1. Shine on.
When picking out a dark nail polish in the summer, choose a rich, opaque crème and layer a high-gloss top coat on top. More light reflection will keep your manicure looking beautiful and clean, not dreary.
2. Round it out.
Play off the severity of the polish shade with a nail shape that is shorter and rounder. Long, square nails can be oh-so lovely, but when you put them in a dark shade during the summer, they can be, in the words of Tim Gunn, a whole lot of “look.” If you want to keep your length, opt for an almond-shape nail to balance out the dark hue.
3. Get rich.
The deeper and richer the color, the more “neutral” it will read—thus the more it will complement your skin and the season. So save the muddier, more muted colors for fall and winter, and seek out those deep aubergines, rich raspberries, super-saturated navys, dark grays, intense greens, and jet blacks for summer.
4. Strike a balance.
When you wear a dark nail, consider what else you’ll be wearing, and treat your manicure like any other accessory. Would you be able to wear a dark shoe, handbag, or necklace with the outfit? Then you’ll totally be able to pull off a dark nail—as long as you keep it in balance. Keep your look from veering toward goth territory by pairing dark with light: wear your rich burgundy manicure with a pale pink dress, or your jet black nails with white jeans. Layering on the metallic rings or bright woven bracelets is another gorgeous way to take the edge off a dark mani.
5. Cover your base
Never skip the base coat! Even if you’re not concerned about the dark polish staining your nails, a base coat serves another essential purpose—one that applies to all polish colors, but is especially important for the darker hues. The base coat grabs onto the pigment, holding these darker, heavier pigments onto your nails and helping prevent chips—which are especially noticeable when you’re wearing a darker shade.
6. Own it.
At the end of the day, style rules were made to be broken, and nail polish is only temporary, so why sweat it? Whether you want to show off your inner wild child, add a glamorous accent to your outfit, or just come off a little bit mysterious, dark nail polish can be as versatile and multifaceted as you are. So regardless of the season, wear the polish you want to wear, and wear it with pride.