As beauty editors, we try our best to remain egalitarian when it comes to our product repertoire—doling out our love and admiration equally to those special colors, shades, and formulas that make our hearts skip a beat. However, there are certain situations when we want to exclusively date a product. And to be honest, it happens most often with nail polish—especially the best Essie colors we've loved and used since what feels like forever.
Not only does the beloved nail polish brand master the basics (it boasts some of the most iconic shades of light pink, red, and moody hues known to beauty lovers), but it continues to dish up mesmerizing new shades as well. Just when we thought we had an inarguable favorite, Essie goes ahead and debuts a brand-new collection that makes us second-guess everything. Therefore, we thought we'd write an ode to Essie featuring, you guessed it, the best colors Byrdie HQ plays favorites for. Keep reading for 12 of the best Essie colors we love (and pray the brand will never discontinue).
1. Aruba Blue
Inspired by the blue shades of the Caribbean Sea, this metallic Essie color is an edgy departure from your standard robin's egg or navy.
2. Ballet Slippers
As one of the most iconic shades of light pink within the nail polish universe, it could be argued that Ballet Slippers is one of the best Essie colors ever developed. Not too nude but not too pink, it never veers overly precious yet offers a sheer, demure, and overall put-together nail look.
3. Leggy Legend
I've mentioned before that I love a good orange or rust on my nails, and this sparkling copper-chrome shade from Essie is the best for when I want to upgrade my basic burnt sienna with a flash of glamour. It's less expected than silver or gold, and I can never stop staring at my tips post-mani.
4. Blue-tiful Horizon
Inspired by the juxtaposition between sun (sparkling flecks of amber) and dusky sky (cerulean blue), this Essie color was part of the brand's 2018 Desert Mirage collection, and team Byrdie is still 100% smitten.
5. Forever Yummy
Sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than the perfect shade of red. After all, it's one part classic and retro and one part modern and fresh. So when it comes to hues of crimson and scarlet, Byrdie editors go for Essie's infamous red: Forever Yummy.
6. Mint Candy Apple
An ever-lasting favorite for spring, Essie does mint green right. Not only does it have a knack for popping on every skin tone, but it also reminds us of our favorite ice cream flavor.
7. Scarlett O'Hara
If you love red but seek an extra touch of drama, look no further than this dark red shimmery number. Though a little flashy, it never reads cheap or tacky.
8. Midnight Cami
Navy lovers, this one is for you. For a vampy update to your favorite go-to hue, this best-of-the-best Essie color (favored by senior editor Hallie Gould) is one to incorporate into your nail routine ASAP. It's shimmery enough to glint and glow gorgeously when the light hits it, but it will never read too ostentatious for comfort.
9. Less Is Aura
Another standout from Essie's 2018 Desert Mirage Collection, this earthy shade is a sweet and elegant compromise if you're looking for something on the neutral side of the spectrum that still packs some power in pigment and interest.
10. The Girls Are Out
Okay, okay, this one isn't for the faint of heart. However, if you love an eye-catching pink moment on your nails from time to time, you'll immediately fall prey to this shimmering hot magenta, which to be honest, feels like a party on your tips.
The moody shade of all moody shades, Wicked, will go down in history as one of the best Essie colors. Deep, dark, and dreamy, it's the nail polish equivalent to a little black dress. Except, of course, that it's actually red.
12. Romper Room
Editorial Director Faith Xue's go-to shade of nude, Romper Room (in addition to Ballet Slippers), falls into the category of effortless nail colors that never cease to flatter. A tad more pink than Ballet Slippers, this best-of Essie color is great for when you want something subtle and sophisticated.