Although bright corals, pinks, and pastels usually come to mind for summer manicures, this season there is a new color making waves. Brown, a chic and versatile choice, available in caramels, toffees, espressos, nudes, chocolates and so many more shades, will be the perfect upgrade to your typical nail polish color palette, especially if you’re a fan of brown French tip nails. According to Aja Frierson, founder of Habit Cosmetics, brown hues will be everywhere this summer and even transition well into the fall. “Brown is perfect for the warmer months because it compliments your tan,” she shares. “And since brown is actually a neutral, it can really be worn year-round — transitioning nicely into cold weather seasons.”
Brown is also the perfect color for a subtle nail statement that's not too distracting or bright. The expert has one rule, though: match the polish to your skin tone. If you have fair to medium skin tones, go for taupe. For warmer skin with yellow undertones, try caramel colors. And for dark skin and cooler undertones, Frierson encourages rich browns. “To make sure your polish doesn't visually disappear, choose colors that are a couple of shades lighter or darker than your skin tone,” Frierson tells TZR.
The best part about brown polish is the ability to wear it with any nail shape: rounded, almond, square, silhouette, and more. Although you are free to incorporate as many accent nails, nail art, or negative space, the expert highly recommends the brown French tip nail for summer, as they are elegant, yet still playful.
Ahead, scroll for six stand out brown manicure ideas to bring to your next salon appointment. Plus, there are loads of options if you prefer the DIY route.
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If you’re into a relaxing and chill summer, opt for a smooth toffee manicure. Done either as an all-over color or French manicure, this trend incorporates a few lighter shades of brown all swirled together. It is the tonal manicure that will perfectly compliment your brighter summer wardrobe options.
Tamara Di Lullo, education ambassador for nail polish brand CND, recommends chocolate browns on natural length nails, “squoval”, or even short rounds to enhance the shape. And because it is so dark, it also looks great as a French tip. As for skin tone, Salina Neou, StyleSeat nail technician, recommends this for golden brown skin tones as it adds a bit of warmth back to the skin.
Although it might be on the lighter end of the spectrum, light sand paper is still a brown trend to take on this summer. A mixture between taupe and brown with yellow undertones, this hue is universally flattering and will look great on all nail shapes. “This color is great for those with lighter skin tones because it won’t wash out the hands as it is just dark enough to add some warmth,” Neou tells TZR.
Darker browns like cold brew shades that tether on the black side, are great on a wide variety of skin tones. There’s also lots of room to play around with design in your French manicure. To keep your nails looking salon-done, Frierson recommends applying a thin coat of topcoat every day and painting past the edge of your nail. Doing this will help keep your manicure protected and chip-free.
According to Di Lullo, light caramel brown looks great on any nail length. It’s especially tasteful on a French tip for a rich, elegant design. When getting this done at a salon or at-home Julie Kandalec, celebrity nail artist, recommends keeping your hands out of the water both during and after your mani to prevent polish from chipping, and avoiding dust as it tends to settle in quickly when your polish is still wet and can be seen on darker shades.
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