Gina Carney of RGB Cosmetics Talks Nail Color and Collabs

Gina Carney

Gina Carney

While working the cosmetics counters at Barneys New York in Chicago, Gina Carney found herself focusing more on her customers’ nail polish than their foundation or mascara. But not because Chicagoans have singularly unusual taste in polish. (Fashion Trends Daily founder and native Chicagoan, Michelle Tyree, assures me this is not the case.)

So, it was only natural that Carney would eventually find herself in Los Angeles — Land of Lacquer — working on her very own line of nail polish.

Launched in 2009, RGB, which takes it name from the color model in which red, green and blue light are mixed together to form all other colors, is Carney’s vision of a streamlined, sophisticated system of nail color that eschews cheeky names and a constant revolving door of seasonal collections for essentials and on-trend colors that all women can wear.

Never fear: Carney delivers every shade on the ROYGBIV color wheel  (that would be Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) down to the perfect nude. And with the same simplicity.

“RGB really aims for three things: modernize, simplify and beautify,” Carney said. “Each color we introduce is carefully curated [and] named  to represent the specific shade (i.e. Red, Steel, Slate). It’s all about the color for us.”

RGB began with Carney’s essential 10 shades, which she describes as modern classics with a twist. The essentials include Red, Oxblood and Black — colors that are self-explanatory — and RGB10, a peach hue that’s a perfect pick for tips and toes come summertime. In addition to the classic ten, Carney releases more colors each season, and the brand now offers a total of 32 colors.

RGB Spring 2012: Fade, Dew, Vellum and Blonde on Blonde

RGB Spring 2012: Fade, Dew, Vellum and Blonde on Blonde

“This summer we’re gravitating towards pastels,” Carney said. “Pastels were all over the runways and spring/summer collections, and they translate perfectly to nails. We like them pale. Dew, Dove, and Punch — all gorgeous against summer skin.” The latest release, which includes a color called Blonde on Blonde, was created in collaboration with uber-hip L.A. boutique TENOVERSIX. It skips the neons and brights of other brands and opts for faded pastels that are modern and unique.

RGB also provides itself on its green philosophy and has dubbed itself “five free,” meaning that it is sans a handful of chemical nasties: formaldehyde, formaldehyde-resin, DBP, camphor and toluene.

HIPPxRGB Collection

HIPPxRGB Collection

So collaborations with model-turned-green nail artist Jenna Hipp were a natural, so to speak. Carney teamed with Hipp for a special line of nail tints and foundations in shades of nude.

“We were very proud to introduce HIPPxRGB. . . .  It’s a fool-proof nude nail color system, so far consisting of two collections: Nail Foundation and Nail Tints.”

The HIPPxRGB colection comes in four color ways, numbered one through four, with one being the fairest and four the darkest. think of it this way: The Nail Foundations are full-coverage opaques while Nail Tints are the sheer sisters.

RGB Polish

RGB Polish

As Carney continues to release colors and work with fashion’s top talent for the latest on-trend shades, she reminds her customers that the original 10 are the essentials for any woman, whether they want punchier colors or more classic neutrals and standbys.

“We want to offer colors for [everything from] women looking for bold [shades such as our Minty hue, subtle like our neutrals in a sheer-beige called Beach. Of course, for our classic ladies we’ve got the timeless reds like Crimson, Oxblood and, well . . . Red!” she said.

Ahh, and we thought simpler times were over!

RGB Nail Polish retails for $16 each and is available online at as well as select boutiques.

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Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.