Fashion at your fingertips. Style at your toes. It's the popular season for manicures and pedicures – or manis and pedis, if you prefer.
Whether you're a do-it-yourselfer, a salon regular or somewhere in between, there are plenty of new colors, tricks and trends to entice you.
Think about it. A bottle of new nail polish is a pretty inexpensive way to update your look. Or looks, depending on your mood, outfit or destination.
Nude shades are everywhere this season, but so are pastels, brights and neons. Style variations include nails painted all one shade, variations of the same shade and combinations of different shades. Color-blocked nails, for example, show up on runways and in fashion magazines – echoing recent trends in women's fashion.
And for those new to today's nail colors – "Poppy Razzi" or "I Lily Love You," anyone? – there's plenty of help out there. The OPI website www.opi.com, for one, offers a "Try On This Color" feature in which you can see what various colors will look like based on your skin tone and nail length.
Where to start?
Local image consultant Marybeth Hallmark begins by taking a look at current fashions. Since there's a plethora of bright florals in dresses, skirts and tops out there now, there are a couple ways to go with nail color, she said.
"One is to wear a very pale neutral when you sport a dress in all those sunny colors. The other is to go with coral, which complements most skin tones and would look great paired with most florals and bright patterns – just as much as white and other neutral outfits," Hallmark said.
If you wear open-toe shoes, you especially need to pay attention to your feet.
"Sandals are just meant to be worn with painted toes – in any color. Nude, pale, bright or something beachy and fun like blue, green or violet. It's not necessary to match toes to fingers, but say you love a metallic purple for your toes, you might like a lighter, pearly lilac for your nails," she said.
This season, Hallmark also is a fan of the subdued nail look for many occasions. She favors Sally Hansen's iridescent pearl (Precious Pearl #140).
"It's subtle and pretty. It's just enough to show you took the time and care," she said.
And there are others – in shades including sandy beiges, sheer goldens and cafe au laits.
As Harper's Bazaar put it after the Spring 2012 runway fashion shows: "Minimalist colors made the biggest statement of all. Creamy shades of gray, white, pale pink and soft beige looked refreshing on models' fingers, contrasting against the many printed clothes and accessories. Perfection is key with these shades, though – no chips, scuffs or slacking on the upkeep – and a rounded shape helps elongate your hands."
Jill Schue, nail technician at Corto's Salon and Spa, 20 Buffalo St., Hamburg, highlighted some of the biggest nail trends of the season.
* Accent nails. "A lot of people are doing an accent nail – such as in a different color or a glitter," she said. It might be a hot pink with teal or a coral with turquoise, for example. You can do just one nail in a second color or a glitter polish – or one on each hand.
"Some people do a ring finger or pinkie. We choose a pop of color that is totally different, an accent color that is similar to the other color or a glitter," Schue said.
* Ombre nails. This color-fading effect is another trend that comes down from the fashion world. Picture two nails painted the same color, then the next two nails painted a shade lighter and then the thumb in a variation of those.
* Magnetic polish. This polish, once applied, takes on a unique swirly effect after going over it with a special magnetic device that comes with the lid of the polish.
* Gel polish manicures.These longer-lasting (about two weeks) manicures are popular right now in salons across the country. The gel polish is applied and hardened under an ultraviolet light in a light box, which has raised some questions about their safety. At Corto's, clients wear sun-protective gloves (without fingertips) while their hands are exposed to the UV light, Schue noted.
And for do-it-yourselfers, precut nail polish strips that stick directly onto nails are another way women can dress their nails. OPI, Sally Hansen and others offer them. Available in a wide array of colors and patterns, these are made from real polish but require no drying. time, just a little practice in applying and filing them down to size.