Although hands are frequently tucked inside gloves during the winter, having color on your fingertips is an instant mood-booster during the colder months — and can actually help keep your nails healthy. “The need to use heat to stay warm [during the winter] means more dry air and negative impact on your nails,” says Anastasia Totty, LeChat Nails Educator. “That is why we see more breakage and dryness of cuticles, and why I recommend regular manicures.” And yes, certain colors are synonymous with winter, like holiday red, deep moody shades, and sparkles. But brown nail polish is quickly taking the lead for the season, with options like espresso, chocolate, cinnamon, and mocha proving just how versatile the color is for nails.
1. Boba Tea Browns
An ode to the boba lover, milk tea brown looks great on lighter to medium skin tones. To keep this color from looking too dull, Brittney Boyce, Celebrity Nail Artist and Founder of NAILS OF LA, suggests applying a top coat every two to three days and always use cuticle oil to keep your nails hydrated.
2. Chocolate Brown
Chocolate brown is the perfect calming and grounding color for winter, and according to Sanchez McCullough, it can compliment any skin tone as it’s a fairly neutral tone. Totty also suggests chocolate brown for classic oval or square nail shapes.
3. Charcoal Browns
Great for medium to dark skin tones, charcoal brown teeters between brown and nearly black — and is the perfect contrast for the season. Boyce recommends wearing the color with oval or almond-shaped nails or a ballerina shaped nail for a more dramatic look.
4. Mocha Brown
With little red undertone, mocha brown looks great on both light and darker skin tones. “With light skin, the contrast is very striking,” says Boyce. “With dark skin tones, it’s a nude that matches their skin tone nicely.” And since dark nail polishes have a tendency to make smaller fingers look shorter, Emily H. Rudman, founder of Emilie Heathe, suggests wearing mocha brown on longer nails to help elongate the finger.
5. Light Espresso
According to celebrity manicurist, Elle, espresso is great for fair to olive skin as the subtle rust undertone won’t read as black on the nail. And if you’re looking for a way to change up your brown look, Sanchez McCullough recommends different finishes. “Try using a matte top coat over a jeweled toned brown, for a completely different look,” the expert says.