New day, new polish. That’s a motto we can get behind, because we’ll be the first to admit we buy and test out just about every nail polish shade . But no matter how many or rainbow glitters we brush on our nails, there are certain colors that never leave our side. You probably have your go-to classic red and know there are , but that’s sort of obvious, beginner-level stuff. The real nail enamel aficionado will move beyond the basics to embrace shades that are more unexpected, while still sophisticated, and, well, polished. Call them the new classics.
But don’t take our word for it. We went to , essie celebrity manicurist, to find out what she considers the 8 wear-anywhere, never-fail nail polish shades every girl should permanently have in her collection. You can own 15 bottles or 300 (we’re talking to you, junkies!), but you’ll never go wrong with these elite 8.
A looks impressive in this shade. Keep the moon naked (aka negative space moon) for maximum impact.
“A true, soft pastel pink can feel modern and current, which is why it’s so popular and quickly transitioning into a classic,” Saunders said. She loves essie Fiji (above left) because it’s universally flattering to all shapes and lengths of nails. “Sometimes I like to mix and match pastel pink on fingers and bordeaux on toes,” she said.
According to Saunders, since this is a trendy shade, it’s ideally suited for fun nail art. Try painting while leaving out a triangle shape on the sides of nails.
Sometimes, you just want to take it down a notch and go with a barely-there nail shade. In times like those, Saunders suggests reaching for essie Ballet Slippers (above right), which she claims is the ideal neutral. “It’s the perfect blend of beige and crème with a hint of pink,” she said. “Because of this, it’s an ideal shade for all skin tones and perhaps this is why it’s essie’s most pinned color!”
To keep with the neutral theme, Saunders suggests forgoing nail designs with this hue.
Light grey painted halfway down the nail horizontally will appear modern and simple.
Go for a metallic swipe at the tip of fingernails for a twist on the French manicure. “This looks great at weddings,” Saunders said.
A mixture of rock and roll with classic sophistication, “a super shiny black mani/pedi is a powerful and strong nail look,” Saunders said. “I’ve applied this to all skin tones and nail lengths, and it’s always a guaranteed favorite amongst my clients.” Experiment with Urban Decay UD XX Vintage Nail Color in Oil Slick or essie licorice.
For an edge, Saunders suggests creating from base to tip and side to side of nails.
“Who doesn’t love an evenly spaced polka dot manicure?” Saunders asked. We couldn’t agree more.
For a fun touch, paint a simple diagonal line on your manicure.
The All-Time Best Trick For Making Your Manicure Last
According to Saunders, it’s using two coats of top coat, not one. Let each dry completely.
What’s your go-to shade? Tell us in the comments below!