Nail polish ads from the ’80s: Popular colors & top brands (1980-1989)

Nail polish ads from the '80s Popular colors - top brands (1980-1989)

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Look back at these vintage nail polish ads from the ’80s to see the most awesome colors and brands that were out there for a retro DIY manicure.


Cutex pink nail polishes (1980s)

(Shades shown, from left to right) Ultra Pink Cream, Ultra Violet Cream, Ultra Rose Cream, Pink Neon Frost, Video Violet Frost, Flashing Fuchsia Frost.

Retro 80s Cutex Perfect Color nail polish

L’erin new spring shades (1980s)

Just picked for spring — fresh tulip shades from L’erin.

L’erin takes its color from springs’ first tulips. The freshest, softest, dewiest colors spring ever saw. All for your lips and fingertips.

L'Erin Nail polish ads of the '80s

Tan on Tan (1980s)

Now Cutex goes gung-ho for nail colors that sport a summer tan.

Like Pink Almond, Soft Suede, Caravan Sands, Toffee and Toasted Almond. om pale to deep, so you can tan by degrees.

And you can even tan frosted, via Cool Copper, Real Bronze or Fawn.

Try to picture it. You, in nothing but a string bikini. Or wearing sandals and are skimp of a dress.

With your fingertips and toetips and sun-warmed skin all to match. That’s tan on tan.

Nail polish ads of the '80s - L'Erin (1981)

New! Maybelline ManiCure Nail Color. (1981)

Announcing a look of a salon manicure… bottled!

Professional manicurists helped develop it! So each fabulous fashion shade of new Maybelline ManiCure Nail Color contains three steps of a luxurious salon manicure: base. color, sealer.

Every stroke dries smooth. Sleek. Gleaming, Chip resistant. It’s Maybelline — beautiful and tough. Treat your nails to some luxury — the look of a salon manicure!

Maybelline ManiCure nail color from 1982

MORE: See the top vintage nail polish brands and colors from the 20th century

Nail color that looks wet, even when it’s dry. (1982)

Compare Cover Girl NailSlicks wet… and dry. Proof. The color looks wet, even when dry.

Cover Girl NailSlicks from 1982

MORE: See Cheryl Tiegs’ clothing collection & swimwear at Sears in the ’80s

“Red”, she said (1981)

It’s Red Velvet from Cutex. A red so rich, deep and dynamite-dishy it makes you think of fox furs and limos, and movie-star kind of nails.

Ditto, our Redwood, Teakwood, Wine and Hennaberry, from the Cutex red nail shade collection.

You can paint up a storm with them. Flash them like jewels on your fingers. Feel dressed when you haven’t a thing to wear.

“Red”, she said. The richer the better, says Cutex, for knock-out nails right now.

Vintage red nail polish ads of the '80s from 1981 (1)

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ALSO SEE: 45 most popular vintage perfumes from the ’80s

Sheer is here. (1981)

Cutex Sheer Nail Glossers. Color you can see through. Shine you can see through. In great glossy shades to wear three different ways.

For delicate extra-sheer color, just brush on one coat. For more color that still looks sheer, add a second coat. Or layer it on three times for luscious semi-sheer color turned up to high.

Sheer is definitely here. Now, how sheer do you want to go?

Vintage 80s Cutex Sheer Nail Glossers polish from 1981 (1)

Vintage 80s Cutex Sheer Nail Glossers polish from 1981 (2)

Nail Blush. Wow! (1982)

Now Cutex invents Nail Blush.

It’s a super-gleamy finish that goes on gossamer and seems to let the light come through.

Nail Blush. Very fresh. Very young. It may make you want to wear frills and go to tea dances. Oh wow!

Cutex Nail Blush 1982

ALSO SEE: How to get beautiful nails: 9 tips for your next mani-pedi

Let L’erin color glaze to the talking (1982)

L’erin. Dazzling nail colors — 24 lush creams and luminous frosts that keep right on dazzling.

L'Erin color glaze retro nail enamel (1982)

“Super Nails” by Natural Wonder (1982)

They’re not called “Super Nails” for nothing! “We’re tough but we’re flexible!”

Natural Wonder has no-chip, no-peel, no-crack, no-kidding resin nail formula that lasts for days. Nails (even tips) stay strong and flexible.

Retro Natural Wonder super nails polish from 1982

Maybelline ManiCure nail color (1983)

Maybelline says pamper yourself… and your nails! The color, the protection, the look of a salon manicure.

Maybelline ManiCure Nail Color (1983)

ALSO SEE: Do you remember these 30 shampoos & conditioners from the ’80s?

AVON Single Stroke One Coat nail enamel (1987)

Look how fast little piggies go to market. Now the perfect pedicure is child’s play. Just one fast-drying coat and your ready to go.

Avon Single Stroke One Coat Nail Enamel (1987)

Avon – Look how fast you’re polished now (1987)

Avon Single Stroke One Coat nail polish (1987)

Fashion Fair Color Seduction nail polish and makeup (1989)

Color Seduction: Indulge in enticing shades of Pink Lace, Flattering Flame, Warm Bronze and Red Rapture with Fashion Fair’s Color Seduction Collection for your lips and nails. Available at the Fashion Fair beauty counter… in fine stores everywhere.

On our model: Bronze Glo “Perfect Finish” Creme Makeup, Paradise Pink Blush, Shades of Fantasy I Eye Shadows, Pink Lace Lipstick and Nail Polish

Fashion Fair Color Seduction nail polish - makeup (1989)

Fashion Fair Color Seduction nail polish and makeup (1989)

Cindy Crawford for Revlon (1989)

Wild Berries — A taste of berry fresh color. Rich and ripened. Outrageously delicious. Unforgettable.

ALSO SEE: Cindy Crawford’s Cosmopolitan & Vogue covers of the 1980s

Cindy Crawford for Revlon 1989 (1)

Cindy Crawford for Revlon 1989 (2)

Maybelline Long Wearing nail color and Performance 10 (1989)

Maybelline Long Wearing nail color and Performance 10 (1989)

SEE MORE: 109 colors of retro Revlon nail polish (1981)

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Comments on this story

3 Responses

  1. Where have all these amazing nail colors gone? These colors were so varied, age inclusive and went from work to play in nothing less than elegant.

    Colors now are flat, colors are too young and not work appropriate for higher level professions as were the colors of the 80’s & 90’s.

    I would gladly buy them is they’re available as would many women I know.

    Thank you;

    1. You can’t be serious. These colors are available, from multiple lines: Zoya, OPI, Essie, Orly, CND, China Glaze and more. If anything, the color choices are far better now than they’ve ever been. I was there in the 80s and know for a fact that you couldn’t find many colors outside of the same old boring red, pink, orange, browns and nudes. No blue, purple, green or yellow. No “vamp” colors, either. Your choice of looks was cream and frosted. No holo, glitter, duo/multichrome, shimmer, matte, or sheer polishes.

      If you haven’t found a color you like, it’s because you haven’t looked hard enough.

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