The Best Neon Nail Polishes of Summer 2014

My top picks for the nails you need this summer—all bold and Day-Glo bright!
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Natacha Medeiros
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My top picks for the nails you need this summer—all bold and Day-Glo bright!

Nothing's more summer-appropriate than some neon on your fingertips (and toes) for the hot, hot, heat. I tried this year's latest—and brightest—hues to find out which ones you just gotta get. No matter which neon you choose, for best results, apply it over a white base for extra pop!

Essie Serial Shopper

Essie Serial Shopper

Serial Shopper, a neon blend of watermelon and coral, tops my list. While I have a soft spot for all the neons in this post, this shade, from Essie's Too Taboo collection,  just tugs at my heart strings. The application was just like any other neon, requiring two coats over a white base, but it wasn't streaky or hard to apply for me (though I've read some reports of that happening). As most neons do, it dried to a semi-matte finish, but popped even more with a slick of top coat. This polish is the bomb when applied on all 10 fingers–and in my 400+-piece polish collection, I truly have nothing else like it. Get it while you can!

Where to buy:Beauty.com, ULTA BeautyAmazon.com

Essie Sittin' Pretty

Essie Sittin' Pretty

Usually, I find purple neons are way too dark (*cough, cough* OPI) and don't have that neon brightness we all crave. Instead, they all end up looking like a deep grape colour, know what I mean? And there's nothing neon about that. But thankfully Essie made us Sittin' Pretty, a light and bright purple that's right up my alley. Is it super-neon? No. But it's lovely on, has a great application, and is definitely more of a pop than any other light purple shade I have. Love.

Where to buy:Beauty.com, ULTA BeautyAmazon.com

OPI Down to the Core-al

OPI Down to the Core-al

Down to the Core-al is a lovely shade from OPI's latest neon collection (and easily the one that stole my heart out of the six shades). This had easy application when applied over a smooth white base to make that colour really stand out. If you need to get just one OPI neon, this would totally be it. Just look at that colour! Swoon. 

Where to buy:ULTA BeautyAmazon.com

OPI Life Gave Me Lemons

OPI Life Gave Me Lemons

Life Gave Me Lemons, a tennis-ball yellow-neon mix, looked a little unappealing to me in the bottle, but it was so nice on, I instantly fell in love. It looked great on my slightly sun-kissed skin, which means it would only look even more amazing on darker skin tones. I liked it so much, I applied it on both hands right after swatching. Again, it was a pretty easy application over white, taking two coats to look this lemony and delicious. And once more, I have nothing like it in my collection, so it's definitely unique.

Where to buy:ULTA Beauty, Amazon.com

OPI Juice Bar Hopping

OPI Juice Bar Hopping

Can we just stop for a second and appreciate the amazingness that is Juice Bar Hopping? I think it's probably the most vibrant on this list, and I am just so obsessed. I usually find orange to be a little harsh on the nails, but this one completely changed my mind. It was easy to apply over white, as well.

Where to buy:ULTA BeautyAmazon.com

Maybelline Bleached in Peach

Maybelline Bleached in Peach

Maybelline has a new Bleached Neons collection, and while I'm not so in love with their formula, I am smitten over the colours—this Bleached in Peach in particular. It took three streaky shades to look like this (and still isn't quite perfect), but I love how it's exactly what it says it is: a bleached-out neon. The peach shade is really flattering on my claws—yup, they're back!—and I just generally loved the shade. To avoid application issues, I think this would have worked much better over a fresh coat of white.

Where to buy: Drugstores

Nicole by OPI LeaPink For Joy

Nicole by OPI LeaPink For Joy

I'm completely obsessed with LeaPink For Joy, a bubblegum pink that manages to be the brightest of all bubblegum pinks. It is THE prettiest on and had such a nice application, I didn't even use a white base! The Nicole by OPI neons really impress me, and I'd have to say were the best of the list in terms of application. They went on super-smooth, dried quickly, and were just generally awesome. Good on you, Nicole.

Where to buy:Amazon.com

Nicole by OPI The Coral of the Story

Nicole by OPI The Coral of the Story

You know a polish is good when you gasp the second you put it on, and I totally gasped when I swatched The Coral of the Story. It's definitely more of a deep coral colour, but it's still bright and is definitely neon. I painted my sister-in-law's nails (she's nice and tan, too) with this gem, and it looked gawgeous. I loved it on myself as well. I think this will look great with most any skin tones, and the application was perfect.

Where to buy:Amazon.com

Sephora Formula X Zip

Sephora Formula X Zip

Like Essie's Sittin' Pretty, here's another neon purple that's not totally dark! I was really diggin' Zip (from the Electrics lineup) because it's a more summery purplish shade that doesn't remind of fall. It did have more of a jelly-like consistency to it, but that wasn't a problem. I applied this over white and it turned out pretty nice.

Where to buy: Sephora (if you can still find it in-store!)

Sephora Formula X Phenomena

Sephora Formula X Phenomena

This pink, Phenomena, is basically everything a neon pink should be. Just look at that colour! It's so crazy-vibrant and pigmented, and I loved wearing this. Definitely summer-perfect and right up you're alley if you're a complete pink-obsessed girly girl. Add some glitter to this for even more fun!

Where to buy: Sephora (if you can still find it in-store!)

Orly Tropical Pop

Orly Tropical Pop

While this photo isn't a typical swatch (it's the best I have right now, plus how cute is the tiger print?), I just needed to show you guys this crazy bright sunshine shade. When I picked up Tropical Pop, I really wasn't sure if I was going to love or hate it... but that quickly changed the second it hit my toes, and then fingertips! The formula on this isn't the best—it takes a good three coats to even out—but the colour is so bright and fun that it makes it all worth it. This is one of my faves for the summer, that's for sure.

Where to buy:Amazon.com

Have Your Say

Do you rock neons come summertime?
Which is your favourite/least favourite here?
Found any other good neons that aren't on my list?