August 21 2014

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The Fab Five: Orange-Red Crush


As mentioned in the pages of the new issue of, I am a big fan of classic manicures. When I wasn’t painting on dark shades of red from Dior and & Other Stories, I wore Essie’s deep berry Bordeaux for much of the winter. But the shock of unexpected warm weather we got this week got me thinking about brightening up—specifically, with a color I typically reserve for spring and summer. Often called “tomato” or “fiery” red, the particular polish shade I’m referring to is an orange-tinged scarlet that offers up a lighter, sunny adaptation of more readily available blue-tinged crimsons. I’ve always sworn by RGB Cosmetics’ opaque crème Coral, but there’s a whole new crop of contenders that are now skirting the mandarin-scarlet divide. Here, my top five favorites.

Pitch Perfect
Sonia Kashuk Nail Colour in Fever Pitch
A lively dose of gingery pigments spruce up this dark rose base.

Sunny Disposition
Revlon ColorStay Nail Enamel in Sunburst
With a sheer, jelly-like consistency, this poppy hue has a wonderful lightweight finish that can be built up for a deeper color payoff. It veers more toward true tangerine than the others, but in a subtle way, thanks to its transparency.

Fire Starter
MAC Nail Lacquer in Ablaze
As part of MAC’s new Fashion Sets collection, this fuchsia-tinged flame color is also available in a corresponding Lipglass, Lipstick, and Lip Pencil. But the varnish is the standout of the bunch, as far as I’m concerned.

Flame Game
Le Vernis de Chanel in 647 Lilis, available May 2013 at
One of a handful of great colors in Chanel’s hotly anticipated summer range, this polish is nearly identical to MAC’s offering, albeit a bit more delicate.

Matte Madness
Givenchy Le Vernis 11 Croisiere, available May 2013 at
Delivering a flat matte finish, this clementine-skewed cerise is perhaps my favorite incarnation of the festive color, which happens to wear incredibly well sans glossy top coat.

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