New studies (by me) suggest that the color of your manicure can lend insight into your age, your sense of style and even your state of mind. Turns out your talons can talk, and here's what they're saying …
Join the color club
Forget facelifts and sports cars, the fastest way to look and feel younger is to experiment with your nail polish. Based on my research (primarily asking manicurists at several of my favorite salons and spas), sticking with the same color of polish is the single biggest indicator of (old) age. Yup, opting for the same shade of light peach each week is giving away your age, or worse, belying it.
What could be easier than updating your look and taking years off your style than simply experimenting with the newest haute hues in lacquer? Those ready to turn back the clock should try "Pippa" from Zoya, a sunny yellow creme lacquer, or "Yara," a smoky olive polish paired with a splash of bright gold glitter; $8 each at zoya.com.
Therapy for nails
"I talked to your manicure yesterday; she said you're depressed." If manicures could talk, what would yours would be saying about you? Based on my research (primarily comparing my girlfriends' manicures to their moods), no unhappy woman opts for a canary yellow or kelly green manicure.
Feeling frisky? You're sure to pick a crisp crimson for nails while pretty pinks may divulge an oh-so-ladylike mood. Women who wish to break away from the norm have been known to opt for a teal green. And the color that screams sad and lonely? That would be no-color or chipped polish, of course.
Soothe yourself with calming blue manicures in of-the-moment shades like Essie's "Midnight Cami," loved by Kristen Stewart, or Essie's "Turquoise and Caicos," a sea green. To get you — or him — going, opt for red, a color that is said to stimulate one's heart rate, such as Essie's "One of a Kind," a poppy red that sells for $8 at local salons and spas.
For those who want their manicures to speak to their sense of style, it's all about departing from the traditional mani. Ombre and gradient manicures are haute for fall. Meanwhile manicure appliques — think black lace applied with a clear top coat — or Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips for the DIY crew are easy updates to the classic manicure (see what Stephanie Hayes had to say about them on Page 58).
Gradient manicures are easily done at home: Simply pick three colors of polish in complementary hues (such as brown, taupe and gray) and paint each nail a different color, from light to dark. Head to your favorite salon for an applique manicure or try Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips ($9.99 at CVS). These DIY strips are somewhat easy to apply and while the finished product is not as chic as in in-salon manicure, the end look, from faux animal prints to houndstooth patterns, is an affordable alternative to a professional applique manicure.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of TampaBay.PrettyCity.com, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet Up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.