The 5 Nail Polishes You Need

We love COVERGIRL's Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss | Photo courtesy of Mark Sullivan/Getty ImagesLast year ladies the nation over hit the bottle in record numbers. The nail polish bottle, we mean. According to WWD, polish sales reached $768 million in 2012 in the U.S., which is a gain of 32% over 2011. Why the boom? With the advent of at-home gel polish systems, nail art, and new finishes like matte, high-gloss, and yes, even sand, the lacquer companies are innovating at neck-breaking speeds. WWD cited a survey that claims that 33% of women in the States have at least 25 bottles of paint in their homes. Hey, who’s been peeking in our medicine cabinets?

Consider this post an intervention, ladies. (We need one too.) The next time you're at a drugstore, just step away from the nail section.

Truth be told, most of these insanely pricey colors and long-lasting and bizarre applications are unnecessary purchases. We're here to assure you, less is more. You don't need to be buried under a clinking pile of nail polish bottles to have totally kickin' and versatile collection. Nail junkies take note: you don’t need to buy every pretty polish you see—stick with these five styles and you'll be on your road to polish addiction recovery in no time. These are the only five shades you'll ever need:

A classic red - Find the shade that looks best on your skin tone and commit. For those with warm or olive undertones, warm up your fingers with a fire-engine red. If you have cool undertones, stick to a bluer red--think cranberry. An easy hint--if it's the same color as your favorite, flattering red lipstick, it'll work on your nails.

A bright you love - Think neon pink, jungle green, or electric blue. They're fun and great for warm weather months (and especially great as a mood pick-me-up).

A dark tone - Maybe it’s navy, perhaps a deep eggplant or cloudy grey-black., but dark polishes look modern and refined and are just as well-suited to warmer weather as they are for fall and the dead of winter.

A metallic - Gold, silver, and bronze are great for parties (especially around the holidays–they’re more sophisticated than glitter) and surprisingly go with everything. Our favorite? A slick silver chrome.

A formal event-friendly neutral - If a ballerina would wear it, it's definitely a keeper. Nudes, pinks, and beiges keep your tips looking polished (pun intended) and clean, while not distracting from the rest of your look.

What are your must-have polish shades? Tell us in the comments!

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