Where Do Ridiculous Nail Polish Names Come From?


If you’re biting your nails while you’re reading this, you’d better knock it off, because a manicure is now the hottest way to express your style. Between 2009 and 2010, nail polish sales increased 11.9%, leading experts to declare that polish has replaced lipstick as the bullshit economic indicator for the recession. Now since stars including Katy Perry, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian (and basically every other female celebrity) have been spotted with manicures, the L.A. Times decided it’s time for a trend piece, and an investigation into why we keep investing in new shades that are barely distinguishable to the ones we already own.

Part of the reason is that beauty companies are pushing the idea of nail color as a personal statement. (Apparently nail shape also reveals something about who you are. Celebrity manicurist Kimmie Kyees shares what may be the most mind-numbingly dull Kardashians tidbit ever: Kim “sticks strictly to short, square nails generally painted in a feminine pale pink hue.” And yet, “A rounder nail is more elegant.” Don’t stay up too late pondering what that says about Kim.) Of course, since there’s already nail polish available in basically every hue known to man, companies try to distinguish themselves with a catchy name.

We’re all aware that these names range from silly to offensive, (see “Iris I Was Thinner” and “Miso Happy With This Color), but buried in an accompanying Times piece is a bombshell. OPI is “arguably the pioneer” in ridiculous polish names, and Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI executive vice president and artistic director explains how the team comes up with those color collections based on a particular travel destination:

Weiss-Fischmann and her creative team take inspirational trips to get ideas for each collection. The name that ends up on the bottom of each bottle is generally a riff on something like a landmark or food they experienced while traveling. They regroup back at OPI’s North Hollywood headquarters, where about six people sit in a closed door meeting. Attendees bring food and other items of inspiration based on the collection’s destination or theme. Naming a collection of 12 shades takes six to eight hours. The results for this fall’s Touring America collection? Monikers including French Quarter for Your Thoughts and Are We There Yet.

So while colors like “San Tan-tonio,” “Don’t Mess With OPI,” and “Y’all Come Back, Ya Hear?” from the current Texas collection are riffs on the most basic references to the state, it sounds like OPI executives require a company-financed “inspirational trip” to come up with them. From now on, whenever I wear “Italian Love Affair” “Moon Over Mumbai,” or “It’s All Greek To Me” I’ll only be picturing the lavish vacations that gave rise to these genius turns of phrase, and rueing the fact that I didn’t pursue a career in naming nail polish.

For Nail Polish, Anything Goes [LAT]
Those Whimsical Nail Polish Names [LAT]

Earlier: Economy “Lipstick Index” is Now A Nail Polish Index
Nail Polish Names Are Endlessly Amusing

Image via Miramiska/Shutterstock.

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