The Accent Nail Files: Find Common Ground to Create Unexpected Pairings Like Purple and Burgundy

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To, Nails, Smith & Cult

Smith & Cult Check the Rhyme paired with Lo-Fi

Smith & Cult Check the Rhyme nail polish teamed up with Lo-Fi lacquer

ME: “Oh, Magic 8 ball, will my attempt at nail art today turn out to be epically flawless and fabulous and absolutely everything I’ve ever dreamed nail art could be?”

MAGIC 8 BALL: “All signs point to hell naaaaw!


That particular accent nail combo up top was the result of an epic nail art fail last Sunday.

I’d started out trying to do something involving negative space and jerry-rigged Band-Aid cutouts and… Anyway, it didn’t work out, but it led me to the purple and burgundy combo here, ’cause you know I’m all about that accent nail life. πŸ™‚

After the Band-Aid cutout disaster (long, sad story), I started thinking about creamy purple nails and got this picture in my head of a hand with bright violet nails wrapped around a glass of red wine.

So I dug through my stash and pulled out this vibrant violet shade by Smith & Cult called Check the Rhyme, which I paired with a burgundy called Lo-Fi, also from Smith & Cult.

By the founders of Hard Candy, Smith & Cult is a new line with some really cool colors, packaging and names. They only came out a few months ago. Wear time is OK, like 4-5 days with a base and top coat, so not as sturdy as OPI, but good enough if you like to swap out your polish every few days. The bottles are kind of expensive though at $18 each, but I like a lot of their colors.

Smith & Cult Check the Rhyme paired with Lo-Fi

The purple: Check the Rhyme. The burgundy: Lo-Fi.

The deep creamy burgundy accent nail pairing is a nod to winter, but I’m also looking forward to spring with the bright purple and saying “wassup!”


I like this duo and think it works because…

  1. The burgundy has slightly purple undertones that play off the purple polish. That’s what I was hoping when I picked it because I knew I didn’t want something too red.
  2. The similar finishes. Because in theory, purple and burgundy could be kind of a jarring match. Like, I normally wouldn’t think to put together an outfit with those two colors, but I think the creamy finishes here unify the look.

So, yeah! It’s fun to find unexpected polish pairings. One thing that helps is looking for colors that have something in common, like similar undertones and/or finishes, to help pull them together.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Are you wearing anything special on your paws today?


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 24 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Agata says:

    This color combination is really pretty, I love the bright purple! I am currently wearing a navy blue Ciate nail polish with blue glitter accent nails (my index finger and my thumb). You can check it out on my blog if you have a moment.
    Agata recently posted … How To Chase Away Winter Blues With Blue Makeup

  2. Kim says:

    My paws are bare but they’re looking pretty good, thanks to my compulsive hand moisturizing. πŸ™‚ These jars are super-cute, btw. I love the indent in the cap, which I suppose becomes affordable with an $18 price tag.

    • Karen says:

      Good for you! Do you have cuticle oil up in le mix? I’m seriously enamored with CND Solar Oil these days.

      Happy Tuesday!

      • Kim says:

        I’m a fan of Solar Oil, myself! I have a bottle in my purse but I haven’t needed it because I’m compulsively using the “lemon pledge” on my desk, pretty much all day. πŸ™‚ I try to stay away from the oil during the day because it makes my keyboard greasy – I don’t have time to let it soak in completely. I’m sure you know exactly what I mean!

  3. Yup, totally works! I like working with an accent color πŸ™‚
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Make-up look | Doing something different with a simple winged eyeliner look

  4. Divya says:

    I love the unusual packaging! I haven’t painted my tips in months but when I do it’s probably going to be done or the other nude/ neutral!
    Divya recently posted … MAC Makeup Rediscovered

  5. Chris25 says:

    My favorite accent nail pairings for purple tend to be blues and raspberry pinks.

    Here’s one:
    Chris25 recently posted … OPI Skyfall Collection

  6. Love the color combination!
    ❀ Jessica |

  7. Kelly B. says:

    I have never tried anything from this brand but I always admire the design of their bottles! I’ve never thought of doing a darker accent nail, I really like it!
    Kelly B. recently posted … Almay Intense I-Color Trios Review & Swatches!

  8. Estefania says:

    You remind me. I need to do my nails…MJ Le Charm, here I come!

  9. MonicaP says:

    Fun! Sometimes the best part of nail polish are the cool and interesting nail polish bottles!

    MonicaP recently posted … L’OREAL 5 pc Mauve Lip Set from All Cosmetics Wholesale

  10. astou says:

    Very nice purple color, i love the bottles !!!

  11. Erin says:

    Those bottles look like perfume! COOL!
    Erin recently posted … Post Holiday Sales

  12. Hey Karen!!
    Sometimes disasters lead to the best results
    Talkerblogger recently posted … Laneige The Water Bank Skincare Line : The SkinCare Luxury

  13. Angel says:

    Just one accent nail? Is what I say lol My whole blog is nail art so I’m always rocking something crazy! Haha! although I do love your purple and burgundy it’s very sophisticated πŸ™‚

  14. Debra says:

    Nothing on the paws today. The Chanel Rouge Noir was lovely but the thumbs chipped horribly. I guess those 2 fingers were the accents!

    I bought some fabric online — black & white Scottie dogs on a blue-red background and, just cause I fell in love with it, an apricot scroll fabric. I’ll be danged but they look beautiful together so I scrapped my original combo idea and put these 2 colors together.

    So, melon/apricot blush with wine red would make a good makeup pairing.

    That Solar Oil is making my sun shine even in the foggy weather!

  15. Trude says:

    See it looks good on you! I’m just too OCD to stand it on myself (and it’s not for lack of trying)! πŸ™‚ Right now I’m wearing CND Vinylux in Tinted Love, it’s a purpley-red. I decided to try it out when I cashed in a mani-pedi gift card last week and I’m pretty impressed with the wear time. Took forever to dry, but it’s barely showing wear at the tips after 5 days, and that includes putting together three pieces of Ikea furniture and taking some old stuff to Goodwill!

  16. Stephanie A. says:

    Totally singing A Tribe Called Quest now!

    I actually just gave myself an accent nail in my mani for the first time in many months! It’s not too exciting, but I think it’s pretty–I have one of the new-ish Essie matte polishes ( can’t remember the name, but the cream colored one) with Beyond Cozy ( dense glitter) on my ring fingers. I’m digging the juxtaposition of matte/sparkly!

  17. Lorraine says:

    It’s always fun to come up with good accent nail pairings, or good layering combo pairings. If I was smart I’d heed my instinct to jot them down so I can come back to it when in need of inspiration. I once read a good tip that looking at a color wheel helps- whatever is directly across from the color you want to pair will work, just try to match the shades intensity(pale with pale, brights with brights, muted with muted etc). This works for mani pedi pairings, of course! today I am rocking Chanel Desirio on fingers and toes. I am never matchy matchy but with a color this complex and fun, I caved.

  18. I love accept nails but for me its usually ring finger.. πŸ˜‰ .. The combination of wine n purple seems like fun.. I wouldn’t have even though of picking them together πŸ˜›

    But I loved it.. I shall follow ur steps too πŸ˜‰
    Poo@beautyandmakeupmatters recently posted … Makeup Tips: How to Apply Makeup

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