Painting our nails is not only relaxing (especially with a glass of wine and some Netflix), but it’s a simple way to change up our look without any real commitment. Stock your collection with these must have shades I love. They flatter all skin tones and can be worn any time of year. When stocking your makeup bag, there are plenty of products deemed absolutely essential. Maybe you can’t live without mascara, blush, or your favorite eyebrow gel. For me, the same kind of essential foundation is needed when it comes to crafting the perfect nail polish collection. I’ve narrowed it down to 10 polish colors every woman should have in her beauty arsenal, from a classic red to a metallic every skin tone can pull off.
Choose Your Own Best Nail Paint
Every woman has those moments when she wants to go classic, and OPI Big Apple Red ($8.50) allows just that. The classic red is appropriate for anything—work, a gala, even on the back of a motorcycle. “If you’re going to own just one polish, this should be it. The classic cherry red works on every skin tone for every occasion.
A pale pink neutral’s the way to go when you want to look polished and well-manicured without a shot of colour. Essie Ballet Slippers ($8) is a classic pale pink that works with any skin tone. Its sheer finish allows you to tweak just how light or dark you go with layering.
For when you don’t want to change your polish to match every outfit, a nude is the way to go. Go for taupe; the darker nude works on all skin tones. And a taupe is the perfect neutral because it’s just dark enough to flatter all skin tones and light enough to steer away from looking gothic. Deborah Lippmann Not-So-Typical Taupe ($17) has a creamy finish that’s a little playful and a whole lotta chic.
Black can be a little edgy for some people, but navy is a dark polish option that doesn’t come off as gothic. At least one dark polish is essential for those nights you want to go a little edgy. Navy is just right. Just look at Formula X for Sephora in Centigrade ($10.50). So perfect.
Show off a tan in the summer or play up the snow bunny look in the winter with a soft white. Butter London Cotton Buds ($15) is a creamy opaque that can be worn solo or under other colors to create neon hues.
Certain times call for a girl to get girly, no matter what age she is. A hot pink like Chanel Le Vernis Rose Exubérant ($27) is a bright color that’s still wearable on an average day.
There isn’t a spring that goes by where new pastel polishes don’t graze our desks. One of the easiest hues to wear is lavender. It’s softer than a green and bolder than a baby blue. Our favorite is Dolce & Gabbana The Nail Lacquer in Lilac, ($24, sephora.com) because it has an iridescent finish.
A high-fashion must-have? Metallic. Everyone needs a metallic, and your skin tone will determine whether gold, silver, or bronze looks best on you. Julep Abigail ($14) is a classic pink with a twist, adding bold shine.
Over the past few years gray has become the new neutral. Chic and polished, its a bit bolder than a beige. Nars Galathée Opaque Nail Polish ($19) is a light version that still looks flattering on fair skin tones.
Nail art isn’t in everyone’s repertoire, nor does everyone like the finished result. Adding a glitter to your collection adds spunk without the gaudiness. Ciaté Paint Pot in Confetti ($15) is a neutral shimmer gray with a touch of iridescent sparkles that flash in the light.