As much as we love nail art, we’re better at admiring designs than coming up with them ourselves. That’s why we’ve enlisted Anna Norman, the smarty pants behind Glitter, She Wrote, to be a regular contributor. Every Monday, she’ll be sharing her latest lacquer inspiration—you won’t be satisfied with plain ol’ polish again.
With fall in full swing and Halloween just a couple days away, there’s no better time for dark, vampy nails. When I first started playing around with polish, I steered clear of darks for fear of looking too harsh, especially since my skin is so fair. But as long as you keep a few things in mind, there’s no reason to banish these shades from your nail polish repertoire. Whether you’re eyeing a deep burgundy or cutting to the chase with black, follow these tips to keep your mani stylish—never severe.
1. KEEP IT SHORT: Nail length is certainly a personal preference, but when you’re choosing a very deep shade of lacquer, short clean nails ensure that the look is put-together and chic—not scary. Smoothly filed round or slightly square nails that don’t extend far past your fingertips are always trendy and even suitable for a relaxed office environment.
2. CLEAN IT UP: Jagged edges aren’t as obvious with pale or sheer polish, but with saturated shades, even the tiniest mistakes look sloppy. Don’t worry—you don’t need to be a professional to achieve precise, salon-worthy nails. When you’re done painting, dip a small brush (I like to use an angled eyeliner brush) in remover and sweep the brush around the entire base of the nail to clean up mistakes and create a smooth line at the cuticle. No time for this additional step? Next time you take a shower, rub any stray polish off your skin and cuticles with the edge of a nail from your other hand. The results aren’t as precise, but the steamy water will loosen up any excess polish that landed outside the lines.
3. TAKE IT OFF: No matter how much you love the shade, it’s important to know when to say goodbye. While I’ll sometimes wear a slightly chipped polish for an extra day or two, a severely chipped dark mani is a definite no-no. There’s nothing attractive about dark nails that are past their prime, so throw a travel-size remover packet, like these from Deborah Lippmann or LA Fresh, in your bag for emergencies.
Ready to go dark? Be daring and choose Deborah Lippmann’s Dark Side of the Moon.