It might come as a shock to some people that the first nail polish to ever hit the mass market wasn’t a bright shade of cherry-red — it was pink. It wasn’t until the early 30s, when deep red lacquers popped up on the fingers of European socialites, that Revlon responded to the trend with a collection of crimson polishes. By the 40s, when leading ladies could show off their manicures in technicolor, red nail polish had cemented itself as an iconic part of American culture.
But it’s been a long time since Rita Hayworth showed off her fiery fingernails in 1941’s Blood and Sand. These days, you can walk into a salon and spot hundreds of reds — varying in undertone and finish — proving that picking just one is far harder than it was nearly eight decades ago.
So, how do you know which red is the right red? Ahead, nail pros share the ten polishes that work for everyone.
1. The polish: Essie Berry Naughty
Call us cliché, but we love nothing more than a wine-red mani. Goldstein says this burgundy-red is flattering 365 days of the year — and especially in the spring and summer.