What could be better than a new manicure to spice up the weather? From moody neutrals to pop brights, from O.P.I. to Essie, here’s Shilpa’s list for the 11 most popular nail polish color trends for 2021 you gotta try!
We’re back to another lockdown and since the pandemic is keeping us at home again, it sounds like a perfectly nice idea to just sit back, relax and paint our nails. I mean, after all, it’s as much a guilty pleasure as a way to meditate, right!
But what color to pick? Well, here I am to help with this problem! If you’re looking what new nail polish color (or 11) to buy for your vanity, you’re at the right place. Of course, after reading this article, you’ll know there’s something missing in your nail polish cabinet even if you don’t wanna shop! You’re welcome! Muhaha!
Top Nail Polish Color Trends for 2021
The hottest nail polish color trends for 2021 are a mix of old favorites and new shades we never even knew the names of! I know! It required me days of research to analyze each top brands’ new collection, and then hours to decide what to call some of the shades I had rounded up. So are you ready for the colorful ride? Let’s go!
1. Pale Peach
Now, this color is somewhere between a nude skintone and a peach, and I’m calling it pale peach. 2021 is certainly a year of neutrals, as we’re seeing loads of neutral shades in every top nail paint collection. From light beiges to stone greys, you can’t go wrong with a neutral on your nails this year.
However, pale peach is taking the nail polish industry by storm, judging by how many of the top nail polish brands have a version of this shade in their new collections. And why not! It’s perfect for all seasons, and will suit most skin tones. It’s perfect for the whole week, from your Zoom meetings to online dates to just chilling at home watching Netflix alone!
2. Cerise Pink
Cerise is french for cherry, and sure, we usually have a cherry red color, not a pink. But this frozen cherry pink shade (that we refer to as cerise) is one of the chicest nail polish trends for 2021. It’s a deeper shade of magenta, and we’re loving it. It’s somewhere between purple and royal pink. I adore the nail art Essie has done in cerise (above).
Now, this kind of looks like a very party color, straight off the red carpet, but it’s very Insta-ready. Use it for your makeup vlog vids and match it up with your lip shade. Or put your hand on your boyfriend’s shoulder to show off your cerise manicure on social media!
Ah, the perfect summer romance! The classic rose color is back for 2021 and I couldn’t be happier. Not that it can actually go out of fashion, but it’s so eye-pleasing to see this soft feminine shade getting trendy again.
From Butter London’s Barbie rose to Dolce & Gabbana’s dusty rose, each top brand has their own version, but the crux of the matter is that this is the shade to replenish in your vanity if you’ve run out! A great color for a date or office, too.
4. Chilli Red
An nice change from the regular scarlets and tulip reds, this Indian chilli red is super trendy this year. It’ll look great on warm skin tones, and it’s a great way to brighten up your quarantine/lockdown days.
Chilli red is a warm tone somewhere between a scarlet and cherry. A girl can never have too many reds in her nail polish collection, so this is 2021’s must have. It’ll surely make a dull day seem like a party! So I recommend saving this up for your me-time pamper sesh. Grab a bottle of nail polish and sit in your balcony, up on your terrace or back in your yard, wherever you have open space. Then just give yourself a relaxing pedi and pamper your toenails with it!
5. Alabaster White
For many years now, I’ve started appreciating white nail polish for all the elegance and classiness it offers. Such a simple color, yet white gives such a rich look. However, decent white nail polish is not easy to find.
For many years now, I’ve started appreciating white nail polish for all the elegance and classiness it offers. Such a simple color, yet it gives such a rich look. However, decent white nail polish is not easy to find. A manicurist at a salon once told me that you can tell about the quality of white nail polish by trying it out on one nail. If you can see translucent spots after one or two coats, which means it’s just not the right one.
And then there’s the whole matter of finding the right shade of white – there are as many possible shades as there are in pinks or reds. Most of the time, you just can’t find the classic pure white. And when you do, sometimes you’re in the mood for a bit of a change! That’s where shades like pumice, bone, eggshell, and cream come in. And 2021’s shade is alabaster. A soft off-white rock used for making sculptures and statues, alabaster has a nice pinkish tone to it. It’s a very beautiful shade, almost like you’re looking at snow right before sunset.
This is one of the top nail polish colors for 2021. It’s the perfect shade to wear at home, or use in your French manicures too. You can also wear it when you have a Zoom meeting coming up.
6. Tomato Red
Every season, there’s a bright color on the list, which becomes the go-to hot pink or pop red. And this season, the brightest color to go for is tomato red. A bit more orangey than poppy red, tomato is the perf summer color, but will also brighten up the wintery days. It’s a really warm, fiery color, and will be great for any of you feeling bold and fearless!
Tomato will be the best shade for your online dates, or just whenever you’re bored of wearing simple neutrals at home.
It’s a red! It’s a brown! No, it’s mahogany! This rich, warm shade is one of the most popular nail polish color trends for 2021. Typically a fall-winter color, this year, it’s gaining a lot of traction in the spring-summer months as well. We saw it in the nail paint collections of top brands like O.P.I., Essie, Sally Hansen, Butter London, etc. Wear it for your evening soirees, parties and weddings, or match it with your lipstick for a cute retro look!
Periwinkle is one of my favorite shades of blue – it’s so soothing and pretty. It was one of the trendiest colors last year, and is back in fashion as one of the top nail polish color trends for 2021. Periwinkle is a bit more vibrant than baby blue, and has the slightest purple tint to it. This makes it such an evergreen shade to wear both in clothing and accessories. Perfect for garden weddings, outdoor parties and barbecues, this shade is a total must-have for every girl. In the hot summer months, you can also match it with your eye shadow to create a chic makeup look.
A list of nail polish color trends for 2021 will be incomplete without a proper neutral shade. And this season, it’s ecru. A cool shade of brown, ecru is sort of the color of ostrich feathers, a lighter version of iced mocha color. It’s one of the chicest summer nail colors, but will work just as well in the cooler seasons.
It’s a really classy color to wear to office, and it’ll be great for interviews, office parties and any such formal occasion where you want to look serious and no-nonsense! However, a metallic version of the shade is also perfect for parties and even weddings, if you’re looking for a subtle mani.
A deep cool version of teal, ocean is a new shade we’re seeing this year. We spotted it in the collections of many top brands, and that’s why it’s one of the hottest nail polish color trends for 2021. I’m seeing different types of ocean shaded nail paints, too. From glitter to pearly to metallic to pale matte, there’s something here for everyone. Plus we’re even seeing warmer and cooler tones of it, so go for whatever best suits your own skin tone!
2021 is as much about new shades as it is about classics like rose and nude. And one of these old-time hits is lilac, back as one of the top trending nail colors for 2021. A lovely and feminine shade, lilac is a great idea for everyday wear. In fact, it would work for almost any occasion, from dates to work to parties to weddings!
So that sums up my list of the best nail polish color trends for 2021. Hope you find it helpful when you’re planning to buy your next shade. Which shade did you love the best? And which the least? Lemme know below! I’d love to see these shades on your nails, so don’t forget to tag me in your manicure pic on Instagram @shilpaahujadotcom.
Shilpa Ahuja the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion. Other than defining the direction of the magazine, she also writes about fashion & beauty trend forecasts, industry analysis, and opinions.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University.
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