White Nails Are 2020's Most Popular Neutral—And There's a Flattering Shade for Everyone
A beauty truth we’ll never deny is that we’re a sucker for a neutral nail color. As much as OPI Cajun Shrimp calls us in the summer and Essie Wicked bewitches us come autumn, a neutral nail shade can’t be topped. It works on all skin tones, during all seasons, and for all occasions. And that’s the kind of hat trick we’re into.
But we’ll say it, going with a classic nude nail color, like Ballet Slippers or Bubble Bath, doesn’t necessarily put us at the edge of our seats in anticipation. It’s not the most exciting blip on the spectrum, with fiery corals and moody navies flanking them on both sides.
Neutral doesn’t have to always translate to nude, though. There’s taupe, the low-key grayish looker. There’s barely-there peach, if you feel like sweetening up your spring mani. And there’s the ultimate neutral move: white nails. White nails don’t ever look boring. Simple as that.
All at once, white nail polish is incredibly wearable, super flattering on everyone, and feels like a fun statement even while flying low on the color radar. When we see someone rocking a confident white manicure, we're basically obligated to try to be friends with her. It's not science; it's just how it works.
The first thing to know before getting a white manicure is that not all white nail colors are the same. There are varying levels of opacity (from sheer to full-coverage) and undertones to pay attention to. Here are seven white nail shades you can choose from, with help from OPI Professional, Sigourney Nunez.
Ah, the classic. This one works on *literally* everyone, and you’ll definitely recognize the far-gone favorite. “Whether I am trying to execute a crisp white manicure or need to add white details to a nail art design, OPI Alpine Snow is my go-to white shade,” says Nunez. It’s an opaque, bright white shade that pops on a fresh summer glow like no other.
Essie Blanc is another stark white nail staple.
Slightly less stark than crisp white, this shade feels decidedly more like a soft marshmallowy white, which is fitting considering our go-to shade in this range is Essie Marshmallow. Coming in at a close second, OPI Funny Bunny is a forever favorite, and three coats gives the perfect opaque, soft white finish.
This not-your-basic white nail shade can only be described as effortlessly cool, and we prefer wearing it in the winter, as it’s not too bright or summery and it perfectly matches the chilly weather outside. And your cute winter outfits, because, duh.
“If clients are a little hesitant to try full-on white nails, I would recommend I Cannoli Wear OPI, it’s a pale, creamy gray,” recommends Nunez.
So you love Essie Ballet Slippers, we get it. Why not give this updated version a spin on your digits? It’s still just as subtle and muted without being uncomfortably close to your skin color. That’s no fun.
Another time-tested classic, this shade is perhaps the most flattering of the bunch. It starts getting into Ballet Slippers territory without going fully nude. Try a more opaque option with Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish in Sheer Nirvana.
If you like optical illusions, this one’s your guy. Depending on your angle, this nail shade will look white, blue, gray, or even greenish. Basically it’s a mood ring for your fingernails. We haven’t found a quirkier, more fun take on the trend than JINsoon Kookie White. Seriously, try it.
The biggest attention-getter in the family, a shimmery or pearlescent white nail color is perfect when you want to feel like an ice queen, which is us, always. "If you’re looking for something layerable with a hint of shimmer, OPI Kyoto Pearl is a satin white with slight sparkle,” adds Nunez.
You can pull off this look during the holiday season or for an early spring occasion. We also recommend going for an iridescent manicure with Chantecaille’s Celestial Nail Sheer in Vega. Any way you swipe it, you’ll be perfectly frosted.
When it comes to white, you can't go wrong, from crisp to celestial.
You heard it here first: We might never go back to boring nude again.