Nature-inspired nail colours are the key trend this spring and summer. “Warm sunbeam tones, from sand and tan, to cream, clay and coffee browns, as well as coral, are big,” explains nail expert Jocelyn Petroni. “But if you prefer something moodier, don’t be afraid of using darker shades that are usually reserved for the cooler months.”

“We don’t want to be too matchy-matchy”

Petroni’s advice? Keep nails short and always “use a super-glossy topcoat to match the glow of summer”. A neutral that’s perfectly matched to your skin tone is a fail-safe option, and there are a few tricks to follow if you want to complement ageing hands. “Always wear colours that are reflected in your skin tone – this is the golden rule to follow as we age,” says Petroni. “I would steer away from highly pearlised polishes, which can create an overall aged look. Stick to clean, bright, bold and highly pigmented shades. Avoid anything fluorescent at all costs.”

As for that old rule about matching your mani and pedi, Petroni notes: “A completely coordinated mani and pedi can have the opposite effect and look bland and ageing, so we don’t want to be too matchy-matchy. Besides, nails are about celebrating your individuality, so mix and match as you wish, and try something like neutral toes with bright orange fingers.” And, of course, polished nails look best with healthy hands and nails. So look after those cuticles and always keep a rich hand cream nearby.

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• “A slightly rounded nail shape always looks polished,” confirms Petroni.

• If you prefer long nails, keep them feminine with rounded tips, and avoid blunt, square ends, or extensions.

• Long-term, synthetic treatments such as gel manicures are not good for nails. “Take time off between appointments and switch between gel and natural polish to restore your natural nail health,” she suggests.

Words by Sherine Youssef for Stella