Facts: the pandemic has put a serious crimp in everyone’s style. With nail salons shut down, a lot of glam girls have resorted to learning how to apply gel nail polish at home to keep their hands looking stylish and professional. That’s cool and all, but it’s no substitute for that eye-popping wall of color at your local salon. If you’re tired of the same old same old nails, it’s time to spice up your at-home manicure with some new colors. Here are 12 gel nail polish colors to add some sparkle to your collection.
1. The Basic Nude Nail
So clean and understated! Whether you call it taupe, nude, beige, or some other variation, it’s the most neutral of neutral gel nail shades. It’s perfect for job interviews and visits with your most conservative aunt.
2. The Pretty in Pink Nail
For those days when you’re feeling a little Molly Ringwald, you can’t go wrong with a sweet-and-innocent pink. We love this pastel cotton candy pink gel top coat that’s a suitable top coat for gels, acrylics, or your natural nails.
3. The Basic Black Nail
Whether you use it on its own as a statement, or as a background for stunning nail art, you absolutely need a basic black nail polish in your repertoire. Gelfavor’s got you covered—at least from tip to cuticle—with the smoothest, shiniest black nail gel we’ve seen.
4. The Pure White Nail
Southern Living declared white nail polish “the most popular neutral nail color of 2020”—and with good reason. It’s flattering on everyone, it’s not as boring as pink or nude, and it’s the ideal background color for nail tattoos and nail gems.
5. The Fire Engine Red Nail
Sleek, shiny, and totally femme fatale, fire engine red is a color that deserves a place in every girl’s nail polish collection. Roonsalar has not one, not two, but six gorgeous deep, rich reds that will make your fingers dance. Bonus: if you love the glam of gold leaf stencil design, deep red can’t be beat as a base color.
6. The Cat’s Eye Nail
Kick your manicure up a few notches with this season’s hottest nail look—cat’s eye nails. The trendy nail style relies on special nail gel polish and a magnet, and it delivers some absolutely stunning looks. It takes a little practice to master—which makes it even more fun to use. We’re cheating on this one, since this is actually a technique rather than a shade, but honestly, you so need this in your home nail salon setup. The LilyCute kit includes everything you need to get started, including five different nail gel colors and a magnet.
7. The Dark Green Nail
Dark green—pine, deep avocado, emerald, jade—is the top trending nail gel color for fall and winter months. The rich color brings a lush, luxurious note into your everyday manicure—and it shows off nail art and glitter beautifully. Beetles Carnival Evergreen Perfect Six collection gives you six dark green shades so you can experiment to your heart’s content.
8. The Glow-in-the-Dark Nail
The right manicure can light up your life—literally. Glow-in-the-dark nail gel colors are another hot trend that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Grab a FairyGlo Gel Kit now and practice your nail art before your next concert. Each kit comes with an assortment of colors for you to play with.
9. The Chrome Nail
Mirror nails are all the rage, and now you can get the chrome effect at home with Saviland Chrome Nail Powder. Again, it’s technically not a shade of nail polish—but it can really change up your manicure options. The dip powder is available in two different kits—silver and gold—each with six different shades. Apply it over a black base coat for the most dramatic effect—but it works over any color!
10. The Chameleon Nail
UV color changing nail gel colors put magic at the tips of your fingers. The pigment in the nail gel reacts to temperature changes, just like the mood rings of the 1970s. You can get chameleon nails in a range of colors, but we’re rather enamored of Allenbelle’s Multicolor option, which gives you six very different colors in one kit, so you can paint each nail a different color and still have one left over.
Get Allenbelle Chameleon Nail Polish Gel at Amazon for about $17
11. The Candy Color Nail
Candy colors are fresh, kicky, and a lot of fun. The pastel-like shades are just a little bit extra, and come in a full rainbow that looks like they spilled from a bag of Easter M&Ms. We favor the lavender, but why confine yourself when you can get a full unicorn rainbow set for less than $15?
12. The Patterned Nail
Again, it’s not actually a color to add to your collection—it’s a whole set of tools that will really extend your manicure game. Pair it with any cat’s eye nail polish shade to turn your basic manicure into a work of art. The magnet kit comes with nine different magnet tools so you can easily create stripes, hearts, chevrons, diamonds, and more, with just a little practice.
Complete your manicure self-care kit with a nail dryer or a complete nail storage station—from our blog post about self-care budget tips—and you’ll have everything you need to indulge yourself in an at-home mani experience. We can’t say you won’t miss your nail salon at all—after all, there’s no substitute for the extra pampering—but your nails will definitely look as if you’re sneaking in those nail salon visits.
Shop the colors here:
- Vernis Semi Permanent UV Nail Polish Gel
- Pretty in Pink
- Gelfavor Soak-Off Gel Nail Polish
- Venalisa Coat Color in Shade #914
- Roonsalar Nail Gel
- Lilycute Cat Eye Nail Kit
- Carnival Evergreen Nail Gel Colors
- FairyGlo Nail Gel kit
- Saviland Chrome Nail Powder
- Allenbelle Chameleon Nail Polish Gel
- Azurebeauty Gel Polish Set in Candy Colors
- Nail Magnet Kit
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
Deb Powers is a freelance writer who specializes in home, education, and lifestyle topics. She draws on her experiences as a teacher, mother, grandmother, and all-around creative spirit to help others achieve their own goals.