There's just something about a clean and polished manicure that makes me feel confident and in-charge. Even if my laundry is piling up, my vanity is full of toppled dry shampoo bottles, and my fridge is a desolate wasteland of grocery ghosts, I feel like my life is put-together if my nails look put-together. That's why I collect (correction: hoard) bottles of nail polish of every shade, brand, and texture. I decide which one I'll use at any given time based on ever-changing factors such as my mood, my schedule, and the season. Clearly, I'm not one to stick to a certain brand or shade. Instead, I hop around between old favorites and new testers before settling on something that strikes my fancy.
Lately, though, I have been sticking to a certain brand. It's called J. Hannah, and it's an under-the-radar line of nail polish that's composed of unique and on-trend shades that I haven't been able to find anywhere else...think of colors that make up aesthetically-pleasing Instagram fodder, like moody blue, sheer opalescent gold, artichoke green, and dusky terracotta red. I honestly can't get enough of adorning my nails with these shades. Keep scrolling to see the polishes for yourself and understand why I'm such a loyal convert.
This shade, Eames ($19), is described as an "earthy chartreuse." To me, it's the perfect color with which to introduce this brand, because it's right in line with the slime green trend that's currently circulating Instagram, yet thanks to its dusky—almost powdery—hue, it maintains an elevated (dare I say sophisticated) quality that separates it from everything else out there.
I equate it to those Instagram accounts in which every photo is filtered to look like it was taken during a particularly hazy California golden hour (you know the ones?). There's color present in every photo the influencer posts—whether it's in the form of a vintage dress, trendy handbag, or buzzy beauty product—but thanks to the way its edited, the color is subdued and the overall effect is dusky and neutral. Yeah, that's J. Hannah nail polish. It's just as the brand says; this is a line of nail polish curated for the "color-resistant."
The packaging is another point. The no-nonsense square bottles look like they were made to live amongst a well-curated vanity complete with succulents, high-end candles, and shiny trinkets. (If I'm being completely honest, my J. Hannah nail polishes have inspired me to up my vanity game with a few of the aforementioned objects). Maybe it's because this nail brand comes from Jess Hannah, who is first and foremost a jewelry designer that has expanded her expertise into nail polish, but everything seems truly curated, and it's all the better for it. In fact, each shade is inspired by a famous artist, muse, or natural element. Take this shade, for example. It's called Blue Nudes, and it was inspired by Matisse.
This brand isn't just about surface-level aesthetics, though. Each shade of its nail polish are seven-free, meaning they're formulated without 7 potentially harmful ingredients that are found in other traditional polishes. They're also cruelty-free and made in the United States.
I tested this opalescent gold, called Akoya (which looks like the inside of a seashell), as well as the Blue Nudes shade. Both have a thin and watery texture that's easy to manipulate during a DIY manicure. They dry quickly and smoothly, which I appreciate, although I will say it takes 2-3 coats to get a fully opaque finish (the watery texture can lead to a subtly streaky look on the first go-round). To me, taking the time to paint 2-3 coats instead of just the 1 is a small price to pay for such unique shades and a non-toxic formula.
This dusty terracotta shade is one I can't wait to get on my nails. It's the perfect shade of nail polish to wear throughout spring and summer. As someone who lives in Los Angeles, I look for nail colors like this—warm tones that match the hazy and heat-soaked days to come.
Relic is another personal favorite. I'm not-so-secretly obsessed with yellow nail polish, and this hazy sunshine shade is set to be the newest addition to my polish collection. It was inspired by the "worn opulence" of Art Deco during the 1920s and '30s.
If you're truly color-averse and privy only to true neutrals, I suggest reaching for this shade, called Agnes. It's described in 3 succinct phrases: "Soft restraint. Pale watercolor. Faded petal." To me, this soft pink nude radiates a certain French-girl sophistication.