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Best Nail Polish for Fair Skin 2015

Essie in Mademoiselle

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Best Nail Polish for Fair Skin 2015
WINNER 2015, 2009

Essie in Mademoiselle

An innocent wedding-day pink that, unlike your gown, you can wear every day. 

$9
Best Nail Polish for Medium-Dark Skin 2015

OPI in Samoan Sand

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Best Nail Polish for Medium-Dark Skin 2015
WINNER 2015, 2014

OPI in Samoan Sand

This milky nude pops against warm complexions.

$10
Best Topcoat 2015

Seche Vite

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Best Topcoat 2015
WINNER 2015, 2014

Seche Vite

In the age of constant iPhone tapping, topcoats have never been more vital. This one gives nails a high-gloss shine and dries polish in about 60 seconds. You can even “apply a second coat a few days later to ride out the mani,” says Bozant.

$9
Best Nail Polish for Medium-Fair Skin 2015

Sally Hansen in Royal Blush

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Best Nail Polish for Medium-Fair Skin 2015
WINNER 2015, 2014

Sally Hansen in Royal Blush

The tiniest hint of vanilla takes kiddie-party pink to cocktail-party chic.

$9
Best Nail Polish for Dark Skin 2015

Chanel in Particulière

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Best Nail Polish for Dark Skin 2015
WINNER 2015

Chanel in Particulière

Against the darkest skin, this elegant and creamy brown “elongates” nails. 

$27
Best Bright Nail Polish 2015

Chanel Tapage

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Best Bright Nail Polish 2015
WINNER 2015

Chanel Tapage

Dancing jauntily between cherry red and watermelon pink, this juicy hue looks ablaze on fingers and toes. “It’s fully opaque after two coats,” says Kandalec, who loves how flattering it is on almost anyone.

$27
Best Base Coat 2015

CND Stickey

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Best Base Coat 2015
WINNER 2015, 2013

CND Stickey

This sea green liquid goes on slightly tacky, which feels funny at first, but, well, stick with it. “The tackiness anchors the polish to the nail and also helps prevent staining,” says N.Y.C. manicurist Angel Williams.

$9
Best Red Nail Polish 2015

Christian Louboutin Beauté Rouge Louboutin

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Best Red Nail Polish 2015
WINNER 2015

Christian Louboutin Beauté Rouge Louboutin

It was a swipe of Christian Louboutin’s assistant’s firered nail polish that originally inspired his iconic red soles. Now his own signature crimson lacquer trumps every other red on the market. “If you can’t afford the shoes, this red looks just as sexy,” says N.Y.C. manicurist Elle. 

$50
Best Dark Nail Polish 2015

Essie Wicked

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Best Dark Nail Polish 2015
WINNER 2015, 2013

Essie Wicked

Experts may not agree exactly what color this is — some told us deep brown, others thought black, another swore eggplant — but one thing’s for sure: It’s the chicest dark lacquer money can buy. “My clients always gravitate right to it,” says Outing.

$9
Best Neutral Nail Polish 2015

Deborah Lippmann Naked

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Best Neutral Nail Polish 2015
WINNER 2015, 2014

Deborah Lippmann Naked

This taupe would be right at home in Olivia Pope’s closet of elegant neutrals. It looks crisp, clean, and competent—just like the fixer herself. It suits all skin tones and “never streaks, which often happens with nudes,” says N.Y.C. nail pro Sunshine Outing.

$18
Best Eco-Friendly Polish 2015

Zoya

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Best Eco-Friendly Polish 2015
WINNER 2015, 2014

Zoya

The technical but important part: Each of the 300-plus shades is “five free,” meaning no toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, or camphor. Easier to grasp: “The colors are awesome and dry superfast,” says L.A. pro Melissa Bozant.

$9
Best Nail Polish for Dark Skin 2014

Zoya in Dea

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Best Nail Polish for Dark Skin 2014
WINNER 2014

Zoya in Dea

One pro compared this yummy lacquer to milk chocolate melted over nails

Zoya

$9
Best 2014 Dark Nail Polish

Azature Black Diamond

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Best 2014 Dark Nail Polish
WINNER 2014

Azature Black Diamond

Each bottle contains certified black-diamond dust for light-reflecting bling. But there’s a deeper glossiness beyond the gimmick, as long as you lay it on thick. Says L.A. manicurist Melissa Bozant: "You need to use four to five layers, let it fully dry," and you’ll get the sexiest, richest black you’ve ever seen.

$25
Best 2014 Neutral

Chanel in Ballerina

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Best 2014 Neutral
WINNER 2014

Chanel in Ballerina

An even softer pink than your old pointe shoes, it takes pale polish in a modern new direction.

$27
Best 2014 Bright Nail Polish

Essie Butler Please

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Best 2014 Bright Nail Polish
WINNER 2014

Essie Butler Please

The ultimate cool-girl accent, this bordering-on-neon blue (think cobalt, not Smurfette) will add an edginess to black-and-white outfits and a hipster pop to prints. "Consider it your favorite denim - for your hands," says L.A. nail pro April Foreman, who works with Jennifer Lawrence.

$9
Best 2014 Red Nail Polish

Nars Dovima

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Best 2014 Red Nail Polish
WINNER 2014

Nars Dovima

Named after the legendary 1950s supermodel, this glassy polish - equally appealing on fingers and toes - "is the ultimate true red," says N.Y.C. manicurist Dawn Sterling, who has used the shade on Alicia Keys. "It’s orange-based, so it flatters most skin tones from fair to dark," says Dallas manicurist Joanna Czech.

$19
Best 2014 Base Coat

Orly Bonder

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Best 2014 Base Coat
WINNER 2014

Orly Bonder

Nothing makes us swear like a sailor more than nicking a nail before the polish is dry. This peachy-clear base has a rubberized, flexible texture that’s "like double-sided tape for nail polish," says N.Y.C. nail pro Julie Kandalec. "It’s very forgiving," says Connecticut pro Kris Kiss.

$10
Best Special Effects Polish 2015

Nails Inc. Magnetic

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Best Special Effects Polish 2015
WINNER 2015, 2013

Nails Inc. Magnetic

Nail art needn’t be messy. This polish has a magnet on top of the cap that creates “a holographic effect,” when it’s held over the still-wet nail,” says N.Y.C. manicurist Lisa Logan.

$11
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