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9 Subtle Things Your Nail Polish Color Reveals About You

Updated: Jun. 08, 2022

Here's why neon feels youthful and a clear shellack means you've got business to attend to.

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Pearly pink marks you as a professional

Light pink is the ultimate neutral of the nail polish world. The color is perfect for any office environment, season, or occasion, and always looks clean and appropriate. Wearing a pearly shade indicates that you value professionalism and always strive to look put together.

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Red conveys classic glamour

Hard to ignore, red nail polish shows the world that you’re confident and ready to stand out. Nothing’s flirtier than a shade with orange undertones in the summer (a standby for celebs like Marilyn Monroe and Scarlett Johansson) and a burgundy hue in the winter. As far as bright polishes go, red is still a classic. Don’t be afraid to rock it at the office, says Levo League.

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White means you’re a blank slate

A clean white lacquer leaves you open to endless possibility. The color looks fresh and airy in summer and crisp and classy in winter. Because a white manicure shows cracks and chips easily, wearing it tells people you put time and effort into your appearance. If white nail polish becomes your go-to color, expect to be at the salon often. If your friends like to be pampered, they’ll love these self-care gifts. 

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iStock/Andreas Herpens

Clear says, “I care, but I’m busy.”

It’s always better to go bare than to have chipped polish. And some weeks, it’s best to skip high-maintenance colors altogether. A clear shellack tells people you care about your appearance and pay attention to detail, but are pressed for time.

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Artistic designs spark creativity

A daring manicure tells people you’re not afraid of taking risks and that you value your individuality. It also shows that you’re willing to spend time at the salon. Chevron and floral nails aren’t for women whose goal is to get in and out of the salon as quickly as possible.

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Gem tones are classic with a twist

Sapphire blues, emerald greens, and amethyst purples are all a bit trendier than classic pinks and reds, but not as out there as nail art and neon. If they feel too bright for your fingers, try them on your toes.

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Neon signals spontaneity

If you work in a conservative, or even mildly conservative office, save the neon tones for vacations and time off. Bright colors can feel overly youthful, and when not done well, can even look cheap.

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Nude is low-maintenance

Nude shades look pretty and polished in the most understated way. Think of these bieges and creams as the more modern version of pearly pink.

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Black fuels your inner femme fatale

In a similar way that black clothing conveys power and authority, black polish shows you’re not someone to be messed with. For a more understated alternative, try navy blue or grey. Both colors look sleek and will match nearly everything in your closet.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest