red nail polish

The author and her mother about to get their nails painted. Courtesy photo.

I remember the moment I chose to go red better than most milestones.

And I'm not pulling a Scarlett or a Blake or even a Mandy -- simply put, I am a devoted member of the crimson polish club.

As a kid, when my mother's nails were painted red, you knew something special was going to happen. After she returned from the salon I would stare at her hands, and as if she knew what I wanted to ask she said, "it's Tiny Wine-ey. Fun, right?"

From that moment on, Tiny Wine-ey was my mother's color. No one else could have it. So I went on a search to find my red. I found Essie's Trombone, a burst of brightness that gave my middle school self a bit of confidence. Plus, I thought it was clever that there was a nail polish named after the instrument I played. I gave up the horn four years later, but couldn't let go of Trombone. I wouldn't settle for anything less and started bringing my own bottle to nail salons. I think this is what some doctors would call an addiction.

red nail polish

My mother in a nutshell: red nails, car keys, cell phone and wallet. Courtesy photo.


Then I entered college; I experimented with my style and my traditional Trombone was thrown to the wayside. First I was moody and slightly gothic: a look I achieved by wearing black lingerie to class (I did, and I'm not proud) and chipped black nail polish from the local drugstore. Then I dug up my old collared shirts and madras pants for a country club phase. Everyone knows that Essie's Ballet Slippers is the cleanest polish, but I was quickly bored by my bare hands and pulled a Rihanna donning every shade from powder blue to neon pink. There were times where I would find myself at CVS, secretly pining over the range of reds at the nail polish display. Red became that best friend you could depend on, even though you haven't spoken to each other in two years.

When I entered the job market I knew I needed to stand out and make a statement -- first impressions matter in this industry. Each interview (and I went to quite a bit) included a fresh shade of red polish. I landed this gig at StyleList and decided that the red polish -- in addition to my polished resume -- got me the job.

I have tried many crimson hues since, many hits and major misses. I'm always drawn to the red hues that have orange undertones. The warmer hues not only look great with my skin tone, but they're a fun twist on the classic red nail. My favorites include: RGB Coral and Essie's Lollipop. True reds are a commitment, and my go-to color has to be Chanel Dragon. I was weary at first, I thought the deep red was to "old" for me but I've been hooked. Other good choices have been Estée Lauder's Pure Red and OPI Vodka & Caviar.

red nail polish

Of course, we also got pedicures. Courtesy photo.

I'd love to hear what beauty habits you've picked up from your mother, and don't forget to peruse this gallery of staffer moms and their life-changing beauty advice.