I love nail polish. Many girls and women these days do. In fact, during the recession starting in 2008, many economists expected that lipstick sales would surge as per the Lipstick Effect which posits that the sales of inexpensive indulgences, such as lipstick, increase during lean economic times. Instead, a 2010 study found that the sales of nail polish, not lipstick, actually increased by 0.8% in 2009.
This I do not find surprising. I would say that, as someone who likes to follow fashion and beauty trends, many women including my peers are not as enamoured with lipstick which is not a staple for many grooming routines. We women continue to wear foundation/concealer as base, love to pile on tons of mascara, groom the brows, and maybe some blush and eyeshadow. For the lips? Not lipstick for every day wear, but instead something sheer and more natural like gloss or balm. Lipstick, when used, is reserved for special occasions (or daring fashionistas featured on a street style blog). Amongst all the women I know, I would say I am the only one that still sports lipstick though only for a night out or for events. And when I wear lipstick, it is bright and meant to be seen, never soft and demure.
But nail polish is a different story. Just about every female friend I have has a nail polish or two to paint at home on a week day night, or bring to their neighbourhood nail salon. When I was working full time, I sported nails in unassertive colours for the sole purpose of looking neat and professional. Nowadays, as a student, I wear nail polish in both brights and neutrals, and more as an accessory. I do not usually pile on the earrings, necklaces, or other accessories on a daily basis. But my nails? They are a relatively cheap and fast way to complete my outfit. And they bring a flash of colour to the sometimes grey transitory season that is the end of winter, or beginning of spring.
My all time favourite is Essie’s Geranium, which can only be found at specialty beauty shops or salons though Essie now carries select colours in drugstores here in Canada. It is a bright, warm coral that I sport all year round (top photo). The orange makes it a non-basic red, and it is flattering on my yellow-based skin tone. I apply three to four coats for maximum coverage and opacity.
A new discovery is Butter London’s Yummy Mummy (second photo from top). Horrible name and quite a high price point, by the way ($17 CDN!). But it is a beautiful, cool beige-grey tinged with purple and fine shimmer. It is quite sheer and applied in two coats, it retains some translucency and looks like your nails, but better. For a completely opaque look and to emphasize its cool undertones, use at least four coats. I surprisingly purchased this product at Indigo bookstore amongst their array of lifestyle products (with a gift certificate, natch).
OPI’s Lincoln Park in the Dark is a classic cold weather/cool person shade. It is a dark, almost black, purple that I still consider a neutral of the deeper kind. You can get away with only two coats because I find OPI’s formulas are much more opaque than some other formulas such as that of Essie. (However, I will say that I love Essie much more for their colour variety.) Also, I do find OPI’s formulas last the longest with nary a chip for almost a full week. Some of the swatches of this shade on the Internet make the colour look more purple but, trust me, it is almost black.
Last but not least, I also love another Essie shade, Angora Cardi, that I especially love to wear at the start of autumn and spring because the shade makes me feel as fuzzy as the name itself. The colour is a creamy, muted plum, and unlike Geranium this shade can be found at your local drugstore such as Shopper’s Drug Mart/Pharmaprix and Jean Coutu across Canada. As with all my nail polish shades, I use Revlon base coat and top coat because, not only are Revlon nail polishes cheap and easily accessible (available at drug stores), but Revlon base and top coats are the best toluene-, formaldehyde- and DBP-free products out there. However, the colour polishes of Revlon can be a hit or miss. All the nail polishes listed in this post are free of these big three toxic chemicals.
See a previous post on Essie’s universally-flattering nail polish shade, Eternal Optimist, here.
Note: All the photos are tweaked with photo editing software, but I tried to capture the shade of the nail polishes so that they are true to life.