Perfect Ten {Top Five Colors}

Nail polish is a funny thing.  When it comes to picking the right color, what you see is not always what you get.  You can’t really look at a bottle of polish in the store and tell what the color will like on your nails.  Even if you do the thing where you secretly open the bottle and try a quick swipe on your thumb to test it out before you buy it {come on, you know you’ve done it}, you’re not really looking at an accurate depiction of the finished product.  Two coats of a color look completely different than an isolated swipe.  And to make matters worse, the names of nail polish, although highly entertaining {Do You Lilac It, Teal the Cows Come Home, Quarter of a Cent-Cherry}, give little to no indication of what you can expect.

Given these challenges, I have found personal referral to be the best low-risk way to find a quality nail polish color.  On that note, today I am happy to share with you my five favorite nail polish colors.  Plus, as an added bonus, I’m tacking on an extra color just for fun.  That makes six sensational shades…all for your nail-painting pleasure.

But first, a note about nail polish classification.  In my opinion, there are two classes of nail polish:  Neutrals and Non-Neutrals.

I classify a nail color as a Neutral if, when it starts to chip or wear off, you really can’t tell unless you look closely.  Neutrals are the colors you can wear everyday, any day.  They are subtle shades, but still effectively deliver tasteful color to your fingernails.  I don’t want to go to the trouble of painting my nails and then not even be able to see the color.  I want a nice tasteful shade that will go with me anywhere and add a bit of beauty to my hands.  Neutrals are not too bright or too dark, nor are they transparent or colorless.  They are just right.

Non-Neutrals, on the other hand {no pun intended} are colors that make a statement.  A classy Non-Neutral nail color is the kind of accessory that speaks loudly, but does so in a lady-like voice and without using vulgar language.  Non-neutrals elevate the everyday and bestow glamour to the basic.  Jeans and a white shirt?  Everyday.  Jeans and a white shirt and dark berry nails?  Everyday with a dash of elegant.  Little black dress?  Basic.  Little black dress with red nails?  Glamourous, classy, awesome.

Without further ado, here are my Top Five {Plus One Bonus} Nail Polish Colors


Sweet Heart by OPI

My friend Alicia {whose nails are always painted} introduced me to Sweet Heart as the everyday color of choice.  It is the perfect non-color, and I mean that in the best way possible.  It is pale, but not transparent.  It has enough white in it to  be opaque, but not so much that you end up with chalk nails.  OPI has several shades that look very similar in the bottle when placed side-by-side, but to quote Alicia, “This is the one you want.”


Eternal Optimist by Essie

This color is a very recent discovery, and I feel very feminine when I wear it.  The best way for me to describe this color is to tell you what it’s not.  It’s not too peach.  It’s not too mauve.  It’s not too rosey.  It’s not too pepto.  It’s not too blah.  It’s everything I ever wanted in a soft creamy purposeful pink.  Think grown-up pink, not juvenile bubble-gum pre-teen pink.



Got The Blues For Red by OPI

This is the color I wore on my wedding day.  Shock and awe, I know.  Who wears red with bridal white?  I do.  Why?  Because this color is killer.  Don’t let the bottle scare you.  This red is timeless, classic, tasteful.  It is the red you can wear with anything and be aware that the color on your nails is strong and beautiful, but confident that you’re not being trampy or inappropriate.  If you’re looking for one bottle of red in your nail polish repertoire, this one is your winner.  It is my go-to toenail color as well.  I love it.


Perfectly  Red by OPI

If Got the Blues for Red is a tasteful strand of pearls, Perfectly Red is a choker made of huge stones in a fun color.  This is the red that takes some guts to wear.  But it’s not in bad taste.  It’s just very much the center of attention.  When I wear this shade, my nails become my statement accessory.  No other baubles required.  This is the red that can really jazz up that little black dress and turn your boring into beautiful.  This is also an easy color to wear on your toes in the summer.  Don’t shy away from red…once you try it, you’re going to love it.  Just remember to tone everything else down.


Berry Hard by Essie

Take a bowl of raspberries, add a bowl of blackberries, mix them with a nice Merlot, and you get the idea behind Berry Hard.  When I apply the first coat, I don’t like it.  It’s way too purple and the wrong kind of pink.  But after that second coat goes on….mmmmmm, I love it.  This color is dark.  It is perfect for the fall and winter, and pleasantly unexpected in the spring and summer.  It is intense, but not gothic.  It has a lot of pretty undertones that come out in the light.  I like the way this color looks on my nailsafter I have cut them really short.  It works best this way.



San Tan-Tonio by OPI

I consider this color to be a neutral, and one I never would have tried.  In fact, I never would have even considered wearing this shade had I not seen the try-before-you-buy tool at the OPI website.  {It’s really fun…you can change the skin tone and nail length of the demo hand and then try on a million different colors of nail polish.}  Rachel was clicking through and cyber-trying a bunch of different colors.  When I saw this one on the demo hand, I literally gasped.  It was so pretty.  It is brown, but not like mud or wood.  More like coffee with lots of cream meets antique gold, but it’s not metallic at all.  I liked it even more after I wore it for a couple of days.  It’s subtle, but lovely.  And it is a part of the Texas line by OPI, that is worth looking at just to read all the awesome names {for example, Guy Meets Galveston and Houston, We Have A Purple}.

There they are.  My top five colors plus a bonus one.  All winners in my book.

Still not sure?  Stores like Beauty Brands, and even Walgreens {if you smile sweetly and the manager is in a good mood} will let you bring back a product {like nail polish} for any reason, even if you use it and decide you don’t like the color.  So jump in friends…the world’s greatest fashion accessory is at your fingertips.  Pun intended.


To be convinced that an at-home manicure is worth the trouble, click {here}.

To see the tricks and learn how to make your manicure last, click {here}.


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6 Responses to Perfect Ten {Top Five Colors}

  1. Maribel says:

    January 17th, 2012This is one of my very favorite Julep corlos (It’s a 3 way tie between Helena, Trina, and Alfre) and it certainly worthy of color of the year. It’s pure color, just literally dripping pink! Perfection!

  2. Augustus Mauson says:

    Nail polish was originated in China, dating back to 3000 BC. Around 600 BC during the Zhou Dynasty, the royal house had a preference for the colors gold and silver.’:.-

    Most recent short article from our personal blog

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  5. Flora says:

    Can I say that I learned SO much from your nail polish tutorial? I can’t wait to go out and by the supplies this weekend.

  6. Sarah Wolfe says:

    I think you need to host a nail painting party!

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