Our Editors’ All-Time Favorite Nail Polish Colors

Essie has officially dubbed June 1st as National Nail Polish Day. So, to celebrate, Real Simple staffers share their go-to nail polish colors and formulas. 


Smith & Cult in Lover’s Creep

Photo by bloomingdales.com

“It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I am always wearing this shade. It’s the perfect bordeaux! Plus I find Smith & Cult stays on my nails longer. I don’t have to worry about them chipping constantly.” – Hannah Norling, assistant producer

To buy: Smith & Cult in Lover’s Creep, $18; bloomingdales.com.


OPI in Coca-Cola Red

Photo by ulta.com

“I wear a lot of white and chambray in the summer and this shade pairs perfectly. It really works so well with everything I wear in the summertime—from the beach, to the office, to a concert, or to a dinner party!” – Rebecca Longshore, social media manager

To buy: OPI in Coca-Cola Red, $10; ulta.com.


Essie in Angora Cardi

Photo by ulta.com

“This is my favorite everyday polish. I’m on my second bottle of this since it launched last fall. It goes with everything across all seasons, because sometimes it looks a little tan/neutral and other times it looks purple.” – Elizabeth Sile, senior editor

To buy: Essie in Angora Cardi; $9; amazon.com.


Ella + Mila Nail Polish

Photo by ellamila.com

“Having two kids, I love that it is eco-friendly, kid-friendly, and 'seven-free.' The colors are pretty, too!” – Rebecca Hart, art director

To buy: Ella + Mila Nail Polish, $8; amazon.com.


Essie in Sugar Daddy

Photo by target.com

“I love the natural, subtle color for my nails. Plus, I find that it doesn’t chip as easily as other polishes.” – Filomena Guzzardi, editorial production director

To buy: Essie in Sugar Daddy, $9; amazon.com.


Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

Photo by target.com

“Between the thick, flat applicator brush and the quick dry, long-lasting finish, it’s my go-to. I usually wear either All Chalked Up or Let’s Get Digital for a little shimmer.” – Stephanie Sisco, home editor

To buy: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, $7.50; target.com.


Essie in After School Boy Blazer

Photo by sallybeauty.com

“I've always been a fan of black nail polish, because it gives me an edge with little effort. But, in recent years, I’ve become even fonder of midnight and navy blues. I get the edginess of a black, with a nautical twist! I like wearing this one all year ‘round!” – Wendy Granger, photo editor

To buy: Essie in After School Boy Blazer, $9; amazon.com.


OPI Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener in Samoan Sand

Photo by ulta.com

“I only wear neutrals on my toes. It doesn’t stain, it looks better/less messy as it grows out (so you can go longer between pedicures), and it doesn’t show as much when it chips. This one has a little bit of a peachy tone, so it’s not invisible. You see it, but it’s subtle.” – Elizabeth Passarella, contributing editor

To buy: OPI Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener in Samoan Sand, $18; amazon.com.


JinSoon Nail Polish in Blue Iris

Photo by net-a-porter.com

“I wasn’t a huge fan of blue nail polish—it always looked too teenybopper-y—until I tried Jin Soon Blue Iris and quickly understood why it’s the number one seller in the line. It’s a super rich, glossy, yet sophisticated cobalt blue (one shade is a bit sheer; two shades create a smooth opaque finish). I wear the shimmer-free shade on my toes all summer (and when I’m feeling frisky, on my hands) and it’s an instant mood booster. Plus it’s free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor—it’s definitely the happiest nail shade I’ve ever worn.” – Heather Muir Maffei, beauty director

To buy: JinSoon Nail Polish in Blue Iris, $18; net-a-porter.com.