Sign Language: What Does Your Manicure Style Say About You?

by Janine on 3 September 2012 · 16 comments

Red-and-gold-leaf nails, Ruffian FW 2012, Toronto Fashion Week.

Neon brights, glitter, pastels, magnetic metallics, half-moons, patterns, ombre — creativity abounds when it comes to today’s hottest nail finishes and manicure styles — and they’re all about personal expression. So, what does your go-to mani say about you?

Ruffian FW 2012 at Toronto Fashion Week. Nails by Tips Nail Bar, makeup by CoverGirl pro Greg Wencel for CoverGirl.

Exuberant Nail Art Textured finishes, intricate designs, magnetic metallics and ombre nails tend to signify two things: you like to be different, and you work in a creative environment, says Leeanne Colley, a top nail artist and owner of Tips Nail Bar, a hotbed of creative manicure finishes in Toronto. Or maybe you’re a pop star — at the recent MuchMusic Video Awards, and then at the premiere of Katy Perry: Part of Me, singer Carly Rae Jepson sported an outrageous custom nail-art manicure by Leeanne. (Here Jepson and Perry geek out about their nails.)

A playful purple mani worn by Tips client Ashley for her wedding day.

Bright Bold Colour  Although generally you avoid intricate detail on your nails, you go fearlessly for high-impact colour. A solid shade, empty moon or single dot is your nail-art speed. “You don’t need your nails in a spotlight, but you have a fun, outgoing personality that translates to your nails,” says Leeanne. “Bright colour is such a trend that almost everyone is wearing it now. Even career women are going to work in brights and neons.” And brides, such as Ashley, whose mani is featured in the photo above, are more willing to choose colour for their wedding-day nails.

Or maybe you just really love Maybelline New York Baby Lips balm in Cherry Me. (This was not on purpose, I swear.)

Leeanne is the pro spokesperson for Revlon nail lacquer and a busy editorial nail artist on photoshoots for national fashion/beauty and lifestyle magazines, such as The Kit, Fashion, Elle Canada, Flare, Canadian Living and Chatelaine. Interestingly, she’s faithful to the solid-shade bold mani. “I love nail art and do it all day, but don’t wear it myself. Really, I just get stuck on the colours I love.”

A pale pink, subtle-shimmer mani — an unusual choice for me.

Pale Pinks and Nudes  While some people who continue to reach for soft, subtle shades are perhaps resistant to change, Leeanne says that often these choices are career-related. “You likely work in a very conservative, old-boys-network environment, and don’t want to take the chance that your nails might undermine your authority.” Or you’re trying something new for a story, and the only colour they have is a pale, subtle-shimmer pink. Or your new school has asked you to sign a contract that stipulates low-key neutral nails, as is the case with my 11-year-old niece Erin.

Whatever our manicure style, “a lot of us really go on what gets noticed by other women,” notes Leeanne. “I have clients who choose a shade on one visit, then at their next say, “I don’t want that colour again.” When I ask why, the answer is always, ‘because no-one complimented me on it.’

Chloe Comme Parris FW 2012 at Toronto Fashion Week. Nails, Tips Nail Bar; makeup, Maybelline New York, lead makeup artist Grace Lee.

Which nail category are you?

And I have to ask, because in other arenas the subject seems a tad controversial: would you wear a bold shade for your wedding day?

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Health Is Wealth
3 September 2012 at 4:31 pm
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

YouLookHotToday 3 September 2012 at 10:50 am

My manicure says a coupla stuffs.

First and foremost, it says to traditional french tips “Ha! In your face!”

Second and secondmost, it says my sister and I are twins.

Oh! And as for wedding nails, I say choose what makes you happy — after all, it’s your day and if you’re the bride, you can wear whatever colour you love. You want purple? Yay! Have purple! Sparkles? Okay! Hello Kitty nails? Okay!

As a guest though, I think it wise to wear neutrals on the hands — no overshadowing the bride. Toes? Anything goes.


Janine 3 September 2012 at 11:16 am

Wow, your mani is a talker.

I like your view on bridal nails — some people have been rather unkind in other places I’ve posted that photo. As for guests, nails are small, so I’m of the opinion that it’s okay to be true to yourself there, too; hard to steal a bride’s thunder with a mani, no matter how fab it is.


Kelly G. 3 September 2012 at 11:42 am

Seriously? People got catty about purple wedding nails? Saying it wasn’t traditional? What?

C’mon. Tell…


Janine 3 September 2012 at 11:55 am

Well, a little. I think some people forget that’s a real person in the photo — at least a real person’s hand — and that she might see their comments. I think “not a fan” could suffice, but a couple were a bit more harsh than that. But maybe I’m just being too sensitive on Ashley’s behalf.


Melody 3 September 2012 at 11:34 am

I LOVE the red and gold nails! the only thing I would change is more red and less gold. It looks rich and elegant.


Janine 3 September 2012 at 11:41 am

It’s gold leaf, Melody! Cool, right? An easy DIY — here’s a link to a video Fashion did; it shows a bit of the technique:


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