The 9 Cult Classic Nail Polishes Every Woman Should Own

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Cult Nail Polish

The nail polish universe is vast—Essie alone has more than 250 shades—but only a select few are worthy of scoring a spot in every woman’s collection. From the classic shades that been around for decades, to the newcomers that took the beauty scene by storm, here are nine cult-classics that should be on your radar. 


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1 / 9

OPI Classic Collection Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red

Finding the perfect red can be quite the challenge—some are too orange, others are too pink, or just don’t pop the way a red should. This one is dead-on perfect and flatters all skin tones. $9, drugstore.com

2 / 9

essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers

Created more than 30 years ago (to say it’s timeless would be an understatement), this best-selling pale pink is a stylist favorite and true go-to, whether it’s a first date, a business meeting or a night on the town. This shade will never let you down. $9, essie.com

3 / 9

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Black Satin

One of the first black polishes to come onto the scene and transform the way women view nail color, this satiny shade with a bit of shimmer is supersmooth and creamy and adds a touch of edge to any outfit in any season. $27, chanel.com

4 / 9

Deborah Lippmann Nail Color in SexyBack

Inspired by Justin Timberlake’s chart-topping song, “SexyBack,” this fun and flirty pink takes center stage on your nails, and looks even better on your toes. It’s a definite must-have for spring and summer, especially during vacation. $24, deborahlippmann.com

5 / 9

Butter London Nail Lacquer in Yummy Mummy

Every woman needs a barely there shade that isn’t too sheer, but still takes a neutral nail to the next level. This nudeish-beige of sorts is classy and sophisticated with a high shine factor. It’s no wonder the brand calls it its “magic lacquer.” $15, butterlondon.com

6 / 9

NARS Iconic Color Nail Polish in Chinatown

A rich and luxurious deep red hue, this polish is an editor favorite and is part superchic, part vampy vixen. Plus, it looks great on all skin tones from the super fair to the very dark. $20, narscosmetics.com


7 / 9

ZOYA Nail Polish in Dove

You only need one perfect gray polish in your collection, not 50. This soft, creamy shade takes the cake. It’s glossy and opaque and with a hint of taupe—not too light or dark, just a perfect happy medium that we love. $9, zoya.com

8 / 9

Dior Vernis in 803 Métal Montaigne

Gold and bronze polish can be tricky to match to certain skin tones, but this gunmetal color is an eye-catcher on everyone. It’s a way to wear something on the darker side without going too dark—perfect for girl’s night out. $27, dior.com

9 / 9

Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Kings & Thieves

What is there to say about a posh navy blue except yes please! Not to be pushed to the back of your polish pile on reserve for colder months, this dark ink blue also pairs perfectly with pastel spring fashions. $18, smithandcult.com

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