Maybe it's just me, but I've always felt like purple is one of the most underrated nail colors on the polish spectrum. But here's the kicker: It totally shouldn't be! Although "purple" may, initially, conjure the tacky, psychedelic, Barbie-esque nail vibes of our junior high years, there are so many different shades, finishes, and directions you can go with the hue. Borderline black, a surprisingly sophisticated duo-chrome topper, and even a glowing shade of neon can all have surprising versatility and wearability.
Whether you're a "dark nail polishes only" type of person or someone more willing to indulge your wild side, I've selected 15 stunning purple nail colors that feel 100% cool and 0% cheesy. From cult classics like OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark to new finds sure to strike your fancy, I've crafted the ultimate purple nail color gold mine just below. Keep scrolling and get ready to shop!
If you love dark purples, try…
Does it get more iconic than OPI's beloved shade Lincoln Park After Dark? It's an all-time best seller from the brand, and the moody "Is it black, or is it purple?" finish is everything we want in a rich and dramatic nail look.
Whenever I'm craving a juicy purple nail color that's not quite as dark and brooding as OPI's cult favorite above, I reach for Fable by JinSoon. It's a striking shade of glossy aubergine and is beautifully flattering on all skin tones.
As it's hazy, chic, and a tad more grayish purple than black or red, I love how striking and sophisticated J. Hannah's Ikebana looks on fingers—it's a purple nail color that has garnered me lots of compliments and questions.
If you're a Static Nails virgin, investing in a glassy purple nail color is the perfect excuse to dip your toe in. The brand is nontoxic, 8-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and made right here in the U.S., and its spectrum of colors and the salon-level shine you get are unparalleled. If you've got purple on the mind, like me, this shade called Arsenic is poisonously good. (Sorry, could not resist!)
FYI: This deep purple shimmer looks brighter in the bottle than it will on your nails. LaPierre describes the vibe as "futuristic," and if you're looking to upgrade your normal dark-purple mani for something with a little more pizazz, Psyche is your girl.
If you love bright purples, try…
I'm just going to say it—Olive and June just wins when it comes to the bright-purple nail color category. I have a few hues I just can't shake, and this electric shade of lilac called Fierce & Loving is a year-round essential. (It's also an instant mood lifter.)
Next up, let me introduce you to one of my all-time favorite Olive and June nail colors, Bold & Unshaken. It's the perfect antidote if you want something dynamic and bright but a little bit deeper.
Consider Essie's Tangoed In Love the ultimate neon take on purple. It looks flashy, glowy, and bright atop your fingertips but not at all tacky or cheap like some purple nail colors do.
I'm always in hot pursuit of truly effective nontoxic nail polishes that tick all of my boxes: great color variety, durable, long-lasting wear, ultra-shiny finish… Believe it or not, many fail the test. That said, Base Coat is one of the few exceptions. I'm currently eyeing this bright-purple nail color called Vixen (uh, so good), but I'm never able to just pick one.
ILNP is your one-stop shop for all things shiny and shimmering in the land of nail polish. The brand's supply of purple sparklers doesn't disappoint, but if I had to choose a favorite child, I'd go with Purple Plasma—a bold holographic number that's not for the faint of heart but is downright dreamy thanks to the jolty purple base smartly offset with hints of red and gold sparkle.
If you love pastel purples, try…
According to my fellow beauty editor Courtney Higgs, this cuddly shade of pastel purple is one of her all-time go-tos when it comes to crafting the perfect purple mani.
No purple nail color roundup could ever be complete without Mirage by Chanel. It's quite literally one of the prettiest and universally flattering shades of purple on the market, and while it's definitely expensive, you'll wear it so often it will be well worth the investment. Plus, it's the perfect go-between if you're waffling on whether or not to go pink or purple.
Celebrity manicurist Mazz Hanna introduced me to a smoky lavender hue by Oribe a few years ago, and to this day, it's one of my most-used bottles within my polish stash. Sadly, the exact shade seems to be discontinued, but this one from Dear Sundays is the best doppelgänger I could find. Since it's more gray than pink, it feels a little more dramatic and mysterious than your basic pastel-purple nail color, which I love!
As far as bargains go, I don't think it gets better than this delicate lilac number from Sally Hansen. Plus, since it's part of the brand's Xtreme Wear line, it will stay vibrant, shiny, and strong for days (and days and days!).
If you've ever jumped over to Zoya's website, you already know how much of a black hole it is when it comes to outrageously beautiful nail colors. I never make it out without purchasing at least 10 new bottles (whoops), and this gauzy shade of pastel purple has been a recent standout. That golden duo-chrome finish is seriously so good.