Valentine’s Day is usually equated with various cheesy traditions: red roses, chocolate candy, champagne, extravagant dinner plans (pre-COVID, that is), and manicured nails with mini heart designs all over them. If heart nails are your thing, that’s perfectly alright, but if I’m being honest, they’re not really mine.
So this year, I went on a mission to find a way to participate in Valentine’s Day festivities while still feeling like myself. That means a cool, polished outfit for whatever my socially distanced V-Day plans will entail and an equally elevated manicure to go with it. I’m talking eye-catching hues of satin-lined red, glossy baby pink, and bold variations of purple that are appropriate for the occasion without feeling like they’re trying too hard. Below are nine of the coolest Valentine’s Day nail-color ideas I currently have on my “to paint ASAP” list. Keep scrolling!
A classic wash of red is perfectly chic all year-round, but it’s especially festive once Valentine’s Day rolls around. Plus, it’s probably one of the most universally flattering shades you can wear on your nails, no questions asked. Essie’s Lady In Red is a cult-favorite blue-red, and it’s guaranteed to stay chip-free and glossy for at least one full week. Let’s retire the notion that the prettiest Valentine’s Day nail colors automatically fall into the red, pink, and purple camps. We’ve been obsessing over Olive and June’s sheer sparkling numbers since the holiday season, and you can bet we’ll be carrying this pretty light-silver number right through February and beyond. (We’ll take a side of these feathers, too!) I always think of hot pink as red’s slightly more fun, slightly wilder sister. No, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s attention grabbing, it’s mood boosting (I dare you not to feel happy the instant you look down at your nails!), and it’s one cliché I feel fine imbibing come February. (I’m also currently head over heels for everything Static Nails, from its glassy lacquers to its eye-catching press-on nails.) This shade called Jelly Bomber is slightly more muted than your average hot pink, and it’s especially stunning on deep skin tones. It’s still winter, and yes, the days are short and dark, so I’m still very much on the dark and moody nail polish train. That said, I love something that’s more purple than black, and this fairytale plum called Fable by JinSoon is one color I just can’t quit. Plus, I love that it’s way less expected than your normal pinks and reds. Can’t decide between hot pink and purple this Valentine’s Day? Fuchsia is the prettiest compromise. (We’ll be forever obsessed with the below formula from Orly—be it February or July.) This muted shade of red still feels festive and Valentine’s Day-esque, but it’s a more subtle option if a flaming shade or tamale red isn’t your jam. A two-for-one Valentine’s gift from you to you: Chanel (because duh) and a whimsical mauve paint job. (FYI: We’ve heard through the grapevine that mauve is going to be the It nail color of 2021.) Predictable? Perhaps. Alas, nothing says Valentine’s Day like a wispy shade of plush pink. You really can’t go wrong with the classics, and Ballet Slippers is a universally flattering option we recommend again and again. We’d take a creamy white mani over white roses any day. Plus, an opaque shade of white is the perfect glossy neutral that still feels festive sans bright colors if that’s not really your thing. Up next, The 20 Chicest Pink Nail Colors of All Time, Ranked