Friday, 24 August 2012

Basic Nail Polish Starter Set

So the other day in the comments section of my OPI collections post, one of my lovely readers asked me to recommend a great starter set of nail polishes from good brands (particularly OPI). They also said they had pale skin so wanted to be sure the recommended colours would suit them. 

I also have pale skin, so luckily I’ll be able to recommend from experience! But these colours are also staple colours that look good on most skin tones, for instance they look good on my sister and she is more tanned than me.

There are certain nail polish colours that everyone should own in their basic collection. So I’m going to keep this list small and just cover the top five staple polishes someone would need in a starter kit. They are also my all time favourite colours.

Here are the five main staple colours everyone should own:

A vibrant deeper pink, a peachy pink neutral, a fun pastel mint, a navy shimmery dark, and a pastel pink

Here are my choices of favourite polishes for each of these colours:

L-R: Essie in Fiesta, Revlon in Peach Petal, Essie in Mint Candy Apple, OPI in Light My Sapphire, OPI in Pink Friday
With flash (looks most like the actual colour)
Without flash

Fiesta: A gorgeous vibrant hot pink, that is a deep enough colour to not look too 'Barbie-ish' or garish in the slightest. It applies perfectly, is opaque basically after one coat (definitely within two) and lasts for ages. These two Essie polishes in this starter set are better quality than any OPI I've tried - the brush is better, it's easier to apply flawlessly, the formulation is thinner and both produce an incredibly pigmented, rich colour.

Peach Petal (#115): A beautiful rather subtle peachy-pink colour that is so flattering on paler skin. Very office appropriate. I don't usually buy Revlon, but I saw my friend wearing this colour and I fell in love with it on her nails so I just had to have it! Plus Revlon lasts just as long as other polishes do with my Seche Vite topcoat (mentioned in my Nail Care post recently). 

Mint Candy Apple: A soft mint green pastel colour that has quickly become my number one favourite polish. Like with Fiesta, it applies like a dream. Looks beautiful against pale skin and is just such a fun and cheery shade.

Light My Sapphire: I had to put a dark stylish polish in the collection, but I don't feel solid black looks very flattering on pale skin. It tends to look too gothic. So this is what I use instead. Light My Sapphire is a shimmery black-blue that ends up looking basically black but with a softer edge (so avoids that goth look). In the light the blue undertones come out, and it has a pretty pearlescent finish. Very stylish and tasteful! Being OPI, it is very good quality and applies and lasts brilliantly.

Pink Friday: Is a warm pastel pink that is just rich and pigmented enough to really complement a pale skin tone without making you look washed out. Pastel pinks are one of my favourite shades to wear, and they go with everything. You have to be really careful though because some pastel colours on pale skin can make you look a bit drained of colour and sick (I made that mistake buying Mod About Me-OPI).

So there you have it! What do you think of my top five? 

I was going to put in like a staple red colour for example, but then I realised I never wear reds. And when I thought about why that was, I realised reds really don't suit me. I feel they look garish and ugly against my cool toned pale skin. So I thought I probably shouldn't recommend polish colours I never wear in my starter kit for you guys! If you are pale skinned and love your reds though, I feel blue based or pinkier reds look more flattering on pale skin rather than yellow based reds. 

In general I wear a lot of pastels. In every colour! Pastels look gorgeous against pale skin, you just need to make sure you get the right shade and richness of colour.

Essie polishes are brilliant, however their colour range is quite restricted. They tend to do mainly neutrals. They cost around $18.95 in Australia (Myer stocks them). OPI has an enormous colour range, but sometimes some of their polishes are harder or gluggier to apply than Essie. But I have so many OPIs and love them all to death. They are around $20 (David Jones stocks them).

What would be in your nail polish starter kit? To the reader that requested this - I hope you got some value from this! 


  1. This is a cute post and lovely colours :)

    Sophierosehearts x

    1. Thanks lovely, it was fun to write! My nails look so funny now though with a different colour on every finger and I'm about to go out and don't have time to remove them! Hope people don't think I'm too weird :P x

  2. I especially love Mint Candy Apple. This is an excellent collection you've come up with here, I totally agree with your recommendations.

    1. Haha thanks! Yes Mint Candy Apple was a brilliant find and definitely a favourite of mine, gets used a lot in this house!

  3. Great post, I love your picks! Those shades would definitely make a great starter set :) x

    1. Thanks so much :) Glad you agree with my colour choices! Love your blog btw xx


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