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the Most Iconic Nail Colors of All Time


To us, a manicure isn't just a minor flourish we hurry ourselves through on a spare lunch hour. Nail color can make us feel put together and polished (pun intended), even when we don't feel that way on the inside. Over the years, we've come to know certain shades as forever classic, borderline iconic. These are the sheer nudes, bright reds, and sultry shades on the dark side that never go out of style. There's history in these bottles, and they've stuck around for good reason. Trendy shades come and go, but the best are forever. For example, a variation of Revlon Red has been around since the 1930s; Chanel's Rouge Noir debuted in the 90s on a Parisian catwalk (giving the angsty decade a black cherry lacquer to match). Where you sit on the Ballet Slippers versus Bubble Bath debate is no business of ours, but we do have thoughts on any vampy purple you're using that's not Lincoln Park After Dark. Blasphemous. One thing we know for certain: Every one of these iconic nail polishes should grace your fingers at least once. Here are the 8 all-time best nail colors that have ever existed.

Ballet Slippers by Essie

Over the last 40 years, this barely-there pale pink has remained a favorite of celebrities, royals (Queen Elizabeth, we're looking at you), and all of Essie's customer base (which is, as we know, mammoth). It looks good on everyone and works for every occasion.

BUY IT : $9  ;

Cajun Shrimp by OPI

This is where red likes to summer. The beloved shade is the most perfect pinky (read: notorange) coral-red in the whole world.

BUY IT : $10.50 ;

Lincoln Park After Dark by OPI

This is the ultimate winter classic. It's best described as "where midnight meets purple." After two creamy coats, it commands the room in an almost-black aubergine.

BUY IT : $10,79 ;

Revlon Red by Revlon

Revlon Red—ever heard of it? Of course you have. This glossy strawberry shade comes off cheerier than any blue-toned red. Plus, Revlon's chip-resistant formula will never go out of style.

BUY IT : $9 ;

Funny Bunny by OPI

White nails aren't for the faint of heart—but this soft, slightly sheer white will silence the naysayers. It's anything but stark.

Salon tip: The day our nail esthetician recommended one coat Funny Bunny, followed by one coat Ballet Slippers, was a real game-changer. Sheer pink meets creamy white? Perfection.

BUY IT : $10.50 ;

Russian Roulette by Essie

Meet Big Apple's fiery orange-red counterpart, Russian Roulette. Even the name sounds a tad more rip-roaring, hm? If your skin tone runs warm, this orangey red is your most flattering new friend.

BUY IT : $7 ;

Expresso by Sally Hansen

Sally Hansen is quite the lady to know in the beauty world, and this shade is one of her crown jewels. The deep, dusky pink color is consistently one of the brand's top sellers.

BUY IT : $6 ;

Bubble Bath by OPI

This is OPI's answer to Ballet Slippers. It's a pale, sweet pink that masters the art of barely-there color. (It's also dreamy when layered with Funny Bunny.)

BUY IT : $10.79 ;