13 Real Women on Their Fail-Safe Nail Color

You can be decisive about work, child care and exactly which show to binge watch on Netflix (The Great British Baking Show, duh), but when it comes to choosing a mani color, you’re at a total loss. Then, once you do decide, you’re instantly hit with a case of pedicure envy brought on by the women with good taste seated beside you. That’s why we decided to ask 13 real women to spill on their go-to hue.

What Nail Polish Color Should You Really Be Wearing?

essie fifth avenue

Essie “fifth Avenue”

“I wear the red-orange hue year-round. In the winter, it warms things up. In the summer, it’s bright and fun. And year-round, it saves me the headache of deciding on a color I may or may not like in the end.” — Lauren

Buy it here ($11)

essie sand tropez

Essie “sand Tropez”

“It’s the perfect neutral. It matches with everything and when my nails get chipped the second I walk out of the salon—every time!—it’s minimally noticeable.” — Grace

Buy it here ($9)

smith and cult kundalini hustle

Smith & Cult “kundalini Hustle”

“It’s the best bright red out there. It doesn’t hurt that it lasts for at least a week and is super shiny.” — Katherine

Buy it here ($18)

essie bobbing for baubles

Essie “bobbing For Baubles”

“I’m not a fan of pinks/reds with my skin tone and much prefer deep greens and blues. This one is hands-down the best shade of slate blue. It looks classy, but it’s also fun and a little different.” — Rachel

Buy it here ($9)

opi red my fortune cookie

Opi “red My Fortune Cookie”

“It’s the perfect slightly orangey red that makes you look a tiny bit tanner no matter if it’s mid-summer or the dead of winter. I bought my own bottle because I love it so much.” — Bri

Buy it here ($11)

orly kiss me i m kind

Orly “kiss Me, I’m Kind”

“It’s the perfect barely-there pink that never looks too pink and I think it’s a nice neutral match for my skin tone. It’s also really buildable and makes nails look super polished, but natural at the same time. It makes me feel classy.” — Cristina

Buy it here ($10)

essie licorice

Essie “licorice”

“Like much of my wardrobe, it’s pitch black and makes me feel cool. It’s also super easy to fill in chips in between manicures and I like the way it contrasts with my blindingly white skin.” — Sarah

Buy it here ($9)

opi dutch tulips

Opi “dutch Tulips”

“I love this for my toes. It’s a pinkish red and never fails in any season. Also, the name just makes me happy.” — Carin

Buy it here ($11)

dazzle dry boss

Dazzle Dry “boss”

“I found this color at a boutique nail salon. It’s subtle and sophisticated—the perfect pink nude.” — Jill

Buy it here ($18)

essie wicked

Essie “wicked”

“It’s a dark red that goes with everything. And it makes me feel like a badass.” — Caylin

Buy it here ($9)

deborah lippmann truly madly deeply

Deborah Lippmann “truly Madly Deeply”

“There’s something so elegant about a grayish mauve. It’s a darker shade, but not too dark that you can’t wear it in the spring/summer, too.” — Rachel

Buy it here ($20)

opi i m not really a waitress

Opi “i’m Not Really A Waitress”

“This is a beautiful red with the slightest shimmer. I also just love the name.” — Cathy

Buy it here ($11)

nars milos

Anything Gold

“I don’t really pay attention to the brand, but gold is my solid go-to option for when I can’t think about what I want. It matches everything always and makes me feel sparkly no matter the season.” — Annie

Buy it here ($20)

Rachel Bowie Headshot
Rachel Bowie

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...
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