Summer nail trends have always been predictable. Red, pink, any kind of pastel, maybe a French tip, and rarely anything else. Yet, over the past few months a number of new nail polish brands have emerged, offering only shades once reserved for the deepest depths of winter. Faculty and Crete, in particular, are two nail polish lines with a pared-back catalogue of dark green, greys, and blacks between them.  

man wearing crete black nail polish and holding crete nail polish stick
Crete’s black nail polish 

Both brands are, in fact, the product of another trend – men’s nail polish – which, until recently, has been a relatively underdeveloped arena. There is admittedly no inherent difference between nail polishes made for a masculine audience and nail polishes made for a feminine audience.

Yet, the stigma that still exists around men painting their nails and the rise of a ‘new wave of masculinity’ in grooming means that there is certainly a need for brands that celebrate this particular subset of the beauty and grooming industry. 

j hannah eames nail polish shade
J Hannah Eames nail polish shade

Still, these polishes can be used by anyone, and we think they offer refreshing inspiration to those looking to do something different with their nails this season, no matter their gender identification. 

Faculty and Crete weren’t the first brands to create gender-inclusive green and black shades. All of Gucci Beauty’s products are unisex and its tight edit of five polish colours includes a straightforward black shade and a vibrant slime-y green. They’re some of our favourites, as are J Hannah’s earthy chartreuse shade, Eames, and YSL’s glitter-packed Holographic Black. 

Lady Fancy Nails green and clear swirling pattern nail art
Eda Levenson’s green nail art designs are perfect for summer

Keep your eyes peeled for the launch of J.Hannah’s newest shade on 4 August, called Compost, inspired by what market researches have dubbed ‘the ugliest color in the world.’ If black and green summer nails are all about embracing the jolie laide then this ‘drab’ shade is the crème de la crème of alternative seasonal colours.

To fans of nail art, we recommend getting your hands on Eda Levenson’s nail stickers for ManiMe. The founder of NY-salon Lady Fancy Nails, Levenson has created easy-to-apply stickers in swirling green and black patterns that will have nails looking manicure fresh in no time. §