5 Nail Polish Colors Every Girl Should Own

Building a nail polish collection? Start with our list of the five basic nail polish shades every woman should own.

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Nail polishes

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.

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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!

30 thoughts on “5 Nail Polish Colors Every Girl Should Own”

  1. 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? 🙂

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Haha Laura the jaundiced comment made me laugh 😛
    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!

  5. 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 Amazon.com, 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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!

  11. 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!!!!

  12. 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.

  13. I have several nailpolishes in decent pearl colors (pearly blue, pearly peach, pearly gold, pearly purple, pearly pink) 😀 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.

  14. 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. 🙂

  15. 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!


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