Summer nail polish: five sites for inspiration
June 18, 2013 | By:
Keep feet fashion forward for summer with this year's blues, nudes are still around if you prefer to keep your look subtle, or experiment with neons, bronzes and more. By Daniela Soave
Beauty_painted toenails on black sand-620 Corbis

A polished look: essential before you dare to bare your tootsies

As the sun finally shows itself, it’s time for lighter clothes, bare legs, perfectly pedicured feet. For which, of course, you need beautifully painted toenails. (And what’s the use of lovely toes if your fingers let you down?) So here are the best sites to find the perfect selection of nail varnish.


The online Selfridges is as classy and quirky as the store itself, abounding with beautiful things. Go for classic and sexy with pillarbox reds from Tom Ford, or opt for a summery update of pinks with Dior’s Summer Mix 2013 (a Selfridges exclusive). Go rock’n’roll with Ciaté’s midnight blue (more sophisticated than black) or Illamasqua’s limited edition speckled polish (we love the on-trend blue). If like us you’re mad for Mad Men, go retro with Estée Lauder’s limited edition Pink Paisley, in a replica Sixties bottle, or choose one of the ten exclusive-to-Selfridges shades in Yves Saint Laurent’s La Laque Couture, a collection of iconic shades inspired by the designer’s artistic legacies. And however you express yourself, apply it professionally with Butter London’s Nail Foundation base coat.

Space NK

The majority of products on the nine pages dedicated to nail varnish are made by Rococo, with a few carefully edited choices from Laura Mercier, Nars, ByTerry and Kevyn Aucoin’s first ever nail polish, a limited edition, in Black Rose. If you’re looking for a selection of brands, don’t waste your time here. Having said that, the colours available range from palest nudes to deepest blues, zingy oranges to psychedelic pinks. Not forgetting Gold Leaf Lacquer by Rococo, containing 24-carat gold flecks, at an eye-smarting £35.


The bog-standard layout makes this an uninspiring site, not at all the type of place you’d want to spend long on for pleasure. But, if you know what you want, you might as well come here to get it. Competitive pricing and a decent range of brands including Chanel, Dior, Nails Inc, YSL, Models Own and the ubiquitous No7 make the dull design worth putting up with. Mini sizes mean you can experiment without making an expensive mistake – and you get points on your advantage card!

Nails and Things

With a mission to sell quality brands at competitive prices with 24-hour dispatch, there is nothing fancy about this site. But it carries a good stock of OPI and Leighton Denny colours, which can be difficult to find.

Nails Inc

This site was founded in 1999 by a former fashion editor, and it shows. It’s easy to read, search and purchase from – all the things a good site should do, whatever it sells. The Nails Inc brand comes in classic shades, neons, nudes, crackle glaze and glitters. We’ll be leaving this season’s denim-polish-with-studs trend to our daughters, but I do particularly like the Try it on app. There’s also a store locater, a webzine, an online booking facility for services and a generous VIP programme. This site wins my vote hands down.