When I do my nails each week, I pick my polish color based on whichever shade grabs my attention at that given moment. It wasn’t until I had a color reading that I learned you can actually use your nail polish color to channel different energies.
I’d heard about colors’ effect on your mood before, and about people decorating their windows or painting their walls with certain shades accordingly. But a recent Zoom session with Walaa, a certified color therapist, schooled me on how you can use the color of your manicure to channel certain things you’re looking for in your life, like amplifying emotions or helping you to de-stress — which, as a beauty editor and nail polish aficionado, obviously speaks to me.
The Meaning Behind Your Nail Polish Color
How does your mani color choice go beyond just looking pretty? According to Walaa, it’s all due to each shade’s ability to tap into your subconscious. “We give a lot of information about who we are and our mental and emotional state with the colors we choose to wear,” she told me, leading me to wonder what my penchant for swamp green shades is conveying to people (her take: green aligns with your heart’s desires and self-love). “Color reflects personalities and communicates from our subconscious to others and tells them how we feel and think.” On the mood front, she said different shades can lift your spirit (yellow, for example) or help process emotions (like orange) — so, depending on what color you’ve surrounded yourself with at any given time, the hue is “constantly sending a message to you and your energy,” said Walaa.
The magic of using color on your nails versus, say, your desktop background or T-shirt, is that it’s right there in front of you — so you’re getting a constant dose of that hue’s energetic powers. “You look at the colors every time you’re looking at your hands, and you’re reminded of the feeling that color brings to you and the intention you put behind it,” said Walaa.
My Prescribed Manicure Colors
To determine what shade my life calls for right now, Walaa gave me a color reading, which felt like a hybrid of an astrology and aura reading rolled into one. After telling her my birthday (I’m an Aquarius, FWIW), she told me the two hues she recommends: blue and yellow. A huge feeling of relief washed over me that she didn’t say nude (I refuse to wear what I consider boring colors).
“We give a lot of information about who we are and our mental and emotional state with the colors we choose to wear.”
I looked down at my fingertips, which I had just painted a robin egg-blue the day before. When I tell her this, Walaa knowingly nodded: “You picking blue is your subconscious saying this is the frequency and wavelength that’s connected to your thoughts and feelings,” she said. “Blue is about listening — we cannot speak our truth without listening to our own.”
And, according to Walaa, I’m in a “yellow year” and should be painting my nails that color. “This is when the world conspires and says to find that inner strength within yourself — not by asking other people for help, but by depending on your own power,” she told me. “You’re at a very interesting point in your journey that calls for the inner woman warrior that’s inside you.” Well, considering the fact that I started a new job several months ago, she’s not wrong. Combined with blue, Walaa says my mani should be able to help me channel both my confidence and my voice.
“Yellow helps us tap into our inner sunshine and confidence when in touch with your authentic self,” she explained. “And blue helps us listen to that voice. Both colors together help us find the courage to be who we are in the world unapologetically.” Well, that sounded fine to me.
How I Used My Manicure To Amplify Different Energies
Immediately after my Zoom meeting with Walaa, I prepped my nails for a fresh mani. I chose bright, spring-y shades in the colors she recommended: CND’s Vinylux in Smile Maker (a pastel yellow) for my left hand and Chance Taker (a soft periwinkle blue) for my right. Though periwinkle is one of my fave nail polish colors, I can’t recall ever wearing yellow on my fingertips — but I was pleasantly surprised it looked cute, even on my pale skin.
Maybe it was a placebo effect, but I told myself I was capable of conquering everything I had to do... and then I did it.
As someone who’s typing on a computer practically 24/7, my nails are in my direct line of vision for the majority of the day. During a week that had particularly dreary, rainy weather, my bright, happy manicure instilled a pop of levity into my life. I’m not sure if it was the specific shades (especially since I tend to exclusively rock bright nail colors) but looking down at my hands worked as a sort of reminder that time is passing — not in a dark or existential way, but in a comforting sense that gave me the strength to push through whatever obstacle I was facing at that given moment.
My nail polish color experiment also happened to take place on a week chock-full of extra projects on my to-do list as well as strategic planning. In other words: I needed my inner woman warrior. One morning, when I found myself feeling overwhelmed and frazzled by my tasks that were due by the end of the day, I put my cheery yellow and blue nails in front of my face, hoping the colors would work some confidence-boosting magic. Maybe it was a placebo effect, but I told myself I was capable of conquering everything I had to do... and then I did it.
I can’t say for sure that my yellow and blue manicure gave me superpowers. That said, science backs the effect of color on your mood and even your cognitive function. My take? Wear your favorite nail polish shades — and re-paint whenever your mani chips — and enjoy your pretty fingertips.
Elliot, A. (2015). Color and psychological functioning: a review of theoretical and empirical work. Frontiers in Psychology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4383146/
Kurt, S. (2014). The Effects of Color on the Moods of College Students. SAGE Open Access Journal. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244014525423