TMI Tuesday: Dark & Long, Short & Light?

Jen and I have been discussing all things nails this month (obviously) and we keep coming back to this same “rule” that I heard somewhere that states the following:

Dark polish is better for shorter nails, light polish is best for longer nails.

…Did I make this up in some subconscious part of my mind? I mean, logically and aesthetically it makes…sense. But I’d love to hear your opinions on it.

Getting a manicure while drying hair at Francois de Paris, a hairdresser on Eighth Street, 1942 (Source)


I have been following these rules for the last… five years when it comes to my nails. “Stubby” nails always look a little less tiny when they’re a deep purple color, and long nails don’t look very… rawr if they’re lighter in color. Then again, I’ve seen some really beautiful, long, dark nails in my time – these are the important things we have to think about in life.

What do you think?

PS – Here is my latest attempt at having awesome nails:

This is a Wet’n’Wild color (Blazed)! $1.99, can you believe it? Love it!


So what do you think about nail “rules”? Do you follow, or do your own thing when it comes to length & color pairings?

  • Elizabeth

    Truth. One of my favorite looks if I am doing my own nails is Sally Hansen Salon Effects Hollywood Starlet (a dark red) on short nails – as in, don’t even come close to going past my fingertip. Usually I trim them as far down as I can without it hurting (yeesh!) and then let them grow a day, then paint. I actually get a fair number of compliments on the color when my nails are short like that. It’s put-together without being vampy.
    I also apply a coat of topcoat every day for a week, then use nail polish remover and do it all over again. My other fav is dark purple (matte; I cannot get behind shimmer.)

    • Elizabeth

      And by Hollywood Starlet, I of course mean Hollywood Scarlet. Both make sense, I guess?

    • I am a HUGE dark purple junkie!! OPI Lincoln Park After Dark is one of my all time favorites for short nails!

  • No rules. I like so many dif colors I couldn’t limit myself. My nails like to get long(ish) and all one length for like a DAY and then I bust em all. Love that color on you. Heck yeah for cheap nail polish!

  • Given that my nails are usually black and stubby, I unofficially followed the rules. Granted I’ve never been able to grow my nails naturally long! Now I kind of want to try long black nails ;D

  • Overall, I think this rule is ok.
    But then, since one of my hands has long nails and the other short nails, I ALWAYS dismiss this rule on one hand!
    Besides, I think if long nails are not exaggerately long a dark color is beautiful.

  • I think I read that rule about 5 years ago too. I usually wear whatever color I feel like wearing despite those rules. Then again, my nails are kind of in between long and short so I guess a happy medium gets to go both ways?

  • Back in the day, I thought it was only appropriate to wear almost-clear polish on my stubby nails. Now I’m wearing all kinds of crazy colors and nail art — the nails are still stubby!