in fashion and on nails, so that should you choose to experiment and try something exciting and new, (or you’re the type of thrilling broad who balances dangerously on the knife-edge of trends) you’re well equipped next time you’re told to “choose your colour please.”


Pretty, playful pink nails at Chanel s/s 2012

In terrific news for minimalists and those who prefer a low-key look on their nails, soft beiges, opaque sand tones, almond, milky whites and “greige” are still very much in. Even the French manicure is back! Imagine that! Cooler skin tones might like to choose more “white-based” shades while warm skin tones will look better in pink or cream based tones. Try Essie Waltz, OPI Samoan Sand, Chanel Inattendu, Revlon Grey Suede, Sally Hansen Beige Blast, Deborah Lippman Naked.


Soft pastels and dreamy pinks and frisky crimson and retro, rich reds: that’s going to be the biggest trend in my opinion, which I’m afraid is the only one I can offer. Chanel models at the s/s 2012 sashayed down the runway with a very pretty, rose pink, and if the past five years or so are anything to go by, whatever Chanel does in nail polish all of us do in nail polish. Keep your nails more oval-shape than a square or natural for added daintiness and prettiness and allure when you’re drinking Passiona or playing bowls. Try Orly Sweet Tart or Precisely Poppy, Creative Shellac in Gotcha, OPI in Meep Meep Meep (from the Muppets collection), Bourjois So Laque! In Rouge Casino, or hold out for Chanel May (pictured above) on sale Feb.

Ooh, lace nails! How theatrical.


Nail art, textured topcoats and wild colours, deemed tacky and uncool and Jerry Springer-y for so many years, are enjoying 15 minutes of fame, and I for one welcome the fruitiness with open arms and bare nails. And so, for those who are feeling bold and playful, this is your moment! Try black and white mod-style designs, or get/draw some decals stuck onto your nails, (moustaches seem to be popular at the mo-ment, but I have mo idea why) (zzzzzing!) or stick on some sequins or glitter, or press and top-coat over some lace, or you paint on some patterns, or go for animal print stick-ons, or do metallic, chrome Minx nails, or a shatter finish, or use a sheer glitter polish (the type favoured by five-year-olds) over dark nails for drama and sparkle, or you can do reverse moons, or you can toy around with the traditional French mani and do clear or white nails with silver or gold or black tips, or you can do none of this and still be very happy with your nails, actually.

If atomically hip girls like Alexa Chung do nail art, I reckon we probably can too.

Try: Sally Hansen Salon Effect stick on decals, (colour block with them, why don’t you!) or Sally’s Nail Art pens, OPI Shatter, or just ask your nail bar to do something wild and intriguing with some little gemstones on the tips with a clear base, (like Alexa, pictured.)

There is also a strange and unsavoury move towards long, pointed, claw like nails (See: Rihanna; Knowles, Beyonce; Gaga, Lady) but I won’t write about that trend because I think it is both terrifying and deeply unsophisticated.

Happy Christmess, you gorgeous rascals!


What nail trends will you be trying in 2012?

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