09/07/2012 02:05 pm ET Updated Jan 03, 2013

Fall Nail Colors 2012: How To Wear This Season's Dark & Dreamy Polish Hues (PHOTOS)

In just a few weeks, there will be a chill in the air signaling the beginning of fall. But you don't have to wait until it's chunky heels and sweater-wearing weather to outfit your nails in autumn's rich nail polish colors.

Add a stroke of sexiness to your manicure with romantic shades of red. Or go regal with deep purple. If you are searching for a polish that's a bit more in tune with nature, try dark green, brown or blue. But after seeing First Lady Michelle Obama sport greige nails at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, we foresee the cool color extending its moment in the spotlight.

To help you ease into fall nail colors, we asked eco-friendly celebrity manicurist Jenna Hipp (who has worked with stars like Cindy Crawford, Eva Longoria, Michelle Williams and Miley Cyrus) for her top tips and tricks, including what shade looks amazing on every complexion and the best formula to shine up your mani. And keep scrolling down to preview the season's hottest nail polish collections from Chanel, OPI, Essie, Zoya and more.

When going to the dark side, it's all in the preparation
Dark shades should be used to enhance the nail, not cover up a lazy prep job. Make sure nails are trimmed, shaped, scrubbed with soap and wiped down with an alcohol swab before applying the base coat. The base will keep the polish from spreading into the cuticles and prevent the paint from chipping. Seal with a super shiny top coat every couple of days to keep polish looking brand new, and moisturize cuticles daily.

Test it out on your toesies
If you’re unsure about a dark nail color, try the shade on toes first so you can have a chance to get used to it. Notice the change in different lighting -- indoor and outdoor -- and if you love it on toes, don’t be shy to try it for your next manicure. Not an expert painter? Now’s the time to treat yourself to a trip to the nail salon.

A richer (and unexpected) nail color = a new attitude
Try the oh-so-trendy fade mani by blending a mossy green with deep emerald for a subtle, yet stunning transition. A dark, vampy red looks beautiful on all skin tones and is dramatic, especially when nails have a touch of length and are shaped to a point. Feeling fun? Boost your complexion and mood with a denim blue cream polish. And while a mustard-orange nude sounds odd, it looks much better on and provides an instant vintage flare that whips you right back to the early '70s.

Say goodbye to glitter and hello to metallic
Metallic being the key word here -- go for this finish instead of a chunky glitter as the crushed formula is much more chic and easy to wear. Rock out with dark grey metallic steel or keep it pretty and sweet with a pearlescent soft pink. Metallic polishes provide a shiny finish that is a perfect accessory to jewelry or a dress.

What nail colors will you paint on this season? Will you stick with dark reds, greens and blues? Or switch things up with pearlescent and metallic shades? Tell us in the comments section.

For more of Jenna's tips and expert advice on fall trends, don't miss her collection launching September 10.

Meanwhile, head over to The Daily Beast for a roundup of fall's hottest runway trends.

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Fall Nail Colors 2012