Ruby Pumps

I hear much of the country is being socked in by ice and snow right now.  We’re supposed to get some combo of rain, snow, sleet and a plague of frozen locusts, for all the drama the forecasters are conveying.  I’m glad I’m not traveling anywhere further than the kitchen for more hot cocoa.

It seems like the right time to put up a brief post on a nail polish I’m wearing right now that makes me smile every time I look at it — China Glaze’s Ruby Pumps, which is perfect for the holiday season, and a part of my current obsession with all things red.

Ruby Pumps is no news to anyone into nail polish — I understand it was released previously in a Wizard-of-Oz themed collection and proved so popular they’ve continued to make it.

I didn’t know any of this, so I thought Ruby Pumps was just another sparkle-glitter red.  It is not.  It is the sparkle-glitter red.  It is the ur-red-polish, the mother of all sparkly glitters. The problem is that online photos simply don’t do it justice, as nail polish bloggers lament.  It is only when you put it on your nails — where it blings its merry bling that is some sort of miracle combination of micro-red glitter and impossible shimmery depth — that you realize it is every bit as fabulous a color as Dorothy’s slippers were in the movie.  It’s ridiculously gorgeous.  No wonder everyone loves it.  Also, the glitter is really really small — so it’s not that disco-queen effect.  In fact there’s something weirdly elegant about it.

I didn’t wear it to the party with my gunmetal ball gown — that seemed a bit much, so I went with a matching gunmetal polish by Nicole.  I also feel obliged to point out that there’s a green polish in the set, Emerald Sparkle, that is also quite popular among the polish bloggers.   If you want to buy either, you can follow the link and they make recommendations for reputable polish etailers who carry these and other stuff.

Finally — I’d love some red polish recommendations from you all.   I have OPI I’m Not Really A Waitress and one of their Russians, but that’s it.   I’d love a wonderful red cream with kind of a retro vibe, which doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult, but am having trouble choosing something.  Also, like red lips, red nails seem to demand an extra level of precision.  It’s not like I’m slopping my other polish on, but messy red nails seem particularly awful to me.  Application or cleanup tips?

  • Ingrid says:

    I can highly recommend OPI’s Red Hot Ayer’s Rock from the Australian collection for a real retro 50’s style red, a good orangey red. Chick Flick Cherry & the Thrill of Brazil are also very retro reds 🙂

    • March says:

      Thanks, hon! I want to look at a bunch of these at our local beauty supply place. I wonder if they’re going out of business, their stock is so low… 🙁

  • sanya says:

    I’ve looked at reds for a loooong time and my all time fave is sally hansen beyond perfect “red awakening”. It is a delicious true red, and I love it! I haven’t found anything I like more.:)>-

  • violetnoir says:

    Ah…Style Spy mentioned Revlon’s Raven Red. It’s one of the best reds ever created…and I think it first hit the market in the 1940’s, March. So talk about retro. It’s the real thing! I used to wear it way-ay back in the day in the early 70’s. I loved it.

    Another great retro red is Mac’s Shirelle. I am not a huge red fan, but this one makes you feel like putting on your sailor hat and collar and saluting the flag. It’s pefect for the 4th of July , and looks gorgeous on the tips and toes.


    • March says:

      Hey, hon, thanks! I was looking at the Revlons this a.m., they’re having a BOGO at CVS so all the cool colors were sold out! Thinking no on the Cherries in the Snow np. Ew. /:) I’m going to try another CVS to see if they have Raven…

  • divinemama says:

    Has anyone mentioned the OPI ‘And a Cherry on Top’ from the Sephora collection yet? They describe it as vivid marachino on their website. No glitter. My retro daughter picked it out when we were there getting my retro niece a gift card. BTW, if you have never bought a Sephora gift card, they come in this very cool two sided mirror case. Want!

  • Cathleen says:

    Lippmann makes a really beautiful red called Holiday; I think it’s a glitter, with red and pink sparkles. I can’t stop looking at my nails when I wear it. Adoree also makes a lovely red with a gold shimmer called Shocking Red. For red cremes, you cannot beat Rescue Beauty Lounge reds. Killa Red is my favorite, since it’s not too orange and not too blue. And if you find a creme base and want to sparkle it up a bit, Adoree has some really pretty glittery sheers to layer. And for base, I’ve been using Barielle Camouflage, mostly because of ridging. My new favorite top coat is SpaRitual Tout de Suite because it’s shiny, consistency is thinner than Seche Vite and it lasts.

    • March says:

      You know, I saw a pic of an RBL red somewhere … I of course had been looking at their weird colors and didn’t even know they made reds. It was fabulous. And I’m going to look for that Barielle base.
      Seche – I kinda like that plasticky top coat. :”>

      • Cathleen says:

        I love Seche, been using it for years, but it’s high maintenance. I’ve never used up a bottle unless I add the supplement that thins it out. Normally I wouldn’t mind, except I’m thinning it out halfway through the bottle. I’ve also had trouble with the tip/cuticle shrinkage which I guess is a side effect of quick dry top coat; the workaround is to paint horizontally across the tips. I’ve found the same thing happens with the Poshe quick dry top coat, too. But you can’t beat the Seche “self-leveling” formula; the thinner stuff can accentuate every bubble and gouge.

        • March says:

          I’m new to all this, and if my bottle of Seche goes to hell halfway through I’m going to be irritated. It’s kind of expensive. :-w

  • Gail S says:

    I heartily recommend China Glaze Ravishing Dahling. It’s part of the core collection so it’s easily found. It could be darker than you’re looking for, but maybe not 🙂 Dark red, but still obviously red, somewhat jellyish creme finish. …..sigh….I can gaze at it for hours

    For carmencanada, I gotta tell ya, part of the allure of the nail polish blogs is the PICTURES!!! Lordy, but I love pictures of pretty polish, must be illiterate at heart.

  • Marina says:

    A wonderful red cream with kind of a retro vibe – Zoya Dominique

  • carmencanada says:

    Wait a minute. There are nail polish bloggers? (thunk)

    • March says:

      Duuuuuuuude. You have no idea. I am no expert, and just off the top of my head I love: Polish Addict; All Lacquered Up; and Scrangie. Also you can amuse/torture yourself forever by going to where people just like you and me upload endless photos of their manis, sorted by color. Nail porn.

      And this reminds me of the one time I followed a link to our site back to some random political blog, and the commentary was, can you BELIEVE the stupid, worthless topics people blog on?!?! 🙂

      • carmencanada says:

        Well, I can understand politically-inclined people thinking fragrance is futile, and I’m not going to make the argument about how it’s a form of art (I’ve already blogged about that) because I’d be preaching to the choir… And a beauty blog I can perfectly understand, there’s so much out there to test and report on… But, now, nail polish, that’s really specialization. And quite an investment since the stuff doesn’t come in samples, does it? I’m not even going to ask about decants…

        • carmencanada says:

          The comment form wouldn’t let me add the emoticon that meant I was smiling! :>

        • March says:

          As far as I can tell, many of those bloggers literally buy every single shade that comes out in X collection, wears it once (for the photo) and never again. But who am I to judge?

          I will admit at $6 – $8 a pop (cheaper from online etailers) I spend less time agonizing over the choices than I do fragrance. I also have teenage girls to pass the stuff on to if I don’t like it. The truth is, I don’t WANT to own 200+ polishes.

  • sweetlife says:

    And the March Mind Meld continues! I’ve been collecting red polishes for the past two months and can now discourse knowledgeably on the differences between blue-red, brown-red, shimmer, cream, glowing jelly red, cranberry red, only-red-outside, and so on and so forth.

    I will add my voice to the chorus for Opi’s Got the Blues for Red, which you should get sooner than later because its been discontinued. It is a true blue-red, but just a bit subdued/browned. I also find myself reaching for Essie’s Malaga Wine on a regular basis. It is not wine-like at all, but a true, glowing cherry red–not as orange as I’m-not-a-waitress. Just gorgeous, and has that little bit of pop that I’m often looking for. My most recent love is Essie’s Lacy not Racy which apparently comes in two different colors depending on the store. Mine is a deep cranberry, but it has that same jelly-like glowing thing that Malaga has, so it doesn’t go dead indoors. (Both the Essie’s kind of suck in terms of coverage and coats required, but I still love them.) There may be one or two others in my stash :-\” let me know if you want more recs.

    As for cuticle drag. Base coat and practice definitely helps, but since I like my color to go all the way to the edges here’s my secret: make as much of a mess as you like and then, after your nails are thoroughly and completely dry, wash some dishes or your hair. The water makes it peel right off your skin, but stay on the nail and then –miracle!–you have a perfect manicure.

    • sweetlife says:


      I really miss whistling guy.

    • March says:

      Okay, definitely going to get the Blues. I saw it somewhere recently, I think at our local mall outlet, I’ll breeze by there and look. The Essies … maybe it’s my technique, but they aggravate me with their chipping. Way more than OPI or China Glaze. And I’m all about the 5-day mani so it aggravates, I’m too old for chipped polish. :-w

      That extra mess does peel off, doesn’t it? And dabbing around the outside w/remover never works that well on me.

      • sweetlife says:

        Huh. (on the chipping Essies) Well I use Zoya anchor base and Seche Vite top coat and I usually slap a full three coats on so they stick around for quite awhile. The only nails that chip are the index and middle fingers or my right hand which I use for all kinds of elegant activities that are very unfair to nail polish like, um, picking my teeth, scraping burnt bits off the bottoms of pans and the like… I think the Malaga is worth it.

        But here’s another, since you didn’t agree: China Glaaze, Seduce Me. One of those pinky-reds that look like fuschia in the bottle but read as red once they’re on the nail. Lasted forever and you can’t really beat the name. (I try not to pay attention to the names but there are some I *won’t* buy because I hate the name, or it seems like bad luck or something. Silly, I know. You?)

        • March says:

          Aha, a Zoya anchor? 😕 I want to try a new base. And Malaga sounds worth it, frankly. 😡

          Some of the OPI names are so stupid they make my head hurt, but I’m not sure it would actually stop me from buying the bottle if I loved the color.

          • March says:

            PS I bought Barielle Misbehaving Mistress in part because the name was so great. And yes, Seduce Me is a fine name for a polish.

        • sweetlife says:


          That’s me blushing, because I just went to go get my beloved Essie Malaga and…it’s not Malaga at all. It’s Bordeaux. Malaga is an Opi. So there you go. Yet another to try.:x

          • March the Impressed says:

            Dang, you beat me! But it’s a different color, so thanks. The OPI Malaga does look nice.

            Bought two cheapie Revlons today BOGO — Revlon Red and Raven Red.

    • March the Indecisive says:

      I’m going to try to beat you to it. It’s OPI Malaga Wine, isn’t it? Am I remembering right?

  • Style Spy says:

    I’ll second OPI’s Got the Blues For Red– it’s one of my go-to colors, a brilliant perfect blue-red. If I want to go a little darker & more glam, I pull out the Revlon Raven Red. Revlon polishes wear extremely well– I also recommend their Blackberry, which is a frosted dark golden berry — very pretty. REd nails require practicepracticepractice, but my best advice is go very slowly and don’t push the brush all the way to the cuticle — leave a tiny unpainted rim around the edge.

    • March says:

      That’s funny. I am left-handed, so I usually paint my right fingers first (with my left hand) and almost always, the mani on my right hand is better, because I’ve painted it with my left hand.

      With Ruby Pumps I noted that my left hand looks better because I was so deeply freaked out by the cuticle issue I ended up leaving a little gap around the edge on all those nails. And you’re right, it looks better!

      Is Blues for Red a non-shimmer? I swear it’s hard to tell online.

  • Rappleyea says:

    LOL at the coincidence of reading this post this morning, as yesterday when I went to watch the U. K. basketball game with my mom, she had just finished polishing her nails with OPI Red. They were beautiful! A very true, elegant red. BTW, Mom is 75 and has the hands of a 30 year old!

    I gave up on manicures once I became licensed as a massage therapist as I had to keep my nails ridiculously short, but for some weird reason, I really enjoy these nail polish posts. Great fun to read and to see the new colors.

    • March says:

      OPI Red! Adding it to my list, thanks very much. I will say that based on my three (?) months of experience, OPI is my favorite brand. I love their brush and the colors seem to last forever. The Chanels chip like crazy on me. I got rid of both Kaleidoscope and Haute Choc (heresy!)

  • sybil says:

    Ahhh, red…love it for my toes! I have the lousiest, most breakage-prone, bendy peeling nails, so no matter how many top coats and base coats and strenghtening polishes I use, polishing my fingernails isn’t in my regular rotation. But for my toes I go for cheapies. My current favorite red is Milani (available at CVS!) Bella Berry, which isn’t really all that red, now that I look at it. It’s got quite a lot of blue in it, but it’s nice and shiny. It needs 2 coats, for sure, but according to my painters, all red pigments cover poorly. It does seem to wear pretty well, though. As for cleanup…I just use lots of nail polish remover. LOTS. Qtips around the cuticles, as needed. Off to shovel the driveway…Have good luck w/ the weather!

    • March says:

      My daughters have a lot of Milani, and it wears surprisingly well. They have some fun colors. Also on my last visit to CVS I bought one of those … vat remover things you stick your finger into. Remember those from high school? I don’t use it to actually remove all the polish but I’ve discovered that if I shove my fingertips in there after the fact, it does a pretty good job of removing any remaining polish from my skin and nails.

      Blah, the driveway! I can hear my poor Cheese out there right now, chiseling the ice off the windshield.

  • Louise says:

    Heaps of snow, and we’re heading to Boston! DS insists his dress shoes should be fine…and I’m already planning time on our first day to buy him boots 8-|

    I may be doing Ruby Slippers this week, too-or Emerald Sparkle. Both are lovely, but the red is certainly more versatile. It is lovely…other reds I like are OPI Got the Blues for Red, and Chanel Lotus Rouge-pretty retro in a way, but lovely, if a bit chip-prone.

    My only application tip for the really difficult ones…call me for my manicurist’s name :d/

    • March says:

      Oh, good luck with that! I hope your trip is okay. Yeah, he’s going to need something with traction, at minimum. Kids. /:) I had to pick Diva up in Bethesda after I TOLD her not to wear her stupid flip-flops, but even I was not heartless enough to make her walk home…

      Can you believe Ruby Pumps sat in my drawer all these weeks? Duh.

      • Musette says:

        FLIPFLOPS? What the h3ll kinda weather are you having over there? Here…..well, here it is a solid half-inch of ice on everything (and I mean everything – bushes are frozen solid) and to top it off we have had a luscious little snowstorm. Then it gets interesting….

        Every church, every steeple, every door and every people is CLOSED. Driving is discouraged because you can slide off the road, roll over into a cornfield or a ravine….and die. – ravines Very Bad.

        I hate the Midwest. Maybe a pedicure with that Cheyenne Pepper will cheer me up.

        also, note to you about Candide Effluve. How could I have missed that? Day-amm! It’s like the world’s most expensive, most incredibly beautiful cough syrup!


        • March says:

          Hey, it was 37 and sleeting. She just refuses to wear shoes, like a lot of girls her age around here. They consider flipflops to be year-round footwear. She has literally worn them in the snow. I think it’s ridiculous of course, and sometimes I put my foot down about it. But I feel like she’s old enough to make some of her own stupid decisions. 🙂 I decided not to punish her for that one. She wanted her posse to see her new red and green (Ruby Pumps and Emerald Sparkle, alternating toes) pedicure.

          Your weather sounds gross. I hate that stuff, esp. what it does to the trees. Ours is now melting. About to put on my boots and limp around the corner to the store, we are out of milk.

          • Musette says:

            Melting would be good – but with 30mph winds I doubt it’ll happen anytime soon (perfect day for schleppin in 8ft sheets of drywall, eh? Don’t get me started…)

            anyway, I had to giggle when I read your reply – took me back to when I was in 8th grade. My mother made us wear GALOSHES for pity’s sake….’member those? Well, all the COOL folks just wore their loafers in the calf-deep snow….so my brother and I would hide our galoshes in the neighbor’s yard, then walk the 8 blocks to school in soaking-wet shoes….and we thought we were so ‘it’.

            Not quite flip flops…but close


            carry on… I have to go bundle back up and navigate the ice rink because El O can’t plan ahead….

          • rosarita says:

            Ah, sweet Musette, please be careful! (Insert hand wringing Grandma emoticon here.) We have the same weather, of course, and now wind chill numbers that are just ridiculous, and the power keeps flipping off and on. Do NOT want to lose power when the temps are below 0 and the blowing snow is covering the ice ruts on the roads. So very kind of the blogging folks to keep us distracted by sparkly red nails!

            @};- =d>

          • Musette says:

            You, too, angel. My furthest foray was 2 blocks to the shop! This is an absurd situation, isn’t it? Our power is surging as well – ice covers every single surface. Throwing out bird seed and veggies for whatever can drag itself out to eat.

            Nail polish is an excellent distraction!

            Stay safe!


          • March says:

            We wore galoshes too. The big rubbery kind that you could literally fit your shoe in, with those weird buckles that went across. I still remember the way they smelled sitting next to the radiator.

          • pavlova says:

            We also had some bright red (speaking of RED things) rubber ones with zippers and then some with a strap around the top to help keep your snowpants tucked in. Of course, girls wore dresses/skirts to school, so we had to tuck those into the snowpants as well. It has been snowing for 2 days here in the Boston area! A beautiful winter wonderland, but bad timing after losing 5 days last weekend to the power outage (no heat or running water – agghhh!). But, we will have a White Christmas!

  • rosarita says:

    Ruby Pumps sounds wonderful, bet it would look fabulous on toes, too. I’m also on a search for reds. One I like is a cheapie: Sally Hansen Extreme Wear in #18 Cherry Red. It’s one of the little round SH bottles on the bottom rack at your local Walgreens, etc. It’s a glossy cream that’s the exact color of maraschino cherries. Nice flow onto the nail and wears very well. OPI Deer Valley Spice is another one I like; it has a very subtle shimmer.

    Just treated myself to OPI Tickle My Francey, the pale, smoky violet-beige-gray cream. Makes a lovely, modern neutral mani; I think I’ll wear it a lot. Love your n/p posts, M! Nailpolish is one of my very favorite affordable luxuries. 😡

    • March says:

      Oh that’s perfect! I will look for it. I have the perfect skin for a pinky-red, and I like Sally Hansen. That color sounds divine. And I wonder if Revlon makes Cherries in the Snow in a polish? It’s such a classic. I don’t quite like it on my lips, but maybe on my tips…

      Tickle My France-y just appeared on a np blogger’s top 20 list. I think I’ll have to check it out.

    • March says:

      Rosarita, if you see this — just slapped some SH Cherry Red on, it’s GORGEOUS! I paid, what, $2.79? The perfect cheerful retro cherry red. Thanks! 😡

  • Dain says:

    A base beforehand helps with removal afterward. It’s still a little tricky to remove, but, the buffer helps.

    • March says:

      I definitely use a base coat every time, the wear difference is huge, and Seche Vite on top because that stuff is miraculous.

      I’ve been using Orly Top 2 Bottom but wondering if I could do better. I want to try Orly Bonder, and/or the Seche ridge-filling Base Coat. People complain about the Seche base because it changes the color of sheer polishes since it’s tinted, but I’m not sure that’s an issue for me. I mean, I could buy them all, but at $7 a pop I don’t want to.

      • Dain says:

        Perhaps a nude nailpolish, instead of a base? Usually base coats are intended to give the polish that comes afterwards a “grip”, so it’s possible that normal nailpolish may function better. It’s only a theory though. On the subject of base coats, I chip like crazy (nail biting probably doesn’t help), and Creative Nail Design Stickey is the best I’ve found thus far.

  • pavlova says:

    Good morning March — just returned from a wonderfully festive neighborhood party and I wish my nails had been China Glaze Ruby Pumps!!! Perhaps I can pull it off at some time over the holidays.
    My last-minute polish was a quick coat of clear just to add some shine! And Chanel Bois des Iles sprayed with wild abandon as I received the BIG bottle for my recent birthday!