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By now any summer tan we once had has faded into...well, let’s just call it our “natural state.” Here, eight foolproof shades that brighten things up without looking unseasonal (or, worse, garish).

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Jin Soon

A Deep Burgundy

This is the type of color that you don’t have to think about when you’re trying to pick something at the salon. It’s just as classic as your candy-apple reds but a touch more refined for this time of year—and it looks equally good on your fingers as it does on your toes.

Jin Soon ($18)


A Bright Plum

Though if you prefer something on the brighter side (perhaps a little something to perk you up during yet another gray winter day), try a juicy plum or raspberry. It’s cheery and feminine and slightly less expected. 

LVX ($18)

dove blue grey
Nails Inc.

A Bluish Gray

A cool dove color feels fresher than, say, another run-of-the-mill beige, but it’s just as neutral.

Nails Inc. ($27)

dark blue
Sally Hansen

A Dark Navy

A deep navy is a bit edgier while still feeling clean and chic. Wear it on short, squared-off nails and pair the shade with your most feminine frocks to create a nice visual contrast.

Sally Hansen ($8)

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dark green

A Crisp Forest Green

Another alternative? A rich pine green—which is livelier than black, softer than navy and every bit as refined. Again, dark shades tend to look more elegant on shorter nails, but perhaps round off the tips a bit for this particular hue to soften the overall look.

Essie ($12)


A Creamy Mocha

And if a nude is your M.O. no matter what season you’re in, opt for a tawnier hue that’s a shade or two darker than your skin.

Chanel ($28)

Deborah Lippmann

A Gunmetal Metallic

Just shimmery enough, a dark gunmetal is a good option for ladies who love shiny things but are feeling a bit fatigued from the chunky glitters and super shiny metallics of the holiday season. 

Deborah Lippmann ($18)

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Christian Dior

A Pink Tint

And if you don't have enough time to commit to a full mani, swipe a coat of sheer pink to brighten nails and add shine. (Bonus: You don't have to be too precise with a shade like this—nor do you really have to worry about chips.) 

Dior ($27)

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