The Radiant Orchid Files: Must Have Nail Shades

radiant orchid

On December 5th, Pantone announced Radiant Orchid as 2014’s color of the year.  Per Pantone, Radiant Orchid is “an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones”.  Lucky for us nail fanatics, there are plenty of Radiant Orchid choices ready for the picking, whether you prefer drugstore, salon or high-end brands!

Drugstore brands


Pure Ice Monte Carlo (3 coats, $1.99)- I previously reviewed Monte Carlo with Pure Ice’s Puttin’ On The Glitz collection.  This glossy fuchsia jelly can be found at Wal-Mart.


Sinful Shine Pragmatic (3 coats, $2.99)- While lighter colors can be a pain, this pretty, delicate lilac was an exception to the rule.


Maybelline Color Show Vintage Leather Lasting Lilac (3 coats, $3.99, fall 2013, LE)- Maybelline’s Vintage Leather polishes have prominent glass flecks and dry matte to mimic a leather finish.  Lasting Lilac is more fuchsia and jelly with a top coat.


Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Vigorous Violet (3 coats, $4)- Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri line is one of the most underrated beauty bargains.  This light grape has a subtle shimmer which gives it more depth.


Sally Hansen Triple Shine Vanity Flare (3 coats, $4.99)- Sally Hansen’s new line features a grape that’s easy to apply.


China Glaze Are You Jelly (3 coats, $7.50, summer 2013)- Are You Jelly is a bright purple from China Glaze’s 2013 summer neon line.  While not eye-searing neon, this polish fits in perfectly with the Radiant Orchid trend.


Essie The Girls Are Out (3 coats, $8, summer 2013)- Five of Essie’s summer 2013 Naughty Nautical collection featured glass-flecked polishes.  The Girls Are Out is a gorgeous fuchsia with the same feature.


Essie DJ Play That Song (3 coats, $8, summer 2013)- Like Are You Jelly, Essie’s DJ Play That Song is a purple in a “neon” collection.  This bright purple dries to a satin sheen.

Salon brands


Morgan Taylor Bright Side (3 coats, $5.99)- Morgan Taylor is a new brand from Hand & Nail Harmony, Gelish’s parent company.  In the bottle, you expect a purple crème but turns out to be a semi-matte fuchsia jelly.


ChG Gothic Lolita (3 coats, $7.50, spring 2012, core)- Gothic Lolita is a slightly smoky orchid with a subtle shimmer.  This was the breakthrough color for China Glaze’s ElectroPop collection.


OPI A Grape Fit! (3 coats, $9, Brights 2009, core)- OPI’s glossy core lilac will definitely satisfy your Radiant Orchid jones.


Zoya Lael (3 coats, $9, fall 2007, core)- For those of you wanting a more dramatic flair on Radiant Orchid, Zoya’s rich red grape Lael will do the trick.


Creative Nail Design Plum Truffle (3 coats, $12, holiday 2011 duo, LE)- I cannot find an official source, but if the current product lineup is correct, CND has discontinued their traditional polish line.  I deduce that they have turned their focus to their insanely popular Shellac and Vinylux “weekly polish” salon products instead.  However, Plum Truffle is still available on

Boutique/high-end brands


NCLA Pick Me Up At Melrose Place (3 coats, $16)- While I love the bright lilac color, the application was horrendous.  Save your money and get Illamasqua Jo’Mina instead.


Illamasqua Jo’Mina (3 coats, $17)- Jo’Mina is a fabulous bright lilac.  While not neon, this color is still a head-turner.  Yes, the price is a bit high but it’s totally worth it with Illamasqua’s great formula.


Rescue Beauty Lounge Purple Haze (3 coats, $18)- If crème polishes are your bag, you need to give RBLs a try.  While they carry a high price tag (newer polishes are $20), RBL crèmes have a hard-to-beat buttery smooth application.  This smoky purple is still at RBL’s old price of $18, so catch it while you can!

All prices are estimated retail prices.

Want to sport the Radiant Orchid trend without breaking the bank?  Here are a few tips:

–  Keep an eye out for retail coupons and deals.  Ulta and Sally Beauty Supply frequently have sales on their stock colors which can knock off a few dollars.  Drugstores also offer buy one get one free or half-off sales on different brands.

–  Online retailers may offer lower prices than brick and mortar stores.  Some offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount.

– eBay sellers also offer lower prices and often have free shipping for smaller packages.  This is great if you only want to buy one or two online.

Description:’m sure polish brands will be jumping on the Radiant Orchid bandwagon with new polishes in the new future, but hopefully these will let you sport the color while you wait!


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More about Janice

Janice Agagas-Welch is a Filipino Navy brat raised in Northwest Florida living the good life in the Lowcountry. She’s a married dog mom and licensed nail technician who has owned over 2000 polishes over the last 5 years. She also loves food, cider, mid-1990s R&B, college football and anything Peanuts/Snoopy-related.

  • Cosmetic Sanctuary

    These are gorgeous picks for radiant orchid. I own many of them, and you just made me want to get the ones I don’t have!

    • Princess Cookie

      Thank you! They’re definitely worth picking up!

  • what a gorgeous array of swatches! That Morgan Taylor looks divine!

    • Princess Cookie

      I can’t resist jellies!

  • Aleya Bamdad

    What a great group of colors.

    • Princess Cookie

      Thank you!

  • BeautyJudy

    These swatches are beautiful!!! LOVE this color, so happy with it.

    • Princess Cookie

      This color definitely makes me happy too!

  • Ack… Purple is my favorite color and I’m making a list of all the ones I want to add… like Pragmatic… gorgeous!

    • Princess Cookie

      It’s only $3, so it’s a steal!

  • Nidia Doherty

    So many pretties! Wish I could get Morgan Taylor more readily. I have one and like it. That squishy purple is so pretty!

    • Princess Cookie

      I think it may be available on Amazon.

  • China Glaze Are You Jelly, Morgan Taylor Bright Side, ChG Gothic Lolita, and Illamasqua Jo’Mina are gorgeous!

    • Princess Cookie

      Those are all amazing choices!

  • Totally a color I can sink my teeth (and nails!) into!

    • Princess Cookie

      Now I just need Radiant Orchid lipstick to match!

  • MyNewestAddiction

    I think Morgan Taylor Bright side is my FAVORITE! Your nails look awesome!

    • Princess Cookie

      Thanks! I ended up wearing it as a pedi 🙂

  • I need to try NCLA because I love all the shades I see. I like the Maybelline version of Radiant Orchid!!

    • Princess Cookie

      I would like to try other NCLAs and hope the formula is better on their other colors.

  • Beautiful nail swatches!

    • Princess Cookie

      Thank you!

  • Farryn

    Wow these are gorgeous colors and swatches!

    • Princess Cookie


  • I love the matte Maybelline! Well.. I love em all, but that one enough to call out on it’s own lol

    • Princess Cookie

      it’s definitely the most unique!