For the last six months, my nails have been hiding under a rotation of neon, sparkly, and otherwise totally-not-work-appropriate polishes (I was, um, “testing” them). But just the other day, my editor walked in with a gorgeous nude manicure and I was taken aback. Her hands looked long and slender—like a mannequin’s—and it was so strikingly different than the rainbow colors I was used to seeing on other beauty editors. I decided: time for a color breather.
But when I got to the nail salon, I couldn’t find a single nude polish. I dug through piles of green and orange until I finally had to approach the man working at the front. “Do you have any nude shades?” I asked him shyly. He nodded, and quietly led me past the manicurists as if I were entering the adult section of a bookstore. There they were, untouched and unsorted in the back corner. Some were actually dusty.
I’m all about experimenting with bright and bold colors—in fact, this new wild segment of the polish market accounted for a 67 percent increase in sales among department stores, *The New York Times reported yesterday.* But there are still moments in life when a cheetah print nail isn’t going to cut it (first interviews, engagement photos, and client meetings come to mind). Here, the four shades we’re stockpiling in case of a nude nail apocalypse:
HIPP X RGB Nail Foundations: The flesh-toned neutrals are designed to match any skin tone and lasted nearly two weeks without chipping.
[Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Naked](http://www.allure.com/beauty-products/makeup/2011/deborah-lippmann-nail-polish-naked): Like the name, the polish gives hands a sexy bare quality you couldn’t get from just buffing.
Essie Nail Polish in Sandy Beach: The sheer nude doesn’t have a hint of pink in it, making nails look believably bare. Only shinier.
Orly Nail Lacquer In Coffee Break: Although a bit darker than your average nude, this opaque polish will hide any ridges or imperfections on the nails.
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