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Why Essie’s Ballet Slippers Isn’t Going Anywhere

Looking for the perfect neutral nail polish? This one’s lasted the test of time for good reasons.
Why Essie’s Ballet Slippers Isn’t Going Anywhere

Over three decades ago Essie Weingarten launched a line of nail polish with only three colors. Since then—and with Weingarten’s help—the industry’s exploded. According to WWD women spent $768 million on lacquer last year, feeding into the steadily growing 1.6 billion dollar industry. Now you can shop hundreds of brands and decorate your fingers with everything from glitter to chalk to stickers. But even with at-home gels and long-lasting polish picking up steam, the classics remain at the top. Blame the easy-to-remember name, or the universally flattering hue, but chances are you either own a bottle, or have gotten a manicure with Essie’s Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers.

Ballet Slippers ($8) is a pale, sheer pink that’s become synonymous with a neutral manicure. It’s a celebrity and editor favorite that can be worn a variety of ways. One coat gives a sheer, barely-noticeable wash of coverage, while two provides a subtle pink hue that lets white tips and your natural coloring peek through. Layer a single swipe over something whiter—like Marshmallow or Blanc ($8)—and you’ve got an opaque version that complements every complexion. It’s really the only nail polish we consider a “must-have”—that, and a classic red of course!

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