Red nail polish is one of those tried-and-true, classic beauty products. It instantly makes your nails look chic and bold, yet the hue manages to go with almost everything in your wardrobe. Red nails will always be in style, making red polish an essential in any nail polish collection.
Red nails have been around since at least 3000 B.C., which means there have been many true classic red nail polishes that have stood the test of time. We looked in the archives of nail polish history to find 10 of the best red nail polishes of all time from contemporary and classic brands.
O.P.I. in Big Apple Red
One of the best-loved, classic red nail polishes is OPI’s Big Apple Red. It was released in Fall 2000, as part of the brand’s New York City Collection, and has been a fan fave ever since.
Available at opi.com, $10.50
Chanel in Pirate
Another classic red nail polish that is a tried-and-true favorite is Chanel’s Pirate. It’s a classic bright red that goes well with other classic hues, such as black, white, and navy. Another well-loved Chanel red is Dragon.
Available at chanel.com, $28
Dior in Rouge 999
Dior has its own best-selling, classic red nail polish, called Rouge 999. It used to be known as Red Royalty 999, but the name was changed in 2013 when it was released as part of the Rouge Dior Iconic Collection, which celebrated Rouge Dior’s 60th anniversary.
Available at dior.com, $28
Essie in Lacquered Up
Essie has a lot of best-selling classics (hello, Ballet Slippers!). When it’s time to go for the red, many opt for the brand’s Lacquered Up. Described as a “glossy, gorgeous, red-hot crimson,” it is compared to the “red lacquer arts of China.”
Available at essie.com, $9
Christian Louboutin in Rouge Louboutin
Everyone wants that signature Louboutin red. In the beauty world, it’s available as a chic classic red nail polish, and various lip products, in a shade called Rouge Louboutin. A popular thing to do is treat the nails as a Louboutin shoe, by painting the nail one color, and the underside of the nail Louboutin red.
Available at us.christianlouboutin.com, $85
Zoya in Carmen
Zoya got off on the right foot–or nail–with their very first nail polish hue called Carmen. This much-loved red polish is described by the brand as “a bright, clean medium true red in a glossy creme finish.” It’s a timeless nail color you can reach for a million times and it never gets old.
Available at zoya.com, $10
Revlon in Cherries in the Snow
Classics become classics for their timeless qualities making them a go-to for generations. In the world of beauty, it’s because the colors are beautiful and flattering on a wide array of complexions. Revlon’s “Cherries in the Snow” was released as both a lipstick and nail polish in 1953. This pink-red is one of the first colors that come to mind when you think of a popular, timeless red nail polish that’s still a favorite today.
Available at walmart.com, $3.97
JINsoon in Coquette
Another fabulous red nail polish that often shows up on beauty lists is JINsoon’s Coquette. It’s a beautiful “bright cherry red,” that “was inspired by the 1929 film, ‘Coquette.'” No doubt a classic that will still be relevant in 2029 (and beyond!).
Available at jinsoon.com, $18
Tom Ford in Carnal Red
You can count on Tom Ford for delivering chic classics that manage to look cutting edge. His beauty products are no different. A red nail polish that has proved to be both these things is Carnal Red.
Available at macys.com, $37
Revlon in Revlon Red
Another Revlon classic that you’ll want to add to your nail polish collection is Revlon Red. It’s not too light and bright, not too dark, and instantly gives off vintage 1940s and ’50s vibes.
Available at walmart.com, $3.97