Orly Nail Polish Is Seriously Underrated—These Are the Best Shades

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There are few things as satisfying as walking down a full nail polish aisle. A rainbow organization moment of our dreams, if you will. Needless to say, if you're at the right store, you've got options. It's often easy to overlook certain brands, so we'd like to put you on to the hidden gem known as Orly. Birthed in Los Angeles in 1975, Orly is known for its innovative formulas and unique colors.

If you're into bold hues and formulas that last, we suggest you get your hands on few shades. Each bottle is equipped with a 600-bristle brush that delivers a potent dose of color, typically in two coats. Plus it dries fast so you won't have to wait around forever, which often feels like the hardest part, right? There are countless colors to choose from, and we did the not-so-easy job of narrowing it down to our favorites.

Read on for our favorite Orly nail polishes.

Best Pink: Orly Nail Polish in Confetti

Orly Nail Polish Confetti

This cloudy pink pastel suits all skin tones well, so we had to kick it off with Confetti. Though soft and simple, this shade still makes a statement. It's timeless, and like a little black dress, this is a nail color that everyone should own at least one of.

Best Orange: Orly Nail Polish in Life's a Beach

Orly Nail Polish Life's a Beach

If the name doesn't grab you alone, this fiery red-orange color combo will. We love this pop shade because it's the perfect color accent to any plain outfit. A black pantsuit with a red-orange lip and these nails? Yes please.

Best Burgandy: Orly Nail Polish in Hillside Hideout

Orly Hillside Hideout Nail Lacquer

Keep your nails aligned with your fall aesthetic and go for a soft burgundy like Hillside Hideout. This shade has hints of shimmer, so it feels festive, too. Think Halloween-meets-winter-holidays. You can pop this shade on in the start of September and rock it through the new year.

Best Neutral: Orly Nail Polish in Mansion Lane

Orly Mansion Lane Nail Lacquer

Mansion Lane is the perfect nude you never knew you needed. Mauve gray meets taupe. It's a chic shade that feels understated and cool, and matches just about anything.

Best Purple: Orly Nail Polish in Scenic Route

Orly Nail Polish Scenic Route

If you're looking for a shade that no one else is wearing, Scenic Route is for you. This neon purple makes nails pop. It's a head turner in the best way, and a fun vibrant color for summer.

Best Muted: Orly Nail Polish in Head in the Clouds

Nail Polish in Head in the Clouds

If you love Confetti but want something a tad more subtle, we present to you, Head in the Clouds. This muted pink is the perfect subtle color for every day wear. The no-makeup-makeup version of nail polish.

Best Sparkle: Orly Nail Polish in Shine On Crazy Diamond

What's not to love about some sparkle? This cool-kid shimmery shade is equal parts subtle and stylish. Wear it solo for a NYE moment (regardless of the date) or layer it on top of another shade for a little touch of glam.

What to Look For in an Orly Product

Wardrobe

Yes, you read that right. Your wardrobe and staple colors should influence your nail polish color choices. Of course, rocking a shade that makes you feel confident is the most important aspect when it comes to color choice, but following your outfit tones can help narrow down the perfect polish shade when getting a manicure.

Pigment

Not all nail polishes are created equally, and Orly prides itself on pigmented colors that require fewer coats for opacity. That means bright, beautiful colors and coverage without having to apply half the bottle in one manicure. Whether you prefer a subtle pink or a neon green, the wide array of color choices has got you covered.

Ingredients

Nothing new here, but just like everything else we put in and on our bodies, ingredients matter. If you were wondering, you can be allergic to nail polish, so it's important to be aware of what nail polish is made of. Ingredients such as tosylamide-formaldehyde resin and formaldehyde can trigger allergic contact dermatitis in some people.

FAQ
  • Where does nail polish come from?

    Traced back to ancient China, nail polish has been around for thousands of years. The Zhou Dynasty saw trends shift from metallic shades like gold and silver to classic shades like red and black in the 7th century B.C., and it's safe to say that this is a craze that never went out of style.

  • What is nail polish made out of?

    The three most significant elements of most modern nail polishes are solvents, resins, and pigments. Solvents help the formula attach to the nail (and are also behind that distinctive nail polish smell), resins thicken and harden, and pigments provide color.

  • What color nail polish is best for me?

    If you're choosing your polish based on what color is complementary to your skin and undertone—which is far from a requirement—we've got the answers. Vivid reds and yellows look great on a deeper skin tone, while warm-toned reds and pinks pop on olive skin. Light skin tones tend to be complemented by pastels and nudes. But remember: Ultimately, the best nail polish color for you is the one that makes you feel good.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Lazzarini R, Hafner M de FS, Lopes AS de A, Oliari CB. Allergy to hypoallergenic nail polish: does this exist? An Bras Dermatol. 2017;92(3):421-422.

  2. Toedt J, Koza D, Cleef-Toedt KV. Chemical Composition of Everyday Products. Greenwood Press; 2005.

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