Patriotic and Specific: Tynan Hooks You Up With The Best Blue-Red Nail Polish For The 4th Of July/Eternity

Have you noticed that this week, in preparation for the holiday, everyone is rocking some patriotic nail art? That is not where this article is going, I promise.
Publish date:
July 3, 2013
nail polish, reader, red

Happy almost 4th of July! Are you guys SO excited for the 4th? I am. I’m excited for everything.

As any good American knows, the 4th of July is all about American flag tank tops, Lana Del Rey music videos, and narrowly avoiding getting arrested for public intoxication. I never make plans for the 4th because regardless of what I think I’ll end up doing, I will, without a doubt, end up missing the fireworks and wind up on a porch somewhere with some weird, festive margarita buzz. America!

Have you noticed that this week, in preparation for the holiday, everyone is rocking some patriotic nail art? I know, I know, “patriotic nail art.” Somebody stop me before I start. We will do ANYTHING for an excuse to wear themed nail art in 2013. But that is not where this article is going, I promise.

The transition that I am unsuccessfully trying to make here is that everyone is rocking some combo of red, white, and blue on their nails, OK? But some of us are looking for very specific shades. Like my new friend Amy!

Last week, I got the cutest email from Amy, asking my advice in finding the perfect blue-red nail polish. HERE’S AN EXCERPT:

I'm on the prowl for a very particular shade of red nail polish, and, as a dedicated xoJane reader, I know your encyclopedic knowledge of all things lacquer-related vastly exceeds my own. (I also currently reside in the sorry ass-end of nowhere and don't exactly have many beauty counters at my disposal, and trying to pick out shades online is just not the same.) Will you point me in the right direction if you can? Pretty please?

On page 48 of the new Vogue (Katy Perry cover), there's a photo of Grimes. The shade of red on those shoes is, to my mind, the absolute Platonic ideal of red. Sort of a blue red, perfectly balanced between deep and bright, completely gorgeous, and I must, must have it on my nails. Does anything come to your knowledgeable brain as far as a polish this shade?

I immediately got LIFE from this email because of how specific it was. “Page 48 of the new Vogue (Katy Perry cover).” YAAAS!!! It was the color of one shoe from one photo, where the shoe wasn’t even prominently featured. I thought I was the only one that got weirdly obsessed with teeny little details like that, specifically, colors from the real world that I want on my nails. Amy, your struggle is real, and I feel it. And believe me, I'm always on the prowl too, girl.

Amy also pointed out in her original email that the specific picture of Grimes wasn’t readily available online, so, uh, here.

I compiled a list of colors that I believe are the blue-red that Amy is looking for, balanced between deep red, and true, bright red. And they're all available online, so no matter where you live, you'll be able to get your hands on them. I am, after all, an equal opportunity nail expert.

“Got The Blues For Red” by OPI

If the name of this polish wasn’t already a dead giveaway, this is the one. This polish is the place to start on your journey to the blue-red paradise. It’s leaning just over the line of fire engine red without falling into cranberry territory. I like it a lot, and it’s OPI, so you know you’re going to get quality. OPI also has a library of reds, and this is one of my favorites.

This may be a little obvy, but since it’s a more middle of the road red, your skin color is going to do a lot to dictate how the shade actually reads to others. If you’re a pasty girl like me, it’s going to look a little darker, while if you’re a woman of color, it’s going to look like a brighter cherry red the darker your skin is.

“Smoke Red” by Tom Ford

So I’m really into Tom Ford beauty products right now, and can you blame me? This shade is actually the first one I thought of when I read Amy's email (before running out to see Andrew McMahon in concert.)

This color is officially beyond. It’s a blue-red with notes of, I want to say, charcoal gray. There’s not enough gray to darken the red or take away any of the brightness of the blue hues, but just enough to differentiate it from the OPI into a red that’s a little more mature and mysterious. Isn’t it SEXY? God. Oh, the quality of Tom Ford polish is crazy. I know it’s an investment, but you’re not going to be sorry.

“Lotus Rouge” by Chanel

I realize this one is a little more expensive as well, but it’s another shade that fits what Amy is looking for. I’ve seen in the comments that some readers don’t like Chanel polishes, because of the price point in relation to quality or color choices, but I have to be honest when I say I’ve always been happy with Chanel polishes! So I’m recommending this one.

Lotus Rouge is a beautiful blue-red that doesn’t quite match the edgy brightness of the two polishes I mentioned before it. It’s like a candy apple red that has been softened by just a touch of blue, maybe just a shade darker and more blue-hued than Smoke Red. I find Lotus Rouge to be a more ~approachable~ blue-red that is perfect for wearing all year long.

“Look Book” by Color Club

Look Book might be the one closest to the bright red that Amy liked, while still including the blued hues she’s looking for. It almost has a hint of berry, while still being red, red, red.

But wait a minute, let’s revisit that picture.

I know Vogue made it sound like Grimes was modeling head-to-toe Balenciaga, but the shoes that Amy likes are Prada from fall 2012. I know, I die too. Look at the dimension of the color in the photo. I only recommended crème colors because those are the ones I gravitate toward. I SUPPOSE that an iridescent red polish could also do the trick, but can we talk about layering polishes right quick?

You could always apply one layer of your ideal blue-red, or even a true red, and then layer one or two coats of a darker, iridescent red over the top of it to make a custom color with more dimension, just like Rihanna's nail girl told us about (I thought I'd Rih-mind you).

Iridescent shades are typically sheerer than crème polishes. When you’re using a sheer, iridescent polish on its own over a bare nail, it will take two, maybe three coats to cover. But when you put it over a base color, you see most of the color underneath while the sheer color on top helps give it more dimension. Make sense?

If you’re down to experiment, I’d try “Limited Addiction” by Essie as your base color and try layering either “Scarlett O’Hara” or “Wrapped In Rubies,” both also by Essie, over the top of it.

How does that sound? AMY, do any of those look right? I hope so. What do you guys think? What shade has long been evading you? Mine is a great, creme royal purple, STILL. Rude. What are you guys doing for the 4th? Wanna see MY patriotic mani?

Tynan is answering all of the big questions on Twitter: @TynanBuck.