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This Moody Polish Is Practically A Fall Neutral (& Looks Fab On Short Nails)

Beauty & Health Editor

By Jamie Schneider

Beauty & Health Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.

Image by Ohlamour Studio / Stocksy

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After a recent tussle with a can opener that ended up slicing my nail right off (don’t worry; no stitches necessary), I clipped and filed my long tips down to small squares. I am now a proud member of the short nails club, but I do miss the natural glamour that comes with a longer claw. They were no coffins, but they were elegant! 

On the quest to make my digits look chic (without hindering their growth), I came across black cherry nails. The color was practically made for shorter nails, according to the pros—and it exudes edgy fall energy. 

What are black cherry nails?

“Black cherry nails are a deep, rich, and sophisticated red hue, reminiscent of ripe black cherries,” says Jin Soon Choi, editorial manicurist and founder of JINSoon. The hue has a similar vampy vibe to a wine-colored lacquer, but black cherry tends to look even deeper. Upon first glance you might even deem it dark brown or even black, but when it catches the light just right, you can see some purple and red notes shine through. 

And this moody mix of red, purple, and brown tones makes any nail length and shape look edgy. In fact, according to celebrity manicurist Stephanie Stone, the pigment is practically made for short, natural nails. 

“Since the color is so bold on its own it doesn’t need a lot for it to pop!” she says. Choi seconds the notion: “Short nails, in particular, showcase this color beautifully,” she says, which makes it a fan favorite for fall.  

After all, the rich, versatile hue practically screams autumn: The cool shade certainly suits seasonal wardrobe shifts to darker tones. It pairs just perfectly with a leather jacket, don’t you think? 

And just like the fruit itself, not all black cherry polishes have identical shades. Some contain lighter red or plum notes, while others fall closer to black. There’s a diverse range within the black cherry spectrum, says Choi—and your new favorite shade is ripe for the picking. 

How to master the look

Select your shade (our favorites, above), grab your tools, and proceed with the following:

Prep, cut, and shape the nails: As Choi and Stone mentioned, black cherry polish flatters every nail shape. Squoval, round, almond—the choice is yours. Don’t be afraid to cut them short, either; the shade really sings on short, natural nails. And don’t forget to moisturize those nail beds with cuticle oil. Paint: After a layer of base coat, it’s time to paint. Take it slow, here, since a black cherry polish is pretty noticeable when it spills into the cuticles. I personally find this tip helpful from celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann: “Place the brush about an eighth-inch away from the cuticle. As soon as you see polish flow, pull the brush straight down the center to the tip. Your nails get a bit wider at the side, so apply a little more pressure and let the bristles fan out.” Dress it up: Add glitter, chrome dust, or splatter nail art (white would show up nice!) to add a festive touch. Optional but recommended for extra wow-factor. Top it off: Gloss over a top coat (such as essie’s 85% plant-based base & top coat), and follow up with a new layer every few days to extend the life of your at-home mani. 

The takeaway 

Where are all my fellow short nail gals? Trust me, you will fall in love with black cherry polish. It adds an element of sophistication and glamour to naturally short nails, and the color complements a classic fall color palette. I, for one, will be sporting the moody hue all season long.

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