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The 7 Colorful Nail Polishes That Brighten My Gloomy Winter Mood

A wintery outfit with a happy purple manicure.
A wintery outfit with a happy purple manicure. Photo: Rio Vierra-Newton

The days that follow the turning back of the clocks make me deeply sad and lethargic. It’s chilly, dark at 5 p.m., and I know things are only going to get worse. It may sound silly, but I’ve found that when the weather changes, integrating colorful products into my routine can actually help improve my mood. And one particularly fun way to do this is with nail polish.

There’s something restorative about opening your umbrella on a gray, stormy day, and spotting your bright pink or blue nails shining happily against the handle. So, though I know most people tend to go for seasonally appropriate darks reds and browns during the fall and winter months, I make it my personal duty to go brighter as the weather gets colder. Below, my favorite long-lasting polishes that cheer me up during inhospitable months.

Chanel Le Vernis in Camelia
$28 at Barneys New York

Not too neon, not too Barbie, this delightful bright fuchsia from Chanel is by far the chic-est bright pink nail polish shade I have ever laid my eyes on. I really can’t tell you how much joy it brings me. If you can afford to indulge, using the Chanel base and top coat will make your manicure ultra shiny and long lasting.

Jinsoon in Pastel Purple
$18 at Barneys New York

This brand, created by iconic nail artist Jin Soon Choi, has some of my all-time favorite nail polish colors (and they’re also 9-free — or, in other words, they don’t have 9 of the most common toxins typically found in nail polishes). For those of you who might want a more pastel shade to brighten your mood, this Birdie is one of my all time favorites.

Nars Nail Polish in Milos
$20 at Nars

In my humble opinion, this warm gold shade from NARS is the perfect holiday color. Chic, elegant, and incredibly festive, it isn’t whack-you-in-the-face bold.

Smith & Cult Tang Bang Nail Lacquer
$18 at Dermstore

I tried this 8-free polish out impulsively at a nail salon and immediately fell in love. This burnt orange is so perfectly autumnal, spotting it on my nails actually made me squeal last week.

Intergalosstic
$10 at Floss Gloss

This vegan, female-owned nail polish brand is one of my all time favorites. I particularly love this perfect, holographic silver shade called “Intergalosstic,” new as of this year. Though it may not seem like it, it is quite subtle. And before you say, “What are you talking about, it’s literally holographic glitter,” let me add that from a distance, this polish actually looks like a soft, gray silver. It’s only when you see it up close that you realize it has a holographic shimmer. This is my go-to color anytime I do my nails myself. Sparkly polishes always last longer on my nails, and this one does a particularly good job at staying put for at least a week.

El Capitan Wavy Baby
$9 at Floss Gloss

This electrifying blue is super chic and eye-catching. I feel like people shy away from blue polish out of fear that it won’t match with anything. But there’s something about this cobalt blue that contrasts particularly well with grays and blacks (the only colors in my winter closet).

Chanel Le Vernis in Fiction
$28 at Macy’s

This green shade from Chanel, called “Fiction,” is perhaps the most commented-on polish I sport. It’s deeper and moodier than the others on the list, but it also looks different in every light: sometimes it’s true forest green, sometimes it looks almost black. Green doesn’t always feel like the easiest shade to pull off, but this is incredibly elegant and wearable.

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The 7 Colorful Nail Polishes That Cheer Me Up in Winter