Summer means sensory overload, in the very best way.
After such a harsh winter and a muted palette, summer feeds our eyes and noses as much as it does our need for change. It's only fitting, then, that one of the greatest joys of the season comes from breaking out the brightest, most beautiful colors.
Gone are the blue jeans, replaced by botanical prints and wildly-colored lipsticks.
And, of course, no summer is complete without the perfect shade of nail polish.
Whether you roast on a beach towel or hide your pale skin under a wide-brimmed hat, a manicure pulls your seasonal look together.
As well-documented polish fiends, we weren't about to let the summer slip away without testing out the best shades for a variety of skin tones. Whether you favor a cherry red or an elegant nude, we've found the polish most flattering for you.
Red polish brings a little flavor into the office.
Fair skin (and shorter nails) calls for a deep red shade, leading us to chose Smith & Cult's blogger-favored polish Kundalini Hustle.
Instead of relying on vampy colors, warmer skin tones should try a polish that's bright, like Essie's Fifth Avenue.
And, on dark skin, an orange-toned shade like Aloha from OPI really pops. As the name might suggest, it's the ideal color to take with you on a tropical vacation.
Bubblegum lacquer is a beach-day win.
Has any pink ever been as perfect as the ubiquitous lawn flamingo? Smith & Cult did its best to capture that very shade in Plastic Beach, a guava-inspired color we felt popped best on fair skin.
For medium skin, the cool, light pink of Sonia Kashuk's Love Story creates an eye-catching contrast at a bargain price.
Finally, the magenta hues of Topshop's Nails in Wonderland brought an effortless cool to our dark-skinned model's fingertips. When it doubt, edge towards purple.
Nude nails are ready for any impromptu happy hour.
Nude polishes are a chance to highlight the best notes in every skin color, which is why they're so universally flattering. Thanks to a pink-tinted nude shade – Smith & Cult's Pillow Pie – our fair model's barely-there tan got a boost.
On medium skin, we opted for Essie's slightly sheer Spin The Bottle, a sandy-colored crowd favorite that has a lengthening, thinning effect on fingers.
Dark skin calls for a caramel-like shade, like Smith & Cult's Feathers/Flesh, a chance to bring in rich tones that come off cool for summer and will also work far into fall.