5 Ways to Wear Nail Polish in 2021 (And 2 Looks Best Left in Pre-Pandemic Times)

Is it just us or is there something about looking down at freshly painted nails that brings about a sense of calm and joy? Plus, there’s so much creative expression that’s possible with your nails. You can switch up the shape or shade—or you can try a new design. Let’s look at some of the ways you can stay on trend with your mani in 2021.

The 15 Most Calming Nail Colors for Fall

1. Try: Pointed Tips

There are so many different nail shapes you can choose from, but the most popular style we see online and in salons these days is a pointed tip. Go subtle with an almond shape or more extreme with a stiletto tip (as seen above).

2. Try: A Multi-tonal Mani

Aka the skittle mani, the wabi sabi mani, or the trend that doesn’t seem to quit. First popularized around 2018, this whimsical look is especially fun to wear because there is no right or wrong way to do it. Keep within a similar color family or go full-on ROYGBIV with it.

3. Try: Odd Pairings

On a similar note, intentionally mismatched designs are also very au courant. Just like a multi-tonal mani, there are endless options for wearing this look. Not sure where to start? Try mixing some linear designs (like the checkered nail above) with something more abstract.

4. Try: French Twists

French manicures are back, baby—but with a twist. Rather than sticking to a classic pink-and-white nail, try pairing unexpected colors (like a powder blue base and a burgundy tip) or create a more graphic effect by simply outlining your nail in a contrasting shade.

5. Try: Going Green

Mark our words: The “it” shade for this fall is green. Whether it’s a dusty sage or a deep emerald, you will see many variations of this lush hue in the latter part of this year. Get a head start on the trend now with a lime or chartreuse mani that’s still summery and fresh.

6. Skip: Matching Mani-pedis

If the popularity of multi-tonal and mismatched manis above are any indicator, matchy-matchy nails have been benched for the foreseeable future. Instead, try pairing two contrasting shades for your next mani-pedi. (You can also stick to a similar color theme but vary the textures.)

7. Skip: French Tips

Yes, this look might bring back some warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, but like your first relationship, there are some things that are best left in the past. Besides, why wear a French tip when you can do a French twist?

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023
Jenny Jin

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...
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