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5 Nail Polish Colors Every Girl Should Own


Nail Polish
Photo Credit

Whenever I have some extra money to spare, I always treat myself to a manicure and/or pedicure. One of my favorite things to do at the salon is look at the giant wall of nail polishes and search for the perfect color. However, as much as I love finding the right shade of polish at the salon, I actually only own a few bottles myself. On the other hand, I have friends who own huge bags filled with dozens of nail polishes.

But whatever the size of your nail polish collection, there are some colors that every girl should own. So here are our top 5 must-have colors, as well as some tips for finding your perfect shade:

#1 A Classic Red

Red Polish

Product Information: Love & Beauty’s Rose, Chanel’s Dragon, OPI’s Big Apple Red, Essie’s Who’s She Red

Red is a timeless shade for your nails; it’s the perfect basic choice that works for both formal and everyday events. A classic red will never go out of style.

#2 A Pretty Pink

Pink Polish

Product Information: Elf’s Bubblegum Pink, M.A.C.’s Steamy, ULTA’s Berry-Go-Round, ORLY’s Basket Case

Pink polish screams feminine and is always a popular pick at salons. The color is a great choice for spring or summer and brighter shades really pop against a (hopefully faux) tan.

#3 A No-Nonsense Neutral

Neutral Polish

Product Information: China Glaze’s Linger, Maybelline’s Blushing Bride, OPI’s Malaysian Mist, Revlon’s  Barely Peach

A neutral shade is the perfect polish to wear if you want a barely-there look that will never appear over-the-top. Natural shades of polish are also great choices for conservative workplaces or interviews.

#4 A Mysterious Dark Color

Dark Polish

Product Information: Essie’s Material Girl, ORLY’s Liquid Vinyl, OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark, OPI’s Yoga-ta Get This Blue!

As soon as September hits, I usually switch over to darker-colored polishes and stick with them throughout most of fall and winter. There are lots of options here when it comes to shades – you can go with a bold black or a polish with blue, purple, red or brown undertones. Dark colors look chicest on shorter nails, and do require more maintenance than lighter hues because chips are more obvious.

#5 A Color That Makes You Happy

Happy Color

Product Information: China Glaze’s Turned Up Turquoise, Love & Beauty’s Plum Glitter, Pop Beauty’s Radioactive, Champagne by Models Own

I’m sure most of you know that color can affect your mood, so I think that everyone should own at least one polish color that just makes you happy. It can be your favorite color, a metallic or something with some sparkle. You could even try a trendy polish, if that’s your style!

Tips for Finding a Perfect Shade of Nail Polish

The key to finding the perfect nail polish color is to locate the shade that works best with your skin’s undertones. OPI’s website has a tool for doing this (found under ‘try it on’), and although it can only be used for the company’s nail polishes, it will give you a good idea of the general shades that would work best on you.

It’s also important to remember that polish often looks different on your nails then it does inside the bottle. To know what I’m getting before I buy, I check online for reviews or pictures to see if anyone has tried the polish in question. All Lacquered Up is my favorite place to look; the woman who runs it has tried thousands of different nail polishes, gives honest opinions and takes lots of pictures. It’s a fantastic resource.

What do you think?

Do you agree with these choices? What are your must-have colors? Do you own a ton of nail polish? What are your favorite nail polish brands? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know!

Posted on on May 30, 2010 / Filed Under: Beauty & Hair / Tags: , , , , , ,

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50 Responses to “5 Nail Polish Colors Every Girl Should Own”

  1. 1
    May 30th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I mostly have happy colors (I think the only mysterious color I own is Midnight in NY by Sally Hansen, actually…), but I love this list anyway.

    One thing I have to add is to look for swatches of people actually wearing the nailpolish of your choice. Often times, these swatches are included in the product images of, as people add them themselves. I mainly say that because I’ve noticed the Try It On feature on OPI doesn’t always accurately depict the colors – I once “tried on” a shade and didn’t realize I already owned the color because I didn’t even recognize it.

  2. 2
    May 30th, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Lovely! I am looking for the perfect black nail polish- I just really like the look of them.

  3. 3
    May 30th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    perfect! i own all those colors and i LOVE them :D

  4. 4
    May 30th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Yay a nail polish article! I’ve been trying to find a colour to match a light teal skirt today, what colour would any of you guys pick out? :)

  5. 5
    May 30th, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    how about a bold orange, lottie??? or a bright yellow? unless your skin doesn’t suit yellow well, mine certainly doesn’t (makes me look jaundiced). Or even a bright purple? i like purple with teal :)

  6. 6
    May 30th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    See, I don’t have any “must have” colors… I must have ANY color! I think nail polish is my one beauty obsession.

    Lottie, I’m with Laura… yellow and purple were my first choices. Or silver/gold, depending on your accessories.

  7. 7
    May 30th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Haha Laura the jaundiced comment made me laugh :P
    I don’t think i’m brave enough for orange.. definitely going to give a yellow or purple a go.. and probably gold (not at once though ) Thanks!

  8. 8
    May 30th, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    omg this post makes me happy.cuz i have every single one of them! =)

    Awesome post!!

  9. 9
    May 30th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    My favorite nail color of all time…Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dry in Cinna Snap (awesome dark red shade!!)

  10. 10
    May 30th, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    These must-haves definitely mirror my own little collection! I have 2 reds…one standard “neutral” red and one more coral-ish for summer. I also have a good nude neutral, a pink, a dark navy, and a metallic silver.

  11. 11
    May 30th, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    So true! I’m a fan of shimmering blue, myself.

  12. 12
    May 31st, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Yes, yes, yes!
    Spot on!

  13. 13
    June 1st, 2010 at 12:51 am

    I was watching tv and they showing different color nails on each how would I do that would I match up different pink or something black and white thanks

  14. 14
    June 1st, 2010 at 1:42 am

    So I have Yo-ga- to get this blue, and turned up turqouise and I LOVE them!!!!!

  15. 15
    June 1st, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    i totally LOVE all of these colors BUT i would add Essie’s Fiji to the pink or neutral collection it’s a pinky white that really pops on your nails especially with a summer tan!

  16. 16
    June 3rd, 2010 at 10:36 am

    OPI and China Glaze are my life! (and i think i have those exact colors too) lol

  17. 17
    June 5th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Good article- my nail color usually depends on my mood but for the most part I like dark colors

  18. 18
    June 6th, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I love this list! And I’m stoaked that I have polish in all shades. :) my happy color is a tangerine orange color from NYC. :)

  19. 19
    June 7th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I have several nailpolishes in decent pearl colors (pearly blue, pearly peach, pearly gold, pearly purple, pearly pink) :D I also have lots of pastels – lavender, beige, powder, goldy… But my favourites are the bright ones – I adore my electric blue, bright purple, hot pink and red.

  20. 20
    June 13th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I always have black nails. Sometimes white, but usually black.

  21. 21
    June 20th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    i love this!!! i own tons of colors that make me happy…. lol and to lottie…. i pretty much agree with everything laura said. haha and i love purple with teal too!!!!

  22. 22
    June 28th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    My MUST HAVE colours have got to be:
    1) Red (classic, chic, casual, formal)
    2) White (can’t do nothing without my white!)
    3) Silver (a gilttery white!)
    4) Mysterious (Navy Blue, Purple, and Black)
    5) Something making you happy (my sparkly red~Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Red Carpet~)
    But, really, I have a nail polish obssesion! If I could, I would ttly buy every single nail polish bottle in the country! So, I have definetly collected all the above, and about a hundered more!!! Chiz =)

  23. 23
    July 14th, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I love a classic red on the toes–and a neutral on the finger nails–CAN’T GO WRONG…You can opt for shades of coral or fushia–but the toes look best in classic colors—unless you’re under 12 then go for it.

  24. 24
    July 17th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    wow i own all the colours amazing!!!!!!! i specially love china glaze Turned Up Turquoise!! but from my big collection of nail polishes i think neon colours look the best on me!!!!

  25. 25
    August 7th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I love this post so much! I included all of these on my personal list of cosmetics essentials!

    I have a style blog of my own and I have quoted College Fashion once or twice, plus you’re linked on my daily life blog as a Blog I Read.

    I also linked to this post in my weekly links post, check it out here:

  26. 26
    September 6th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I love Zoya’s Charla! Gorgeous color!

  27. 27
    September 13th, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    OMG! i loved this, i own all of them! :) the classic red, the pink one, the nuetral one, the dark one (in purple and dark blue) and i have a green one! ;)
    but another basic is definetely WHITE! i love french style!

  28. 28
    October 14th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I have all five colors and the color that makes me happy is purple. I will get orange nail polish soon:)

  29. 29
    January 30th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Hey I like this article I feel like yu hit all the main points I
    lol I do own most of the colors tht yu speak of and I think
    Its really cool to own at least these 5color while in college
    Since I don’t have all the money in the world to spend lol

    But I’m have a fashion style and beauty blog
    So please check it out its filled w/ fashion and style
    Tips for the everyday girl on a everyday budget so
    Be sure to check it out :)

  30. 30
    February 23rd, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    love love love this article.

    i’m obsessed with getting my nails done, it is most certainly a hobby of mine. OPI is hands down my favorite brand and i’ve tried everything, but my i tend to favor some sort of hot pink like Pink Flamenco and the dark colors such as Lincoln Park after Dark. However I lately have been falling for bright colors such as Ogre-the-Top Blue from the Shrek line. Recently I had my technician do it and top the blue with a blue gliterry color. GORGEOUSS

  31. 31
    March 21st, 2011 at 7:02 am

    I own all 5 of them too. I plan to get more brights and jewel toned colours sometime this week (i love nail polish!)

  32. 32
    July 6th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I have every thing on this list except for red!!!! i need to remember to get that.
    here is what i have: p

    pink= pink from Joe
    my neutral colour is french white
    my mysterious dark colour is a shimmery dark blue
    and finaly my happy colour is a minty green from Joe!!!:)

  33. 33
    July 13th, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I love OPI nail polish! The shades are all perfect.. Love it

  34. 34
    August 10th, 2011 at 7:25 am

    i definitely agree!! a pale pink (neutral) always look classy – the stronger the pink, the more feminine and the more neutral the pink, the more sophisticated.

  35. 35
    August 16th, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I loved those colors,but actually my favorite is dark,hot red and black.

  36. 36
    August 24th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I’m a little confused why you said bright pink should pop against a “hopefully faux tan?” Fake tans gross me out! What is wrong with getting a natural tan as long as you put sunblock on and don’t burn easily? I would much rather be natural than fake! Whoever said vitamin d isn’t good for you?

  37. 37
    October 4th, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I Love to use nail polish ! iam using it daily . iam using in my school daily . according to uniform. you know iam in 7 class.

  38. 38
    October 15th, 2011 at 11:55 am

    4me the best colors are red black pink purple and brown but i wanna try a strange color like yellow

  39. 39
    March 18th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Hey love the page I have a med tan skin what color would you recommend

  40. 40
    April 6th, 2012 at 4:43 am


  41. 41
    June 7th, 2012 at 4:29 am

    I like the neutral shads b’z its effect bright…

  42. 42
    October 15th, 2012 at 5:17 am

    the red colour is the best colour.this colour is most popular colour in all the colours.

  43. 43
    March 29th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I love the black nailpolish…I love red too..

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