I never get professional manicures. I might be the only person on the planet who doesn't find them relaxing in any way. Instead, whenever I feel like a frumpy dumpling, I paint my own fingers and toes.
Even if you love the salon, let's face it: There isn't always the time (or the money). So, I've compiled this list of seven nail polish shades every woman should own.
This color, meant to represent power and passion, never goes out of style. If you buy just one nail polish in your whole life, red should be it. Also, it looks best on shorter nails — this shade can easily go from classic to streetwalker in the wrong hands.
$ave: Sally Hansen in Red-io Active, Sephora in Cherry Popsicle and Rimmel London in Stiletto Red
$$pend: Essie in Forever Yummy and OPI in Big Apple Red
$$$plurge: Seche in Smitten, Julep in Kenya, Chanel in Cinéma, Butter London in Come to Bed Red and Ciaté in Boudoir
This color, meant to represent calm and simplicity, is universally flattering. Whether opaque or sheer, nude elongates your fingers and is the least obvious when it (inevitably) chips.
$ave: Ulta in Girl Next Door, Wet N Wild in Sugar Coat and Sonia Kashuk in Sugar Rush
$pend: Essie in Mochachino, Sally Hansen in Café Au Lait and OPI in Tickle My France-y
$$$plurge: Butter London in All Hail the Queen, Julep in Jennifer, Michael Kors in Hint and Nails Inc. in Fleet Street
There's a sophistication to this color, meant to represent loyalty and wisdom. Navy is the perfect shade to transition from a day at work to a night out on the town. Think of it as a business suit and a cocktail dress all rolled into one.
$ave: Sinful Colors in Cold Leather, Maybelline in Midnight Swim and Sally Hansen in Quick Jeanius
$$pend: OPI in Russian Navy, Essie in No More Film and China Glaze in Ride the Waves
$$$plurge: Deborah Lippmann in Rolling in the Deep, Zoya in Ibiza, Butter London in Royal Navy and Ten Over Ten in Commerce
This is a special occasion color, meant to represent warmth and wealth. From glitter and shimmer to satin and matte, gold looks festive all year round. It's the Champagne of nail polish.
$ave: e.l.f. in Pot of Gold, Nail Rock in Venus Gold and Gap in Gold
$$pend: Orly in Halo, L'Oréal in Because You're Worth It, Nicole by OPI in The Next CEO and Candie's in Stay Golden
$$$plurge: Ciaté in Spending Spree, Dior in Diorific and Sephora in Sparklebomb
This neutral color, meant to represent maturity and elegance, matches with almost any outfit. Charcoal is also a fashion-forward choice for date night. A can't miss.
$ave: Sally Hansen in Gunmetal, Milani in Silver Dazzle, LA Splash in Charcoal and Covergirl in Midnight Magic
$$pend: China Glaze in Stone Cold, Joe Fresh in Slate and Revlon in Iconic
$$$plurge: Urban Decay in Addiction, Nails Inc. in Trafalgar Square and Julep in Kim
This is a happy color, meant to convey beauty and romance. It looks best on vacation, especially when your toes are poking out of the sand.
$ave: Avon in Seduce Me Strawberry and NYC Color in Greenwich Village
$$pend: Orly in Berry Blast, Essie in The Girls Are Out, Sally Hansen in Back to the Fuchsia and China Glaze in Hang-Ten Toes
$$$plurge: Butter London in Disco Biscuit, Elle in Fuchsia Fashion, Sephora in Eureka and Nails Inc. in Notting Hill Gate
Every gal needs a good clear polish, to be worn alone or as a topcoat. The extra protection is worth the effort. Now that you're doing your own nails, you might as well pick up a few tools, too. Here are my favorites...
$ave: Sally Hansen Mega Shine Topcoat, Cutex Twist & Scrub Nail Polish Remover and nail brush and toe separators
$$pend: Nailtiques Nail Protein Strengthener, Essie Matte About You Topcoat and Sephora File, Buff & Shine
$$$plurge: Julep Hand and Cuticle Stick, Julep DoubleStep Foot Treatment & Friction Stick, CND Stickey Base Coat, Qtica Half Time Drying Accelerator and Nails Inc. Corrector Pen
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