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Nailing it down - Shorter, natural tips are the way to go

April 29, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Ladies, ever wonder whether your style is up-to-date? If your clothes offer you no clues, your fingernails might hold the answer.

Super-long, super-fake nails are an indication that your style might be out of touch. So is wearing super-dark nail polish in the springtime, beauty experts say.

"No longer than a quarter inch," said Cristy Emerick, owner of Studio B Hair & Nails in Hagerstown. "And I've noticed recently that more and more women prefer to work with their natural nails at a length that is functional."

In the beauty biz, nail trends are often dictated by the clothing high-end designers are sending down the catwalks. The dominant colors this season are a variety of blues, berry-flavored pinks and purples, and a greenish-gray color called "opal gray," according to a Pantone Inc. survey of the colors high-end clothing designers used in their spring 2007 collections at New York's Fashion Week.

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Pantone Inc., a New Jersey-based paint- and color-product company, issues a "Fashion Color Report," which surveys the colors fashion designers use for the spring and fall seasons.

Natural nails also are en vogue.

"I'm finding more people are going for the natural nails," said Emerick, the Hagerstown salon owner. "People don't have time for the upkeep (for longer nails)."

To be clear, when they say natural nails, manicurists don't mean polish free, Emerick said. They mean they're not using acrylics, tips and other add-ons.

According to a recent survey conducted by Nailpro, a trade publication, more clients are requesting natural-nail manicures. The 2006 report surveyed 1,500 nail technicians who, on average, saw a 20 percent increase in the number of clients requesting natural-nail manicures between 2004 and 2005.

So, it should come as little surprise that nail polish manufacturers are targeting the busy, "independent woman" and are cranking out colors that are "lighter, brighter and fresher," said Essie Weingarten, owner of New York-based Essie Cosmetics, which specializes in nail color.

The company's six-color summer collection includes a deep-lilac "Huckle Buckle" polish and "Below the Belt" in bright white, among others. Also, silver is "the new black" for nails, Weingarten said.

Polish makers at the California-based OPI company are touting colors in pink, plum and coral. Orly, another California-based nail company, has a pale pink color called "Pawn the Ring" in its "Divorce" collection.

The brighter colors of spring contrast with the darker mood of the winter, when The Herald-Mail reported on the season's dark color fashion palette of gray, black and other neutrals.

"We had such a dark, wonderful fall ... winter was dark or neutral and nothing in between," Weingarten said, of the nail color options that season. "Everyone's probably going to do a 180 and go with something different."

Naming the trends

·A new take on French manicures, with colored tips instead of the standard white.

·Shorter, more natural-looking nails. Long, fake-looking nails are faux pas.

·Silver, white, pinks and sheers are the "it" colors.

·For those who want designs on their nails, this season's images play on the "mod" look. Think '60s pop art, graphics and bold, block prints.

- Sources: Cristy Emerick, owner of Studio B Hair & Nails in Hagerstown; Essie Weingarten, owner of Essie Cosmetics in New York, www.essie.com; Creative Nail Design Inc., www.creativenaildesign.com; Misa Cosmetics, www.misacosmetics.com.

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