When I sat down to think about how to organize this post, I felt a little bit overwhelmed. I tend to be a “wear what I want when I want” kind of person, although I have lately found myself gravitating toward a more seasonal polish perspective. Overall, I don’t feel I have had a lot of practice with this. Also, I have a lot of polish. And I love all of it. It was hard for me to shop my stash and decide what to include. I kept worrying that I would end up leaving something great out … or that I would make a wrong choice or … whatever. In the end, I decided to list different color categories that I think are fun for Winter, and to give some examples in each category. I know this is going to make for a long post, but let’s be honest: There’s no way I could ever narrow things down to just one polish in each color category. I don’t have that kind of strength and determination. I found it hard just picking three! Not that I have a problem or anything … But, yeah. I have a problem. Ahem
Initially, I thought I would try to stick with main-stream brands for this post so that you would have a better chance of getting your hands on any of the polishes in here that appealed to you. But, when I looked through all my swatch pictures with the colors in mind, I realized I have some indie polishes that are so perfect for Winter. I decided I would include them in here. I apologize if any of these polishes are no longer available. If nothing else, maybe they can serve as an example or inspiration for their color category. I know I often go looking for polishes that are similar to something I’ve seen online or in a swatch and review.
With all that introductory blah, blah, blah out of the way, let’s get to the colors!! For Winter, I like the “traditional” reds and greens. I have become more and more comfortable wearing green polish, so it is a shade I wear off and on throughout the year. Red is a bit of a stumbling block for me. I pretty much only wear red in the Winter. I especially love red for the Christmas holidays, although I was thinking it would be fun to do a separate post of my favorite “Christmas” and “New Year’s” polishes. I also love “wintery” blues, particularly a deep, dark blue and a light or sparkly blue. I like whites that are not stark, but a softer white or off-white that has some shimmer or sparkle to it. I like pinks and purples, particularly in rich, deep jewel tones.
Colores de Carol, “Selu”. This polish was from her Fall 2016 Harvest Goddess collection. Although intended as a Fall polish, I think this one is perfect for heading into the Winter months, too. It is a beautifully squishy, jelly red base with sparkly glitters throughout. I love this polish. It is vibrant and deep on the nail, but also has that bit of sparkly happiness that I like in a Winter polish. I feel like the vibrant color and the sparkles really pop against the heavy, gray skies we have during the Winter months in my corner of the universe. I know I’ve talked about this polish before, so I probably sound like a broken record. But it is really that fantastic. This is one of those rare reds that I can see myself wearing throughout the year.
China Glaze, “Ruby Pumps”. I’m sure everyone and their dog knows about this color. It is one of those “iconic” polishes, so I realize I’m not breaking new ground by including it in here. Still, it has to be on this list. This is probably my absolute favorite Winter red. It’s likely my favorite holiday red, too … but that’s a post for another time. I still remember when I put this polish on for the first time. It was my first experience with anything like this, and I was absolutely floored by it. I have since discovered the wonderful world of indies, so I know a bit more about the amazingly creative and unique range of possibilities for polish colors and finishes. But Ruby Pumps still holds a nostalgic place in my heart.
And why wouldn’t it? This polish is fantastic. It is squishy and glittery and sparkly. I love how the glitters float on the nail in a sea of beautifully vibrant red. I love that what I see in the bottle is exactly what I get on my nails. Basically, wearing this polish just makes me happy.
OPI, “In a Holidaze”. I wanted to include at least one “plain” (as in not glittery or sparkly) red. Although, I think this polish is anything but plain. This is another squishy-looking red. It has a thinnish formula, so you have to be a bit careful with application, but it builds up easily and smoothly in two coats. I love that this is a blue-toned red. I feel like the blue undertones give it a beautiful depth. My only complaint with this one is that it always comes out on my nails looking a lot brighter than it looks in the bottle. I love how deep and dark it is in the bottle, and would really like that exact color on my nails. Even so, this one is such a pretty red that I can’t complain much.
Superchic Lacquer, “Rose Buddy”. This polish is a recent acquisition for me. It’s from the Fall 2016 Urban Dictionary Collection, so it hasn’t been in my stash for very long. I just wore it for the first time last week, after letting it sit in my to-be-worn pile for about a month or two. Why did I wait so long? I have no idea, because I adore this color. It is soft and shimmery, with a beautiful linear holographic. The pink looks more like rose gold in some lights. It reminds me of the first rays of sunlight dancing across newly fallen snow.
Superchic Lacquer, “Trap Queen”. I am not a fan of the pinks. I don’t often wear them, and, overall, I find it’s a color I don’t like. I have tried and tried to like it. All the bottles of pink polish in my stash can attest to that! But this pink … I don’t know how to describe it, other than to say that this pink is All The Things. I love this color. I think it’s a beautifully vibrant and festive pink for Winter. It will contrast gorgeously with dull gray skies, cloudy days, and snowy ground. I love how deep and rich it is. But it is also full of holographic sparkle. It is perfect in every way.
Colores de Carol, “Breakfast in Bed”. This polish is brand new to me. It just came out in the 2016 Winter/Holiday Collection. It is a beautiful, deep, rich raspberry pink tone that is packed with scattered holographic. In indirect light, the holographic gives the polish a softer appearance on the nail. In sunlight, it comes alive. This is another pink that I can see myself wearing all the time. But, like Trap Queen, I feel like this one is especially perfect for the gray days of Winter. It will be such a mood lifter!
Glam Polish, “Wind Chill”. Oh, but I adore this polish. It is the perfect light, icy blue. I feel like it is the color of that deep ice you can sometimes see in glacier pictures: pure, clear, and so, so, so blue. When you pair the color with scads of silvery, sparkly glitter, you have a polish that just screams “Winter!!”.
Colores de Carol, “Summer Glacier”. This is another icy blue that is packed with iridescent and sparkly glitters. I think there is some holographic in here, too. This blue leans more turquoise or teal. But it still reminds me of winter snow and glaciers. Heck, the word “glacier” is even in the name! This polish has a rather frosty finish on the nail, and it has a tendency to show brush strokes. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I try to keep my strokes straight in case they show.
China Glaze, “Dashboard Dreamer”. This is a favorite polish of mine. It’s from the Spring 2015 Road Trip Collection, and I really had to scramble to hunt this one down. I loved it so much when I saw it swatched and reviewed online. And, once I finally managed to get my hands on it, I found I loved it even more! It’s a wonderful polish for Spring, but I think it’s great for Winter, too. This is such a beautiful light blue, and I love the hint of pinkish-gold shimmer. The shimmer is subtle, giving the polish a softer appearance on the nail. I like the juxtaposition of cold and warm that happens in this polish. It has a cozy sort of feeling that I think is perfect for Winter.
Zoya, “Dream”. This polish is deep, dark, and sparkly! It is absolute perfection, both in formula and in appearance on the nail. I love this polish so much that you will probably end up seeing it appear on nearly every “favorites” type list I create. I love the dark blue contrasted with the sparkly, scattered holographic glitter. This polish reminds me of a wintery night sky, when there are no clouds and you can see all the stars twinkling away in a bed of velvety dark blue.
Colores de Carol, “Demeter”. This polish is very similar to Dream. It is a dark blue base with scattered holographic glitter. I feel like the base on this one leans more navy than a “true” dark blue. There is a hint of something — green? turquoise? — around the edges of this color, and it gives the base a very different appearance from Dream. Again, I love that this one looks like the night sky on my nails. It is chilly and beautiful and just perfect for Winter.
Nine Zero Lacquer, “Reflect”. I have had this polish for a while, but I wore it for the first time today. I had forgotten that I had it, until I stumbled across it while cleaning out one of my “to be worn” storage drawers. I saw it and thought it would be such a perfect Winter color. I had to put it on my nails right away. And you know what? It is a perfect Winter color!! It’s a deep and rich indigo blue — almost navy, but not quite. It is packed with linear holographic, so it lights up beautifully in the sunlight. This is another perfect mood lifter for the gray days of Winter!
Essie, “Getting Groovy”. This is from Essie’s Winter 2016 Collection. It is a gorgeously soft gold foil. It goes on easily in two coats. The formula is pretty much perfect: not too thick, not too thin. And I love this tone of gold. It’s bright but not brassy. It’s softly yellow without the dark undertone that gold polishes can sometimes have. I think this one is perfect in every way, and it has a luxurious richness and warmth that is perfect for the stark, cold days of Winter.
OPI, “Five and Ten”. This is another new polish. It’s from the Holiday 2016 Breakfast at Tiffany’s Collection. This is another polish that has a foil appearance on the nail. This one is a beautiful mix of silver and gold, but it looks more silvery once you get it on your nails. I feel like this polish looks like old white gold — after the plating has worn away and some of the warmth of the yellow gold used to make it starts peeking through. It is a beautiful juxtaposition of cold and warm, which seems to suit Winter very well.
Zoya, “Brooklyn”. Please excuse my terrible swatch picture for this one. I need to get a better picture, but I decided to go ahead and use this one because it shows just how much I have worn this polish. This is another polish I talk about frequently. It is one of my favorite Zoyas and also one of my very favorite gold polishes. Close up, I feel like it shows a few brush strokes, but those are not noticeable from a distance. It has a wonderfully creamy and rich formula, which goes on smoothly with little fuss. I usually wear three coats, although I could probably stop at two. I like the way the third coat makes the color richer. I really like this particular tone of gold. It’s not too yellow, not too coppery, and not too dark. It is light and refreshing, which I think would be perfect for Winter weather that often seems heavy and a bit oppressive.
Zoya, “Finley”. I adore these scattered holographic polishes from Zoya. They are among my very favorites from my collection. And I can’t get enough of this finish. Finley is no exception to that. It is a vibrant, grape-toned purple base filled with scattered holographic. I love the richness of the base color. It reminds me of amethysts. And the holographic gives that gorgeous sparkle that I love so much in the Winter sunlight.
OPI, “Rich & Brazilian”. This polish has “Winter” written all over it! It is deep, dark, and moody. But it has a beautiful shimmer that gives it a richness and depth that can stand up to the starkness of Winter. I think the shimmer is pink, but it sometimes looks gold or coppery, depending on the light.
Colores de Carol, “Fruit Cake”. This is another polish from her Winter 2016 Collection. And it is fabulous! This is a purple jelly base packed with iridescent glitters. The glitters float perfectly in the base. I feel like this polish really lives up to its name, because it looks just like fruitcake. I love how deep, rich, and vibrant the base becomes. This polish has a beautiful formula, although I like to wear it at three coats because it makes the base color so much deeper.
Zoya, “Merida”. This is another polish that is like Dream and Finley. It is a deep, rich base filled with scattered holographic. Merida is an evergreen green. I feel like I see a hint of blue undertone in her. She is the color of pine trees in the darkest, most shadowed part of the forest, and the holographic reminds me of a sprinkling of snow on the branches. Beautiful and rich and perfect for Winter!
Colores de Carol, “Feronia”. This polish has a forest green jelly base, and it is packed with silver holographic glitter and micro holo flakes. There is something about the way the base covers the silver holographic … I don’t know what it is or how this works, but that silver holographic looks golden to me. And I love it! Because of the sparkly gold appearance and the rich, almost olive color of the base, I think this one is perfect for Winter.
Colores de Carol, “Pine”. This is from the very recent Winter 2016 Collection. This polish has a great formula that applied smoothly and easily in two coats. It is a yellowy green that really does remind me of the color of a pine tree in the depths of Winter. It has holographic glitter and different colored metallic glitters. It’s like wearing a Christmas tree on your nails. What could be more perfect?
OPI, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. This is another polish from OPI’s 2016 Breakfast at Tiffany’s Collection. It needed three coats to be fully opaque. The first coat was a bit streaky, but I felt that all leveled out easily with the next two coats. It’s a perfect, soft off-white with a ton of sparkly shimmer running through it. This one reminds me of snow, which is what I look for in a white polish for Winter. It has a dainty and feminine appearance on the nails.
OPI, “Chiffon My Mind”. This polish is whiter than Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s a bit difficult to work with. It goes on streaky, and needs at least three coats to be opaque. It has quite a bit of sparkly shimmer running through it. The shimmer is very subtle in this polish. I don’t feel like it stands out on the nail quite as much as the shimmer in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But it gives this polish a soft and gentle appearance on the nail. Again, it reminds me of snow, which is perfect to me for a Winter white.
Native War Paints, “Dancing on Clouds”. If snow was a polish, it would be this one. Online, this polish is described as a light blue with purple iridescent holographic. To my eye, this polish is a beautiful, soft gray-white. In some lights, it seems to have a bit of blue shift in it. In other lights, I felt like the shift was a bit pinky-purple. It has a lot of shimmery, sparkly glitter. It’s been a while since I last wore this polish, but I am sure it took at least three coats to get it opaque. I don’t remember it being streaky or difficult to work with.