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OPI shares its most popular nail colours of all time – that you can still buy

We take a look as the cult nail brand's legacy as well as its best-sellers

Tara Breathnach
Friday 05 February 2021 09:08
<p>The brand is celebrating in style with a new Hollywood-inspired collection</p>

The brand is celebrating in style with a new Hollywood-inspired collection

If, like us, you’ve been missing the odd (or maybe regular) trip to the nail salon during lockdown, there’s a fair chance you might have ordered in a few nail varnishes to do your own at home.

If you haven't yet, or you fancy adding some new colours for your collection, OPI the classic go-to brand to know, and it's celebrating its 40th birthday this year.

Read more: 12 of the best nail treatments and strengtheners

To mark the occasion, the brand has rolled out the red carpet for its new "Hollywood collection", a range of 12 colours in reds, pinks, blues, lemons and more.

There's three formulas to choose from in the new polish line: "infinite shine", "nail lacquer" and "gel colour".

You'll probably know the brand for its super rich, long-lasting and chip-resistant formulas and fun shade names, but its background it also fascinating.

OPI founder Suzi Weiss-Fischmann was born in Hungary in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution. Her mother Magda survived Auschwitz and her father Laszlo was on the Russian front in a forced labour camp.  

Read more: 9 best home gel nail kits for a DIY manicure that’s salon quality

Weiss-Fischmann's family moved to Israel before going to New York in 1969 and it was here Suzi cultivated her instinct for colour and style in the garment industry of New York City.

She moved to LA in 1981 and started OPI (Ondontorium Products Inc) with her brother-in-law George Schaeffer. The company originally manufactured dental products and supplies, but when they noticed Hollywood nail technicians were buying dental acrylics to make their own nail extensions, they realised they could make a superior acrylic product, called OPI. And the brand was born.

Since then, OPI became the first nail brand to collaborate with films, on collections including Alice In Wonderland and Fifty Shades Of Grey and has worked with stars including Serena Williams, Kerry Washington and Katy Perry. Its screen debut was with product placement in Legally Blonde back in 2002.

With all of this history and its cult status in the nail world, we've rounded up the brand's best-selling shades to celebrate its 40th anniversary. We've also got all the details you need on OPI's latest Hollywood collection, so you can give your nails the lockdown TLC they deserve.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

OPI 'bubble bath' nail lacquer: £20.50

While the brand is equally as known for its bright and dark shades, sometimes all you want is a natural, easy-to-wear colour, and this is just the ticket.

This lovely neutral pink, named "bubble bath", is reminiscent of the paler shades you might use with a French manicure.

It's a versatile colour that will go with anything and looks simple yet chic, we totally get why it's on this list.

Buy now

OPI 'I'm not really a waitress' nail lacquer: £13.90

“In LA, I’m not really a waitress, I’m an actress (I’m a singer/model/artist) is a well known mantra,” says Weiss-Fischmann.

And we know this colour is popular with actors, including Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere) who told Allure magazine that she’s been wearing the shade since the Nineties. 

The brand has included a shade in its new Hollywood collection called “I’m really an actress” which a lovely nod to this popular shade and another name that’s bound to become a classic.

Buy now

OPI 'big apple red' nail lacquer: £13.90

This is what we’d call an absolutely classic red. It’s a bright shade, with a subtle shine, and will make any outfit pop. We'd pair this with an all-black ensemble to really let the colour do the talking.

If you’re wearing a brighter shade like this, or one of the darker colours, you may want to prep your nails first so you’ve got a smooth surface to work on. OPI has a few base coats to get you started. 

Apply, then pop on two coats of your chosen colour, and finally, if you have time, a top coat.

Buy now

OPI 'gelato on my mind' nail lacquer: £13.90

While the classic reds and pinky nudes have unsurprisingly made the best-selling cut, there's also some more unusual shades in the mix too. As the name of this one suggests, it the brand's take on the dreamy pale shades of Italian ice cream.

OPI describes it as a “deliciously sweet and icy-cool, pastel blue” and we think it's the perfect shade to buy for spring. We’d pair it with a floral dress or white tee and jeans for sunshine vibes.

Buy now

OPI 'don't bossa nova me around' nail lacquer: £13.90

Possibly our favourite in terms of names, this colour is a warm, subtle and pretty cream nude. 

It comes from the brand’s Brazil collection of spring/summer 2014, taking inspiration from tropical rainforests and warm sandy beaches.

We think it has a beautiful but understated tone you could wear with any colour or style of outfit.

Buy now

OPI strawberry margarita nail lacquer: £13.90

This is a bright pink, as the name suggests, which is part of the OPI "classics" collection.

These colours are reviewed every year, and the most popular ones remain. As with all the OPI nail lacquers, this one comes with the "pro-wide" brush to help you get an even distribution and to prevent streaks.

We think this is a nice option if you’re looking for a bright polish but don’t want to veer too red.

Buy now

OPI 'exotic birds do not tweet' nail lacquer: £13.90

Nails don’t get much more vibrant than this. "Exotic birds do not tweet" is part of OPI’s Fiji spring/summer 2017 collection, and is the one to wear if you want to get those hands noticed.

It’s a seriously radiant yellow, inspired, like the rest of the collection, by the flora and fauna of the island of  Fiji.

Other shades in the range include "living on the bula-vard", a warm orange, “super-trop-i-cal-i-fiji-istic", a bright sea blue and "coconuts over OPI", a warm taupe.

Buy now

OPI 'Lincoln Park after dark' nail lacquer: £13.90

Another shade from the “classics” range, "Lincoln Park after dark" is a super deep aubergine, bordering on black colour. 

It’s not actually black though, as one reviewer on the OPI website notes: “It's vibrant plum purple with a slight shimmer” which can be seen under the lights.

Buy now

OPI 'Alpine snow' nail lacquer: £13.90

This is the one to pick if you’re looking to do a French manicure, as the ultra white colour will give your nails healthy looking tips.

You can use it with one of the brand’s pale pink tones, or if you're looking for something a little different, try more of a yellow hue, “one chic chick".

Buy now

The Hollywood collection

If you love some of the classic OPI shades, you'll definitely want to check out the brand's new birthday collection. There are 12 colours here, that OPI says will deliver "vintage glamour with an undated twist".

We also like the look of the four-piece mini packs which come in both the "nail lacquer" and "infinite shine" finishes.

Let the pampering begin!

Shop the Hollywood collection

For make up and hair inspiration, take a look at our dedicated beauty section



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