They're the classics for a reason
Sure, nail art is super fun and the different looks being offered at London's best nail salons go way beyond the days of novelty cartoon drawings on index fingers. But as a beauty editor, there is nothing that I like more than a simple fresh manicure consisting of one solid shade.
Of course, there is a time and a place for being more playful - I always go for something a little more adventurous and cute for my Valentine's Day nails - but for my everyday look I'm not interested in having fun nails, I want to look smart, sophisticated and expensive.
Perhaps it's my age? I'm well and truly into my mid-thirties now and want to look the part. And I do this with the help of some of the beauty industry's chicest nail shades. I rely on these five shades to help me elevate my everyday look.
1. A sheer nude
Christian Louboutin Beauty Nail Colour in Iriclare, £45 | Cult Beauty
I apply this super pale nude when I want my nails to look as natural as possible, but still polished. Much like the best CC cream, it corrects any areas of discolouration and creates the most perfect base. Whilst dreadfully tricky to cart around in your make-up bag - that spike could cause some serious damage - Christian Louboutin's nail lacquers are really brilliant. Long-lasting with a beautiful colour payoff.
2. A dark burgundy
Max Factor Masterpiece Xpress 60s Nail Polish in Mellow Merlot, £5.99 | Boots
I absolutely love a glass of red wine (who am I kidding, I absolutely love six glasses of red wine). There's just something about the colour. The deep red just calls to me. And that translates rather nicely onto the nail too. Perhaps it's the French vibe? But a dark rouge nail just looks sophisticated. I tend to use this mostly in autumn and winter when you can most likely find me in the corner of a cosy pub drinking a glass of red wine.
3. A greige
Nailberry L'Oxygéné Breathable Nail Polish in Cocoa Cabana, £15
I am fairly new to this shade. I would have typically shied away from anything that came under the 'brown' category. But a cross-over between a beige and a grey works really well on the nails. Nailberry's Cocoa Cabana is the equivalent of a cashmere jumper on the nails. An ideal weekend colour.
4. A pillar box red
Rimmel Super Gel Colour in Flamenco Beach, £6.26 | Amazon
I couldn't compile a list of my favourite nail polish shades and not include a primary red. It's the classic colour that works really well all year round. Whenever I cannot decide on a shade in the nail salon I go for a pillar box red. Rimmel's Super Gel is the closest I've come to finding an at-home manicure that can rival my beloved in-salon gels. Be sure to use the top coat too to cure it.
5. A pale pink
Essie Nail Lacquer in Mademoiselle, £7.99 | Lookfantastic
Most people will tell you that Ballet Slippers by Essie is the perfect pale pink. Unfortunately for them, all of these people are wrong. Because the perfect pale pink shade is in fact, Mademoiselle. The brand calls it a 'grown-up pink' and I couldn't agree more. It's not the childish hues of your early years - this isn't baby pink. The high shine finish makes it expensive looking and the colour is a heightened, more perfected version of your natural nail.
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.
Can everyone stop hating on Bridget Jones?
Bridget was a victim and symptom of her times, not the cause
By Chloe Laws
The Palace issues Kate Middleton statement as 'wild conspiracy theories' circulate online
The Princess of Wales had abdominal surgery in January
By Jadie Troy-Pryde
10 best women's gym hoodies to keep you cosy and chic pre-workout
We've tested dozens of styles and these came out on top.
By Grace Lindsay
I'm not a big fan of festive nails, but these 6 party-ready designs are undeniably chic
All the party season manicure inspo you could need this season
By Lucy Abbersteen
Short nails have proved the dominating beauty trend of 2023—here's the best looks out there
And the best products to achieve a chic finish
By Tori Crowther
Cold chrome nails are going to dominate the rest of 2023—here's the proof
9 looks for your next salon appointment
By Mica Ricketts
According to manicure experts, these are the best red nail polish looks this season
Everything from deep wine tones to bold apple reds, plus all the manicure inspo you need
By Lucy Abbersteen
Sheer nails will continue to dominate 2023—here are the best nail polishes for a chic, effortless finish
By Rebecca Fearn
These autumnal nail trends come approved by the royals—and we want to copy them
Give your nails the royal treatment for the new season
By Lauren Hughes
Celebrity nail trends have dominated in 2023—I'm still obsessed with these 14 looks
All the inspiration you need for your next trip to the salon
By Mica Ricketts
This simple, no-fuss nail polish has totally dominated 2023—and we can see why
It's *the* nail polish everyone should own
By Mica Ricketts