Essie’s all-time greats: the five nail polish colors you’ll ever need

I love Essie nail polish. I think the polishes are better quality and last longer than anything at the drugstore, and I definitely also prefer them to OPI. And, you can actually buy them at the drugstore (at least Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada!) so that’s a big win for me, too.  

While my Essie polish collection has grown beyond five, I really think you can get by with just a hand’s worth of colours, and I tend to use these ones more than any others:

1. Sugar Daddy

While Essie fans laud Ballet Slippers and Mademoiselle (and for good reason), I really prefer Sugar Daddy – I love how glossy the finish is, and I think it’s the perfect neutral your-nails-but-better pink. This is the color I wear most often, and I get compliments every time I have it on my nails.

2. Lacquered Up

There should be a bold red in any five-a-side polish collection, and this red is perfect. It’s not too blue or pink–it’s a real red, like the shade you’d paint a sports car. Finish it off with a glossy top coat and your nails are practically invincible. I tend to wear this colour with short nails – there is something about long red nails that bothers me.

3. Bahama Mama

Like a pale neutral pink and a bright red, I think a burgundy rounds out a perfect triad of nail polish colors, and if you’re only looking to have three, then stop reading here. Bahama Mama is a great burgundy – very rich plum and not too brown. As soon as the leaves start to change color, I get this shade on my nails — it’s a sure sign that cable-knit sweaters are close behind.

4. Cute as a Button

I debated swapping in Tart Deco instead, but side by side, Cute as a Button takes the cake. It’s a perfect pink coral color, while Tart Deco is more of a peachy orange. This color looks especially great in spring and summer. And it looks great on your toes year-round.

5. Merino Cool

A few years ago, the Essie shade Chinchilly was very popular. I never really understood why, aside from being a grey shade, and contributing to that trend. I feel that the color is way more of a putty or muddy grey – like a ‘my basement walls are damp and it’s going to be expensive to fix’ kind of way. Instead, I’ve used Merino Cool, which is a grey with a base of purple. It’s really pretty – almost a neutral – and definitely does not make your hands look like they belong on a corpse. In the fall and winter, this is my definite go-to neutral shade.

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