| a look into my deep obsession with nail varnish |

Helloooo everyone !

I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner. You probably all know I have an unhealthy obsession with nail varnish; if I could, I would buy every shade ever of the rainbow because they all look different and I obviously have a mood for each, but that’s money and I also don’t have enough fingers.

To try and convince myself I don’t need more shades – pah, that’ll never happen – I’ve gone through all my colours and sorted them into categories – organised nerd alert – to give you some inspiration, and for to actually get some wear out of some of these.

The Bases + Top Coats
I have to hand it to Sally Hansen for creating a fab line of protective nail care. The Green Tea + Bamboo Strength polish has helped keep my nails strong whilst wearing colours. My tip if you have split or peeling nails is to apply two coats and then one every day for a week to help the nail grow out and become strong again.
I use the Maximum Growth on my toenails as they are perfectly fine, and my friend picked up these two for a £1. Yes, £1. Thank you staff discount.
The Rimmel Matte Finish Top Coat ( no longer available ) is really really good. Matte and dry in seconds, it lasts ages and as it gets to the end there’s a light shine which looks healthy.
Sheer Romance is great at making light nudes look paler and brighter. If your nude is a bit too dark still, a few coats of this on top will make your nails look super healthy.

The Nudes + Beiges
Sometimes a simple colour is all you need to make an impact. Rimmel 60 Seconds in 500 Caramel Cupake is a great pink-peach undertoned nude, perfect for a simple outfit or when you want to paint your nails without fears of noticeable chipping.
Again in the Rimmel range, the Pro Professional Finish in 397 Beige Babe is a true 90’s shade; imagine Monica and Rachel in Series 3 FRIENDS and you’ve got the shade here.
I know this last shade is pink, but it’s a dark dusty purple-pink and is a really good simple shade – butter London in Toff to be exact. It’s dark side makes it more of a simple evening, but it looks beautiful all the time and lasts ages too ! butter LONDON really is a fantatsic range and I can’t wait to buy some more.

The Pinks
I didn’t think I had many pink polishes, and actually I don’t. It’s just a lot of similar shades and then two extreme spectrum polishes. There’s no coral, no true fuschia, or a bold Model’s Own Polish for Tans which would be grand, but still.
Firstly, the Rimmel 60 Seconds in 405 Rose Libertine; a very nice bright baby pink shade which is nice for the occassion but I wouldn’t wear it all the time as it’s just not pastel or bright enough. Maybe with the Sheer Romance over the top but just for those Barbie pink days as of now.
Maybelline Forever Strong in 202 Really Rosy is a really really old polish (so old it’s no longer available) that still works and is a lush shade. Lighter than the butter LONDON polish, it’s a great summer evening or autumn days shade.
The MUA shades are quite similar in colour when applied however there are some differences in the finish and application; firstly Shade 4 is very sheer and will take about 3 layers to look mildly opaque, and it’s also got a glittery sheen to it which is a bit meh. Shade 15 is a nice bold yet not bright bold colour and is surprisingly the nicest pink of the three. I like this shade but I believe there is a bolder pink for me. Finally Shade 6 is a pink-red which is opaque and a nice alternative to red. I do like a true-red so I wouldn’t necessarily reach for this all the time, but to switch it up I would definitely look to this for summer.

The Reds
I love true red shades. Bright red nails, almost acrylic red is my favourite. I think it’s because my mum used to have long red nails in the late 90’s and she always looked so glam. Plus Lana Del Rey’s claw nails look amazing in red. All my red shades just happened to be from Nails Inc which is a bit funny, but they are great shades.
The Matte shade in Gatwick okay, it’s a nice colour but it chips after a day. I’m glad I only got this free because I don’t think it would be worth the usual price. Good for toes maybe, not fingers.
Victoria and Albert is my favourite red, it’s bright and bold and applied easily. Longevity is okay, a few days tops but I’m always getting bored and will change it by the time it chips.
Tate is a nice deep red, perfect for vampy evenings. Again it’s similar longevity and as opaque as the rest of the range.
Hampstead Heath (no longer available) is a deep pink-red, classing more as a red and is just as good as the other shades. I think I should wear this range a bit more now I’m reviewing it, as there are some pretty decent shades to try for a classic nail.

The Yellow + Orange
I got this yellow free in a magazine, and for ages I never wore it as I was thinking “yellow ? surely not, and it’s glitter !”. Well I was wrong as it’s a good formula – one coat is a pastel look, two for bold brights. The shimmer isn’t noticable at all, and for a freebie I’m pretty chuffed.
Now, Revlon Neon in High Voltage is my absolute fave. It’s super super bright, bold, and it has a great opaque and long-lasting formula. Go buy it, now.

The Greens
I won’t lie, I’m still on the hunt for my perfect green. I found it in the form of Nails Inc. from a collection they were selling but the rest of the shades couldn’t convince me to part with cash (nor did the price – £22 !!! I’m not sure I could do that in one go).
The Revlon Neon in 150 Fluorescent is a great bright green, however I have found that two coats makes it quite dull, and then sometimes it streaks, so it’s nowhere near as neon as High Voltage.
Nails Inc. in Elm Park Gardens (no longer available) is a great dark autumn/winter shade, near black but with a definite green hue, opaque and good for a few nights.
Now I won’t lie now, I haven’t used the next two polishes in agggeees, if ever. I have swatched them though so I can tell you that the 17 Fast Finish in Sulk is really opaque and a great finish, and has a very galaxy edge to it, not too shimmery at all ! The MUA in Shade 13 is quite translucent, needing several layers, and to be honest it’s kinda streaky. I’d steer clear.
Finally, the Rimmel I Love Lasting Finish in 045 Misty Jade has great longevity, can be built up so one layer gives a sheer jelly bean effect whilst two is bold and a great pastel mint.

The Blues and Cools
I love my blue, you know that by now, and I love all these shades. Nails Inc. in Great George Street (no longer available) is a nice mid-dark denim blue shade, not too wintery but great for an alternative to blacks and purples for a summer dark.
The dusty edge of the Rimmel Pro Finish in 431 Stormy Skies is perfect, just the right amount of grey and it looks great with a matte top coat. I definitely should crack this out more often !
Again from Rimmel (I like Rimmel polish, if you can’t tell 😉 ) is the 60 Seconds 840 Blue Eyed Girl, which I call my TARDIS blue. It’s bold, bright, long lasting and very opaque – need any more reason to buy ?
Finally, my two lighter cool shades which I love for brightening up my nails in an off-white fashion; Rimmel Lasting Finish in 704 Sweet as Sugar is so so bright and light, it’s a perfect shade over a white base. It’s just got that blue hue to really soften the whiteness but make your talons noticeably.
The same goes to the Maybelline Colour Show in 288 Cool Touch, which is probably one of the best formulas ever. It’s a nice grey-lilac shade which is another good white alternative, and it looks so pretty and pastel on the nails.

The Purples
Even though I love purple I don’t have many purple polishes anymore, however these ones have remained good ones to wear in a dark mood. The Leighton Denny in Rebel polish needs a few layers and is quite shimmery, but it’s great for an evening party look – not my favourite but it’s a good quality polish.
Nails Inc.in Stratton Street (no longer available) strikes again as a great colour and formula, a noticable purple and I’m sure over a white base it would be very striking – actually I may just give it a go….
NYC Expert Last in 250 Midnight Amethyst is everything that Leighton Denny should be – it’s opaque and ready in one coat, a nice amount of shimmer, and more purple than a fuschia-purple.
Finally a great violet purple, again from Rimmel in the 312 Ultra Violet. Two coats makes it flawlessly opaque, a great popping spring shade. It may go gloopy over time but it always looks good.

The Glitters
Oh, I have a big love hate relationship with glitter polishes. I love the sparkly look in winter, but it’s such a pain to remove ! I don’t wear them often but they do always look pretty.
I picked up these two W7 Polishes from TK Maxx in a fantastic glitter set – all of which I’ve given away now as they got gloopy boo – 92 Silver Mirror and 93 Blue Mirror. They have a nice 90’s edge to them, a fine glitter running through yet the texture is a slight pain to remove still, but not as bad as other glitters.
Rimmel Lasting Finish in 500 Disco Ball is a great top coat, layering it really is a disco ball and looks good over all shades of polish, although too many layers will make you cry at removal.
The M&S Polish Limited Collection in Cappuccino and 17 Fast Finish in Fury need two coats to be fully opaque. The former is a lovely neutral but the shimmer ruins it a little, and the latter and is more bronze than gold which annoys me however both are good shades with a tan, bronzed and brilliant.
Rimmel Rock Your Colour in 002 Disco Gold (no longer available) is a great top coat to make your usual polish a bit more exciting and glittery gold. Over a gold or yellow base is best, and is a great top coat too.
NYC Polish in 155 Gramercy Glitz works amazingly with the Rimmel Disco Ball, and looks fantastic over pinks and nudes, great for summer sparkle.
Finally, the old classic – Barry M in 150 Red Glitter. I remember getting this when everyone went crazy for it, and it really is a great colour but it’s literally just glitter gloop. After about three coats it’s solid glitter and looks party perfect, but you’ll be lacking patience trying to remove it. Is it worth it ? Maybe, but until they create a formula to make it easier to remove glitter, I’ll be staying away.

The Darks
No dark is the same, all have different hues which make them suit so many occasions (or so I tell myself ). Even with these hues, sometimes you want a good solid black shade, which I found in the Kate Spade x Nails Inc. polish in New York Noir (no longer available). It does what it says on the tin, and now I can wear black in a stylish manner without feeling like my past 13-year-old emo self.
I think Nails Inc. might be rivaling Rimmel in the amount of polish I own, and they’re definitely good for a dark shade such as Motcomb Street and Chelseano longer available ). Motcomb Street has a lovely blue undertone and Chelsea’s red-purple hue make it good for someone who is scared of trying a black shade, plus under a bright light they will compliment a similar outfit colour or lipstick (obviously not a dark blue lip, although…that’s intriguing).
Motcomb Street is similar to Rimmel’s 850 Aye Aye Sailor, although I’d still say to do two layers as one makes it easier to chip.
Finally, the last polish, is MUA in Shade 1; I’ll be honest and say it’s not fab. It need a few layers, is streaky and too shimmery and glittery. A shame as some other shades are really good, but I don’t think it’s a brand to rival Rimmel, Maybelline and Nails Inc.

Wow, that was a real journey to write up and test; I feel for anyone who has a bigger stash than me to go through their nail polishes often deciding on a colour – it’s a mammoth task ! I’ve definitely discovered some old favourites, and ones I’ll be trying this week because the formula and colours are too perfect.

Even with all this effort, I’m probs going to keep buying polish, there’s more shades for me to get over-excited about, and brands too ! I need some Essie, and maybe some more Maybelline….
What are your favourite shades here ? Or what do you recommend me to try ?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Follow my blog with Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest


Brighton based Photographer, photographing your fave bloggers by day and testing the best vegan/cruelty-free skincare by night.


Looking for Something?