Red may be a classic, and pink may be oh-so-feminine, but the manicure de rigueur for 2011 garners inspiration from cool metals in hues ranging from matte gunmetal gray to charcoal. Here's what's haute in manicures for the new year.
Silver with a side of sparkle
Celebrities sporting Minx nails in mirror-shiny metallics have no doubt stoked the trend for all things metallic. (Did you see the sparkling silver mani Katy Perry wore all over New York when promoting her perfume recently?)
Those who don't have the time, or beauty budget, to commit to Minx will love Orly's Foil FX in Shine, a no-holds-barred shade of metallic silver that swipes on without a streak in sight ($7.50).
Bling it up a notch with an application of Creative Nail Design's Sparkling Effects polishes, available in Silver and Gold (sold by the pair for $22 at cnd.com). Sparkling Effects are available in gold and silver glitters set in a clear base, meaning they won't change your color, just add light to it. Ideal for those who already own a color they love but want to add some metal and sparkle in gold or silver.
The new black
I've been living in color of late, think lacquers in fuchsia, red and even orange. And don't even get me started on glitter, I've been bronzed, burlesqued and beyond. I found myself more than ready to embrace a nail trend that is more "Paris" than "princess."
Enter China Glaze and its Black Diamond lacquer, a not-at-all-black, gunmetal gray with the slightest shimmer. It's not new, first released in 2007, but it's gaining popularity as the new black (about $5 at Sally Beauty Supply).
For the pièce de résistance, add a coat of CND's Super Shiney TopCoat, which amps up two coats of the deep gray China Glaze lacquer with incredible gloss. This 3-free top coat also protects polish from scratching and fading, a must for easy to ding metallic hues.
For a very long time, I was absolutely hooked on Lincoln Park After Dark. And then there was my Chanel stage. Le Vernis No. 475, Dragon, is simply classic. I'm leaving it all behind to channel Kate Beckinsale and other chic celebs who are packing heat in the form of gunmetal gray manicures.
The shade that makes staying on trend dangerously easy is Orly's Iron Butterfly, a matte gunmetal gray that is addictive. After I picked up an edgy costume ring in matte silver, the '80s girl inside of me started thinking of Iron Butterfly, and how well it would match my gunmetal gray waterfall ring.
As a bonus, the matte hue dries amazingly fast, so while I may be matching like it's 1995, I can get started on 2011.
— Carolyn Brundage is founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to all that is hip in local beauty. Follow her on Twitter @tampabaypretty.