Beauty

Survivors of the Nail Polish Purge

Last month, I decided that it was finally time to purge my beauty products.  Old mascaras, lipsticks, and blushes were tossed.  Once-used serums and creams were gifted to friends.   And my box filled with nail polishes — many separated into a goopy mess — was tossed.

Then, last weekend, I needed nail polish for a quick, pre-event pedicure, and I didn’t have any.  Which got me thinking…what polishes do I really need?  Which ones do I wear all the time?  And there were three clear winners for fall color.

Modern Love by Deborah Lippmann. I adore this color.  It’s a mauve/pink/beige mix that is the perfect neutral.  For me, it’s the more sophisticated alternative to a pale pink.  You can see it on the hand at This That Beauty.

Purple Rain by NARS. When NARS discontinued  my beloved Tokaido Express Nail Polish, Purple Rain became my first  choice purple.  I love the shimmery flecks of gold and the striking purple color.  You can see it on the hand at Vampy Varnish.

While Purple Rain was my selection, if you need something simpler with less shimmer, Lincoln Park After Dark was the polish that convinced me to wear purples.

Bogota Blackberry by OPI. This nail polish was what I chose for my very first spa pedicure 16 years ago, and I still love it.  It mixes everything you love about red with every thing you love about burgundy.  It’s a rich, deep red that just shines.  You can see it on the hand at Beauty Supply Source.

Because I’m looking to pare down and start emptying my beauty baskets, I’m planning to stick to three polishes until the warmer weather returns.  The one exception might be for this box of mini polishes, which contains both OPI Scotland shades that I was eyeing — a pretty thistle purple and a steely grey.

So what are your ride-or-die polishes, the ones you’d save in a purge?  Leave them in the comments.

{this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author; image here}

Leave a Reply to SC · cancel comment

    40 comments

  1. Jen says:

    I wear Essie’s “Berry Naughty” so often my husband knows it by name. It’s one or two shades lighter than Wicked or Lincoln Park After Dark, but still a moody burgundy. I have it stocked in case they ever discontinue it!

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  2. Dakota says:

    This isn’t a polish per se but I’ve started doing my own nails, and the best piece of equipment is a really high quality glass nail file. If I don’t have time to paint my nails, I can at least file them down to a smooth finish and length without feeling ‘undone’.

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  3. pompom says:

    Essie Sand Tropez, Essie Copper Penny, and OPI Miami Beet.

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  4. strin012 says:

    OPI Madam President is my go-to, year-round toenail polish color. It sits in the happy place between pink and red and looks good on my very fair, pink undertoned skin.

    https://www.beyondpolish.com/products/opi-nail-lacquer-madam-president-05-oz-nlw62

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  5. Siobhan says:

    You are usually very intelligent in your positions your sensitivities but calling a makeup culling by the phrase “Polish Purge” is appalling, Abra. To compare a nail polish color that you kept in your drawer to a human being who managed to survive murder and eradication of their family members is really very insensitive. I think you know better.

    October 2, 2019/Reply
    • Crystal says:

      As the post is about throwing out or retaining specific nail polish colors, I believe the title was intended to reference a polish (poll-ish) purge, not Polish (pole-ish) purge.

      October 2, 2019/Reply
    • CM says:

      When I read the title, I thought perhaps Abra had written about a personal connection to a tragic historical event. After reading the post, I could easily see that any homograph was completely unintentional. I think it’s pretty clear that when someone is regularly writing about beauty products such as nail polish, one would likely only pronounce a word like polish a single way in one’s head when editing a post. It usually takes a 2nd set of eyes to identify unintended meaning. Let’s cut her a little slack!

      October 2, 2019/Reply
    • E says:

      I see your point, but I think that was an honest mistake on her part. I didn’t read it as that at all – and I often mix up Polish (nationality) with polish (beauty product) when I read them on signs and things. There’s a nail salon called Polish Lounge near me that I thought was a Polish cultural center before I got a good look in the windows one day and saw pedicure chairs.

      October 2, 2019/Reply
      • Belle says:

        I added Nail to the title to make more clear. It didn’t register that polish and Polish are the same spelling. Not a mistake I will make again.

        October 2, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I apologize for not seeing the completely unintentional homograph. I certainly never meant to compare a deep cleaning to a genocide.

      October 2, 2019/Reply
      • Kate says:

        Thanks for hearing out the reader & know you meant no harm at all. I married into a 1st generation Polish family & can attest to forever finding myself seeing “Polish”( as in Poland) everywhere I go, almost regardless of context!

        + to be fair – before my Polish family connection, I probably read everything the exact opposite as (nail) polish.

        October 9, 2019/Reply
    • Chelsea says:

      Is this comment for real? if it is, can we start a GoFundMe for the Siobhan’s mental health treatment?

      October 3, 2019/Reply
      • Belle says:

        The title originally looked bad with the homograph in it. I didn’t see it until someone pointed it out. Hopefully, any confusion is cleared up now.

        October 3, 2019/Reply
        • Chelsea says:

          No it didn’t look bad. This is a fashion blog and a post obviously about nail polish. Anyone who thought of genocide needs help. It’s time to start treating this hysterical nonsense like the mental illness it is.

          October 3, 2019/Reply
          • AR says:

            Chelsea, please take a breath and approach this with some empathy. I know it’s the internet. I know you can post things without any blow back in your actual life. But calling someone hysterical and saying they have a mental illness is unnecessary and narrow-minded.

            October 3, 2019/Reply
  6. RR says:

    OPI Black Cherry Chutney. It’s the perfect dark berry. Essie Wicked is also great.

    For neutral, OPI Taupeless Beach. I routinely get compliments on this one.

    October 2, 2019/Reply
    • Andrea says:

      +1 for Black Cherry Chutney! My favorite for a gel pedicure because it goes with everything-a “bold neutral” and so chic.

      Second pick in a very similar vein would be OPI “All A-Bordeaux the Sled”

      October 2, 2019/Reply
      • RR says:

        Oooh, I like that. I’ve never done that one.

        October 2, 2019/Reply
  7. Mary says:

    Zoya Pandora for a neutral and Zoya Sonya, which is a strawberry red and so darn cheerful!

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  8. BN says:

    OPI’s Im Not Really a Waitress. It’s a classic for a reason – it’s nearly perfect, it transcends season and geography and is perfect on the toe. OPI California Raspberry is a great option for something a little brighter for the summer.

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  9. Jenette says:

    I’m a sucker for OPI: I’m Not Really a Waitress and Madam President, I adore. I think no one can beat OPI’s reds and pinkish reds. Also this is a throw back but the Katy Perry Teenage Dream polish…I’d use it as an accent glitter nail forever if I could. If anyone has a glitter polish they love, please share!

    October 2, 2019/Reply
    • Keilexandra says:

      Enchanted Polish is an indie brand which makes the best, unique glitter polishes. They’re hell to get off at home, but that’s the price you pay with any good glitter polish (doesn’t shed at all throughout the week).

      October 2, 2019/Reply
    • Hannah says:

      There is an OPI nail polish that I believe is called Cosmetic Sanctuary (a light-ish pink sparkle) that I love to get on my toes in the summer. I found that since glitter nail polish is so hard to get off, it actually works perfectly on toes (which I expect to last longer than fingernails), especially if I will be at the pool or beach.

      October 3, 2019/Reply
      • Cait says:

        Yes to glitter as the best for toes! I layer Essie Set in Stones over No Place Like Chrome for silver, or Summit of Style over Good as Gold. The hard to remove glitter acts as a great top coat, and since the polishes are all the same brand, the gold or silver tones of each pair match well.

        October 3, 2019/Reply
  10. Madeline says:

    I use OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques on the regular. When I try and stray at the nail salon, I end up accidentally pulling it from the shelf as an option anyway. I also use OPI Cajun Shrimp on my toes year-round. It is a pinky-orange. Bubble Bath is also a classic I can’t quit.

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  11. SC says:

    I’m the laziest person ever when it comes to polishing my nails, so I only own 2 colors — OPI I’m Not Really A Waitress for toes, and Essie Limo-Scene for fingernails.

    October 2, 2019/Reply
    • SC says:

      Oops! I checked last night and it’s actually Essie Skinny Dip. 🙂

      October 3, 2019/Reply
  12. E.D. says:

    Butter London All Hail the Queen and (now discontinued) Bobbi Brown Sand Pink Shimmer are both great. Essie Pachinko Pale is probably my go-to neutral.

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  13. kk says:

    Madam president in winter, cajun shrimp in summer. I’m blue eyed and yellowy/olive skin tone- like Jennifer Aniston or Allison Williams

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  14. TR says:

    100% Lincoln Park After Dark

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  15. SJ says:

    Huge fan of OPI Bubble Bath. For a bright summer color I go for My Chihuahua Bites!

    October 2, 2019/Reply
  16. neens says:

    A little off topic but anyone know of a non-gel match for the Gelish- Last Call? It has become my favorite to wear to weddings but I’d like to be able to create the look without having to get a gel manicure each time.

    October 3, 2019/Reply
    • Hds says:

      Maybe OPI Worth A Pretty Penne?

      October 3, 2019/Reply
  17. Emily says:

    I picked up a full-size bottle of the Edinburgh-er & Tatties included in the OPI Scotland mini-set you linked. It is a great modern neutral for fingers, and I already see it being the go-to for my fingers through the fall.

    October 3, 2019/Reply
  18. L says:

    My go-tos (all OPI gelcolor):

    Got the Blues for Red
    Cajun Shrimp (or my Chihuahua Bites)
    Linkin Park After Dark
    Do You Take Lei Away
    Combo of Bubble Bath and Funny Bunny

    October 3, 2019/Reply
    • Sarah says:

      I also wear Cajun Shrimo. It’s my small rebellion against my lawyer wardrobe. It’s just the best color. OPI Innusbrook Bronze is also gorgeous.

      October 3, 2019/Reply
  19. Rory says:

    Nail polish is my favorite thing ever and I’m embarrassed to admit how much I own. My all-time favorite is OPI’s On Collins Ave which is very close to Cajun Shrimp. I think Collins Ave leans more towards orange while Cajun Shrimp leans more red. My other favorite is Chanel’s Diwali which is a sparkling gold without going glitter. OPI’s Glitzerland is a good dupe.

    October 3, 2019/Reply
  20. Christina says:

    Opi’s Taupe-less Beach and Essie’s Peach Side Babe (was wearing the latter for my engagement).

    October 3, 2019/Reply
  21. MegaN says:

    Essie Ballet Slippers, aka the Queen of England’s go-to polish for decades.

    October 4, 2019/Reply
  22. caitlin says:

    This is kind of a hot take, but I love pale blue – it compliments my super pale pink-toned coloring really well. Essie’s Bikini So Teeny is a favorite.

    Alas… I bite my nails and pick at polish, so polished nails are a no-go for me. I know it’s making my small hands & stubby fingers look even smaller and stubbier, but 🙁

    October 9, 2019/Reply

contact the edit

For reader queries and PR inquiries, please send over an email.