How To Find Your Signature Nail Polish Colour

Essie founder Essie Weingarten on choosing your ultimate nail shade.
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Michelle Villett
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Essie founder Essie Weingarten on choosing your ultimate nail shade.
Jason-Wu-spring-2011

Maybe Elle Woods was on to something.

You know how she had a signature colour? (Pink, obvs.) Well, despite the ditzy appearance, our girl knew her stuff. (This, mind you, was the theme of the entire movie, but I digress.)

Apparently, we ALL have a signature colour, at least when it comes to nail polish. This is according to Essie Weingarten, founder of Essie Cosmetics. And since I'm just slightly obsessed with the '80s fad of seasonal colour analysis (who isn't, right?), I am TOTALLY hopping on board this train.

I got to ask Essie, the person, about this excellent theory the other day. (She was in town to announce some very big news: as of today, her line is available at Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Canada. Hooray!) Here's what she said...

Essie-Weingarten

"Certain colours are right for certain skin tones—you just see it. The best way to start is to go for your correct season."

Cue the Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter colour chart. (I've actually been bursting to find a reason to talk about this for months now. I know, Lame.org.) Anyway, here's a handy chart I found online (not from Essie) that shows you which colours go with which season:

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Feel free to ignore the soft/clear/light etc. stuff—in a nutshell, what you need to know is that Springs and Falls have warm undertones to their skin, while Summers and Winters have cool undertones.

Not sure which category you fall into? My skin is pretty neutral but I know look positively ILL in warm colours like browns, greens, yellows and oranges—so that's how I know I'm in the cool spectrum of the chart. Check your wardrobe because I think we all naturally gravitate to the colours that are most flattering.

Now, to further narrow it down, hair colour is your next cue. There are different theories on this, but usually Springs and Summers are blonder (or lighter brown), while Falls and Winters are more brunette.

FUN, right? And when it comes to nail polish, it makes total sense.

beauty-runway-marc-jacobs-nails

This is the reason why, as a Summer, my favourite colours are the pinky reds and the pinky corals and, well, the pinky pinks. Notice a theme? I have a lot in common with Elle Woods, I guess. Pinks usually flatter me because they have cool undertones. (As long as they're not the "medium" dusty, tawny, brownish pinks I dissed so hard the other day. Cringe!)

But when I wear shades that have too much brown in them (like Butter London's McQueen collection), or are too dark (like OPI Lincoln Park After Dark etc.) or even too nude (like Chanel Inattendu), I never feel quite like myself. But on a Fall or a Spring? YES, YES and YES.

That, said, nobody's saying you can't wear any colour you want on your nails. (Better to wear a potentially unflattering shade there than around your face, right?) "If it makes you feel good, it's the right colour for you," says Essie. And of course, nail colour trends are a Big Frickin' Deal right now. It's kind of hard to keep up.

What I like about Essie (the brand) though is that you never see anything too crazy. Case in point: the brand's spring colour collection, which is called French Affair:

"Our colours are more sophisticated," says Essie. "We're trendy but we don’t go too far. It's always wearable and classy—I don’t want women to look trashy." Words to live by, right? And on that note, I asked Essie about which classic shades EVERY woman should have in her cosmetics bag:

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Ballet Slippers: Classic pale pink with a sheer finish.

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Mademoiselle: Classic grown-up pink.

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Bordeaux: Deep red wine. (Essie likes this for winter toes.)

Fishnet Stockings: Spicy dark creme red. (What Essie wears for pedis in the summer.)

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Essie-Fishnet-Stockings

Are you a Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter?
What do you think YOUR signature nail polish colour is?
Or do you like to switch it up too often to ever commit to one colour family?