May 17, 2012

My current top five favourite nail polish colours

Like countless gals the world over (and for decades now), I adore nail polish. As a teenager my collection of bottles nearly hit triple digits and I'd usually give myself a manicure every couple of nights (often opting for intricate designs, French manicures in both traditional and off-the-wall colour combos, and sometimes I'd even sport a different hue on each nail), but as I grew older (and had less free time in the evenings), my nail polish collection gradually dwindled in size.

That's ok though, like so many things that come with age, I find my tastes in nail varnish hues have streamlined over the years and were I to have 100 bottles of polish today, I fear many of them would only get used every once in a blue moon. Instead, corralled neatly into a clear little see-through shoe box style plastic tote under the bathroom sink, one will now find, on average, about twenty bottles of nail polish, each of which I try to wear (either on my fingers or toes) at least a few times a year.

For all the many, many times I've painted my nails throughout my life, I do not profess to be a guru of nail polishes, manicure techniques, or impeccably perfect sets of lacquered nails, like those on the hands of the many, many bloggers who dedicate their whole sites (and Youtube channels) to this fun topic.

I'm just your average cosmetics loving lass who enjoys painting her nails (often in vintage appropriate hues) whenever possible, and who thought you might enjoy taking a peak at the top five shades I've been wearing most often over the past couple of years.

The five most commonly worn nail polish colours in my collection

While there are some bold, moody, and far out colours in my box of polishes, for some time now I've been gravitating more and more towards shades that I can get a lot of mileage out of and which (often) compliment (not clash with) my vintage outfits. To that end, it's likely not surprising that two of my favourite polishes are reds and another in pale pink.


MAC Cream Rougemarie


MAC cream Rougemarie nail polish diptych

Bar none, (manicured) hands down my most favourite nail polish colour of all-time. Perhaps it's because my middle name (Marie) appears in the moniker of this nail polish, or maybe it's the fact that two coats tend to last for a week on my fingers or two on my toes. Maybe it's because the colour instantly evokes thoughts of wistfully sweet summertime cherry juice or that I've yet to wear any outfit that it didn't work with. Whatever the reason, this deep, elegant, not-too-shiny shade of deep red is a beloved nail polish favourite that I keep buying time and time again.


Essie Red Nouveau

Essie Red Nouveau nail polish diptych 

With a name that any vintage lover is bound to appreciate, this warm, cheerful shade of red is my go-to colour for nails that sing with classic, fabulous vintage spirit and charm. To boot, this teeny bottle (which was part of a wonderful four shade pack of mini polishes I received from my sister) has lasted me for nearly two years now (which is rather amazing considering I've probably used it thirty or more times).

Revlon Sheer Blossom OO7

Revlon Sheer Blossom 007 nail polish diptych

These days, I rarely go for hues on my fingers that shock and amaze, instead I lean more towards sweet, girly shades like this ultra soft, almost cotton candy-like shade of sheer pink. One coat delivers a barely there whisper of colour; two start veering into ballerina tutu territory, and three deliver a coquettish level of petal pretty pink that goes with, I do believe, just about any colour in your wardrobe you could ever imagine pairing it with.


OPI Curry Up Don't Be Late

OPI Curry Up Don't Be Late gold nail polish diptych

At first glance, gold nail polish might not seem like a subtle or easy to wear shade, but I assure you that this one from OPI manages to be both. More burnished than gleaming, completely free of sparkles, and fabulously long lasting, this is by far the best and most beautiful shade of gold polish I've ever worn. If you're worried it will knock your look into 70s disco glam territory fear not, I've had great success in pairing it with everything from leopard print circle skirts to elegant 1950s LBDs without the slightest hint of Studio 54 creeping into the picture.

Joe Fresh Mint

Joe Fresh Mint green nail polish diptych

The term quasi-neutral gets brandished around a lot these days - often far too easily, but there are cases when it's more than warranted and this bottle of milky, serenely beautiful mint green nail polish from Canadian brand Joe Fresh is one of them.

Sweet, youthful, and just plain pretty to look at, I've found that this confectionary hued polish works wonders with outfits that feature browns, pinks, blues, white, navy, grey, red, dark green, caramel, black, and cream in particular, but really, have yet to have it truly clash with anything (last fall it even went surprisingly well with a rust hued top). Worn equally often on my fingers and toes, this is the currently the one and only green shade of polish I want or need.


♥   ♥   ♥

As time goes on, I'm sure other nail polish shades will make it into my top five, though I suspect they'll have a trickier time making the cut, as these particular hues have been in heavy rotation now for 1 to 3 years a piece and show no signs of losing momentum anytime soon.

If you've been looking for a new polish or two (or five) this season, I can't recommend these shades highly enough, and suspect you'll see them popping up from time-to-time in my summertime manis and pedis this year.


  1. I'm still at the triple figure end when it comes to my nail polish collection!

  2. I'm a fan of red. I try to change, but I can't!

  3. Oh my! I adore every one! My 2 besties, though, are the sheer blossom and the lovely minty green. If i had to choose one of those as an absolute ONE, not sure if i could! :D Sigh. You have such elegant, chic taste Jessica!

  4. Nice choices! It's always interesting to read everyone's fav colors, I should do my own post.

  5. love the va-va voom reds. a fun post - especially enjoyable for me because last week, for the first time in years, i treated myself and got my nails done for me. i chose 'mauving to manitoba' by opi, a brand i've never tried before. its a gorgeous fawny neutral, but after a few days of the usual housewifely duties, its beginning to chip off - time for a retouch!

  6. Thanks for this post. I haven't tried any of these shades, but they all seem nice. I think I will look for the pink and the gold ones. Lately, I'm also kind of shying away from the flashier, sparkly polishes, and going for a more feminine style these days. I find that the polishes with sparkles in them chip more quickly, but then are very difficult to remove when you want to redo your mani or pedi, so that's another reason I've been more drawn to just pretty, shiny colors lately.

  7. I have far too many reds in my nail polish box already, but I may have to add that Essie shade into the mix! hehe! I tend to veer most often to red or (of all things) super-dark purple (bordering on black--it's a hold over from years ago when I was just starting university and wearing an artsy mix of vintage and modern). Very rarely I'll wear a lighter blue, yellow or coral. I really like that Revlon pink you mentioned though, and have been on the hunt for a pink that isn't too "bubblegum" for many years. Might have to give it a try, since Revlon is one of my favorite brands. :) But for all the hues I wear on my fingers, almost 100% of the time my toenails are a bright, cherry red! When I went to get a pedicure a couple weeks ago with a girl friend, I waffled for a good 15 minutes over other colors (trying to "jazz up" my normal ;), before opting for my old standby red! lol.

  8. Cute! The mint green is my fav! I snagged a bunch of pastels earlier this year and I wear them all the time. So fun!

  9. I love nail polish too. Red is always on the agenda, but lately I've been loving pale yellow, lilac and gold polish also. I have that Joe Fresh polish, that line is AMAZING! I particularly love the colour in that line that looks like pumpkin pie mix!

  10. hi I'm from Texas. Where can the Joe Mint be purchased?

    1. Hi there, thank you for your comment and question. I believe that the Joe Fresh brand has started to spread to the US, though at the moment there are only stores in New York state (according to the official website: You could try checking eBay to see if anyone is selling some of the Joe Fresh polishes there, but otherwise I'm afraid you may have to wait until the brand branches out further through the US.

      Though not an exact match, OPI's Damone Roberts 1968 is fairly similar soft, lovely mint green, which should be a lot easier to come by in the US.

      ♥ Jessica

  11. Hey! I know this is an older post, but I was doing a search on vintage nail colors and this popped up! Just wanted to pass along that the gold may be more mid-century than you think! Revlon Gold Frosted Nail Enamel 1958

    The Fabulous Mrs. Wing