Actress. Blogger. Beauty editor? We challenged Ashley Madekwe to sit down with dozens of fall’s new nail polish colors and come up with an edit to last till spring. Why? Not only does the British actress have impeccable taste, but she changes her nail polish almost daily. “If it doesn’t match my outfit it’ll bug me all day,” she says. To keep her nails strong with all the changes she gets clear gels every two weeks, then plays with colors at home. “I use non-acetone nail polish remover to take the color off,” she says. “That’s my secret.” After testing a table full of lacquers she selected a dozen of her favorites. Did we agree with her picks? Let’s just say that if she wasn’t so busy with Revenge and her personal style blog, Ring My Bell, we’d recruit her in a heartbeat.
The first polish Madekwe picked up ended up being her favorite. “Oh this one is really good!” she says of Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Color ($27) in Elixir. “I guess Chanel only has to release a few colors each season if they’re this great!”
Madekwe embraced white nails this summer, but for fall she’ll switch to Clinique’s A Different Nail Enamel ($13) in Concrete Jungle. “I’m not over white nails, but in fall it’s best to wear the lightest gray instead,” she says. “This one looks like it’s not quite gray, not quite white.”
It takes a great red to compete with Madekwe’s go-to: Nars’ Jungle Red. “This one is good because it has a nice blue undertone to it,” she says about Joe Fresh’s Nail Polish ($4) in Rouge. The red runner up? Zoya’s Nail Polish ($8) in Livingston.
After testing no less than five shades of purple Madekwe fell for Nars’ Nail Polish ($19) in Fury. “This is a true purple! It’s got a punk vibe to it,” she says. “This would have been really great for the Met Ball.”
Madekwe doesn’t hide her feeling for sparkly nails. “I hate shimmer, but this just looks like your nails are really glossy, which I love,” she says about Tom Ford’s Nail Lacquer ($32) in Show Me The Pink. “Ten points for Tom Ford!”
After trying—and nixing—a neon green polish, Madekwe gave Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Nail Polish ($20) in Become One a try. “It’s quite unusual to find a good green,” she says. “This is almost like a grass green.”
“Oh! This is really nice,” Madekwe says about OPI’s Nail Polish ($9) in Incognito in Sausalito. “It’s a great way to wear a dark nail without going full-on black. Which can sometimes be a little much.”
There’s no shortage of beige hues coming out this fall, but only a few made the actress’ edit: YSL’s La Laque Couture Nail Laquer ($25) in Beige Gallery and Tom Ford’s Nail Lacquer ($32) in Black Sugar. “The YSL is really chic. It’s a beige gray, so it’s the best of both worlds,” she says. And the Tom Ford? “I like this one because you can get away with one coat.”
It may be baby steps, but Madekwe is warming up to shimmer. “This has a small amount of glitter, which again, I don’t love,” she says of Deborah Lippmann’s Nail Polish ($19) in Rolling In The Deep. “But it actually just adds to the glossy, varnish effect.”
“These two would be great together!” Madekwe says of M.A.C.’s Nail Polishes ($16) in Rebel and Screening Room. The former she’d wear on her toes, and the latter on her fingers. “And I love that this one is called Screening Room.”