Red Nails Now


So here's a new beauty manifesto that you'll probably snort-laugh at harder than you do when somebody on the site suggests simply slapping a bright red lip on an otherwise bare face before skipping out the door. (Garance…Now we're going to tell you that all you need to do is simply slap on a bright red nail before skipping out the door. (Or jaunting, strolling, throwing your hips forward and stomping one foot slightly in front of the other the same way you do every year following the airing of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show...) Just make sure you’re not wearing any other makeup–that part’s important.

Take a minute to un-purse your skeptically pruned lips. Two things:

1) Red nails have been around forever—ancient Egyptians used to dye their fingers with things like BLOOD to get the look. But, you know, after a couple thousand years a trend can become a little dated.

2) Only joking about not wearing any other makeup; we’re not all Russian models whose greatest annoyance is constantly being compared to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (we’re postulating about newcomer Sonya, above)—hence the clear, bag-less eyes, perfect skin, and overall pleasant disposition. But! The barefaced look is what’s keeping the red nails (OPI’s Big Apple Red... Welcome to New York, Sonya) from vibing less toward Olympia Dukakis's hands on the VHS cover of Steel Magnolias and more Daria Werbowy’s talons in the latest Céline ads. Just use the age-old trick for looking like you’re not wearing makeup: judiciously applied concealer, a bit of foundation, powder, bronzer, highlighter, and whatever else you need short of eye makeup, but refrain from brushing your hair. In fact, mess it up a bit. Excellent.

Now devote a good 20 minutes (or less) to the paint job. A good rule of thumb for choosing a red polish is to go not by the brand or slight differences in shade, but the name–cheesiest FTW. (Essie's Tiny Winey is a good option, as is Maybelline's Paint The Town.) And since we've been in the habit of being so utterly low-maintenance, delight in the fact that a red nail will last much longer and require far less touching-up than the laughably temporary fix that is an out-the-door red lip.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Sonya Gorelova (The Society) photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on December 4, 2013. Manicure by Margaret Fisher.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Joana Gomes

    I absolutely love the pop of red. I do this all the time - barely any make-up and only some red lipstick or painted nails. Love this shade!

    Joana x
    When You Dream Big

  • Mina

    This - but in gel form! Does anyone actually have the patience for regular manicures? Switched to gel two years ago, haven't looked back ...

    • bluesky557

      I tried gel several times and it chipped right off at the same rate as regular nail polish. The only difference is that it's a lot harder to get the rest of the gel off and start over with a fresh manicure!

      • Shilo

        You have a bad gel technician. Gel should last two - three weeks chip free. I generally have to get mine redone not because it's chipped, but because the growout is so obvious.

        • bluesky557

          I'm not sure that's it; I think it's just my nails. I have really soft, flexible nails, and probably an oily nail bed. I went to different places to have it done, and used different brands (Axxium, Shellac). I'm sure it works great for most people, but it doesn't seem like it's for me.

  • Tinsley

    There's always so much Daria love on this site ... Top Shelf? I would probably faint if the day ever came!

  • olivia singer

    Obsessed with the titles of red nail polishes. Having finished painting my house, the only job I am interested in ever again is being the person who gets to name colours.

    • Carol

      Hahaha that have always been my dream job, since I was a child.

  • Alisia

    Love red nails for the winter or any time of the year. Red will always look classy on any lady.

  • Leslie

    You can never go wrong with a classic red nail.


  • Lindsey Duncan Renuard

    OPI's I'm Not Really a Waitress is my fav red nail polish.

  • Anna Nitschke


  • Tracey

    I'm obsessed with a darker red nail. I even joined twitter to ask Liv Tyler which polish she was wearing on tv. (She didn't answer). Any suggestions? (Btw, great story, Annie!)

  • Kiri Yanchenko

    Is it just me or is everyone missing the point of this article.
    The low maintenance obsession that everyone has lately.
    Yes I agree with the fact that a gel red nail is great - and red nails and lips are my signature.... AND that nail polish lasts longer and is more low maintenance than a red lip. AND yes - I agree with you. That I don't agree with low maintenance!!
    I am high maintenance! And I love it.
    I love my eyebrow lady, and my Japanese nail technician is lovely.
    My hairdresser is lots of fun too. I enjoy seeing these people regularly in a constant cycle so I LOVE being high maintenance.
    And going out sans makeup?! NEVER.

    • Renetta B

      I'm with you!! I also have my nails lady, my facialist, my hairdresser, my extensions hairdresser...the list goes on! I love these beauty appointments and I look forward to them. I love being a fancy lady^^

  • Marlys

    I love the way you write Annie <3

  • Anna Maria V Turcato

    I'm glad you chose Big Apple Red wich is also my choice for this winter mani :)
    For me it is the perfect hue of red and how could I resist to the Big Apple???

  • Peaches & Pearls

    I am obsessed with red nails! I am guilty in that I have just about every shade on the planet...but I wear them all I promise! It instantly glams up my look without trying too hard. Love it!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Mary-Katy

    Yay Annie!!

  • Roni Faida

    I wear red lips all the time. I use Ruby Woo and I love it! Red nails and toes as well, I think red is such a sexy color.

  • Marie

    Deborah Lippmann's My Old Flame is my favorite red! Supposedly made for Angie Jolie but it is a classic Hollywood red. Makes me feel so glam and put together even when I just rolled out of bed. Emily, can you tell us what makeup Sonya is wearing?

  • murt

    I've been wearing red nails lately too - I really like Dior 999.

  • Zoe Cayetano

    Gorgeous! I love this nail polish. Great to spice up any look!


  • Emma Hager

    So into this look. But then again I am sure anything would look divine on
    Ms. Gorelova.

  • mathsnail

    ohhh I like those picks. my usual red nail polishes are Nicole OPI Kourt is Red-i For a Ped-i from the Kardashian collection (luv it) and Essie A-List, but like I want moooore. also "red lips red nails red hair all black clothes" is basically exactly what I'd like my personal brand to be in a few years.

  • Charlotte

    Wow, she's stunning! Great post. As for the natural look...I know the internet and YouTube are packed with tutorials on the 'no makeup look'. But they don't come with the ITG stamp of approval or touch. And since I loved all the previous ITG videos of course my question is, could you perhaps do one in 2014? I know I am not Sonya or Daria, but I can always try!

  • Jennifer Monforton

    Love red nails this time of year! That Essie option looks lovely :)

  • Heather P.

    I'm rocking a red nail with gold glitter on top for the holidays. Will definitely wear makeup, though - don't worry! ;-)

  • Nita

    I never really been a fan of red nails until recently. It's so weird seeing a pop of red on my nails, but I have grown to love it! And I agree, they do have one of the cheesiest but awesome names :)


  • christina

    I'm a nail tech and Red Nails are always in. For December, this year's color is OPI's "In my santa suit" Also, if you girls haven't already-- look for "vision of love" is a beautiful burgundy color.

  • Elizabeth

    Love this look and Sonya is gorgeous. ITG, is she wearing anything on her lips? Would you share the brand/shade?

  • Jane Smarchin

    Anyone ever tried the red nail color called "Carmen"? It's DIVINE. It's by Zoya. Best red nail polish I've tried so far and the consistency if great.

  • CherHorowitz

    Annie!!! So glad you're writing again, girl!

  • CherHorowitz

    Also? I just painted my nails red like an hour ago. :)

  • danielle guercio

    <3<3 love annie and love red nails long time

  • win

    what did she use for lips? gorgeous!!!

  • M7

    Love this look! MAC's 'Shirelle' is my go-to :)

  • Alyssa

    Love the red, and also does anyone know where the jacket is from that she is wearing in the picture? So cute with red nails. xx

  • Kristen

    I only wear red, light pink or nude but mostly red. Looks great on my skin tone and goes with everything!

  • Anastasia Polosina

    Red forever! Or is it because I'm Russian?))))


OPI Classic Collection Nail Lacquer
Maybelline Color Show
Maybelline Color Show Nail Color – Paint The Town