Favorite Bronze Nail Polish

Though I am expressly opposed to the changing of the seasons — unless the seasonal change is from “not-summer” to “summer” — I do like the corresponding change in “seasonally-appropriate colors.” Yeah, yeah, I know you can wear pastel pink or rusty orange or sparkly silver whenever you want, seasons be damned, but I enjoy switching it up. And one of those switches is from my gold summer polish to a more burnished bronze for fall.

Turns out, I have even more bronze polishes  than gold. Why? Maybe because fall is chilly and dim and sad and needs more sparkling, enameled, artificial cheer than summer. Or maybe because bronze allows for so many subtle permutations that gold doesn’t. Or maybe it’s because I’m not sure what qualifies as “bronze,” so if it’s not OBVIOUSLY gold or copper or brown, I count it as “bronze.”

Unfortunately, a bunch of these have been discontinued. A quick google tells me that one of the brands (Rainbow Honey) maybe doesn’t even exist anymore, or is on hiatus? (Man, you step away from severe nail polish obsession for a year and everything changes! How the heck did SquareHue survive while Rainbow Honey died?!) Anyway, even The Big Brands like OPI and Essie regularly release and discontinue seasonal collections, and indie polishes tend to be super-limited-run colors, so unless it’s part of the OPI/Essie/Zoya permanent core collection you’re probably SOL with ANY nail polish. Sorry. Fortunately, even discontinued nail polish is cheap and easy to track down online, usually with minimal markup over retail, if you really NEED one of these.

All polishes shown are three coats, topped with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri. They all applied really smoothly; Harvest Moon did tend to dry a bit quickly and thus clump up a touch, while the OPI brushes are a touch wide for my particular nails and left some polish on my cuticles.) (Ed. : which collier airbrushed out. :D)

Without further ado, some bronze polishes I love:

The “Are you SURE these aren’t just … brown?” bronzes:

Rainbow Honey “Oni”: this dark black-bronze-y base features tons of bronze, dark brown, gold, and purple-pink flakes and glitter. Looks murky and neutral inside, but REALLY pops in the sunshine — the contrast between gold and dark flakes gives this one a lot of depth.

Pahlish “So Not Married!”: Do you ever do that thing where you grab all of a certain color in your nail polish collection and realize you not only have a super-close dupe, but a super-close dupe FROM THE SAME BRAND? Yeah, this shade (from a LE Doctor Who set) is awfully close to “Sink in the Silence,” which I think is from their Lana del Rey collection. This happens a lot to me, and is an eternal source of shame. Anyway, they’re close enough that I’m not swatching both. This has a blackened base packed with gold, bronze, and red (?) shimmer, which gives a bronzed look overall. It pulls slightly more reddish-brown than Oni, which is darker and more blackened.

OPI “What Wizardry is This?”: “Oz the Great and Powerful” may have been an utterly forgettable film (I had to google ‘wizard of oz new movie’ to retrieve that title), but I think it was one of OPI’s standout collections: three neutral crellys, three glitters (one of which was infamous in certain circles for its poor production quality), and one of their “liquid sand” finishes. I know textured polishes are, like, soooooo 2013 — but they dry faster than normal polishes, look cool when layered under oodles of thick glossy topcoat, and can be found REAL cheap in online swap groups because they’re so 2013.  This one is brown with gold (and some super-tiny green and pink flashes), which evens out to a green-brown-leaning bronze. I have no idea what’s going on with my nail shape. Just ignore that.

OPI “My Private Jet”: Oh hey! This one is permanent! It has existed in several iterations over the years (mine is the one that has small holo glitter flecks blended throughout); what they all have in common is smooth darkest brown-bronze microshimmer with tiny sparkle.

The “Are you SURE these aren’t just … copper?” bronzes:

Pahlish “Chalco-pyrite”: This is from one of my favorite nail polish collections EVER, and features a bright “autumn leaves” mix of mid-sized flakies: red, orange, gold, maybe a little silver or green. It looks super orange-copper on my nails, except when I compare it to ACTUAL copper nail polishes. Color is weird, y’all.

OPI “Sprung”: From the Mariah Carey collection, this one has smaller (but still visually distinct) sparkles in a more red-leaning combo — orange, gold, red, fuchsia.

China Glaze “Harvest Moon”: This polish (from the Hunger Games collection) has bronzed-copper microshimmer that gives a foiled effect. It does a pretty good job avoiding that weird streaky-foiled finish, so … props, I guess. It’s nice, but it’s never the first one I reach for when I want “bronze.”

OPI “Brisbane Bronze”: This polish has a shimmery, slightly dull, reddish-bronzed finish. This one is SUPREMELY “November” to me, and probably the most appropriate for “office traditional” polish.

The “Okay, yeah, I can see why you might think THESE are bronze” bronzes:

Butter London “Scuppered”: Tiny copper, bronze, and fuchsia shimmers with larger lime-green flakies. It’s nice, but I prefer …

OPI “Warm & Fozzie”: A mix of copper, bronze, fuchsia, and green flakies — a more balanced mix than Scuppered, but … yeah, they’re pretty close. It pulls a little more copper overall, while Scuppered pulls more tan. Also, you can’t NOT like a polish from a Muppets-themed collection, you know?

Got a favorite bronze (or any other “omg autumnnnnn” color)? Share it! ENABLE US.