Punchy tangerine manicures are the runaway hit of the year, making the perfect, ultra-flattering shade selection all the more critical
With Pantone’s Tangerine Tango color of the year, juicy hues have been big everywhere. But perhaps the current most popular place for a statement-making burst of orange is on nails. “I love an expertly done orange nail,” says Lea Michele and Michelle Williams’ celebrity nail stylist, Jenna Hipp. “But it’s got to be the right orange for the occasion, the outfit, your makeup and your skin tone. I think of orange as I do red—it’s about finding the right tone and undertones to complement your skin.” Fortunately, the nail wonder knows a lot about coordinating tones (she created the HIPPxRGB line of nude-hued nail foundations and tints), adding that there’s a perfect orange—from coral to poppy to burnt—for most women who seek it.
“With so many updated orange polishes hitting the market, it can be fun and sophisticated,” says Hipp—it doesn’t only say Halloween. But it takes the right attitude. “Orange is not demure. It’s bold and colorful so it requires a like personality.” To dip your toe into the tangerine pool—literally—Hipp suggests starting with an orange pedicure (with a hint of shimmer, Dior’s Sweet Orange is perfect for toes in the sand) or a paler “gateway” hue like Priti’s Gatsby Dahlia, a soft buttery yellow-orange, or Ginger + Liz’s Most Wanted. Getting a little more intense, the manicurist loves the coral, tangerine and peach side of the trend, such as Tom Ford’s Coral Blame and RGB’s Coral.
With such a range of shades, a guideline can be the aesthetic it evokes—or your own mood. “Pastels are fun for anyone: easy and breezy. They’re youthful and make every skin tone look bright and healthy.” As for deeper oranges like Dior’s Aloha, Hipp says they give off a vintage or classic vibe. And of course there’s your own coloring: she suggests Zoya’s soft but bright citrus Arizona on fair skin, the tangerine crème Dermelect Head Turner for medium and olive skin and Revlon’s punchy Tangerine on dark tones. And neon orange, such as American Apparel Neon Coral, makes even the palest skin appear tan, promises Hipp.
While she sees no age limitation to wearing orange shades, Hipp does stress the necessity of the color application being perfect and the nails being the same length, well-manicured and chip-free. “It’s a high-maintenance look. If you’re looking for less maintenance, always go for the lighter, sheer version of any color.” And then there’s an even more statement-making option: matching a juicy lip with citrus nails. “I’m loving Ilia’s Dizzy Gloss that begs for matching nails (with Zoya’s Arizona) people will stop you on the street about. People like positivity, and orange on the nails is a great way to spread a little poppy happiness.”