Your guide to finding the best nude nail polish for your skin tone

Meghan Markle Wimbeldon

For the perfect manicure that never goes out of style

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / July 27 2018

There are few things in life that will never go out of style: a little black dress, a CHANEL suit and nude nail polish. And while we’ll leave the fashion choices up to you, we (and celebrity manicurist Jocelyn Petroni) can lend a helping hand when it comes to finding the perfect nude nail polish shade to suit your skin tone. It’s harder than it looks, after all – with certain hues looking too ashy on darker skin tones and others leaving paler skin washed out.

Without further ado, here’s how to choose the best nude nail polishes for your skin tone. 


Fair/light skin tones

“The trick with light skin tones is finding a polish that complements your skin, rather than competes with it or washes it out,” explains Petroni. Her top tip? Steer clear of beige nudes, as they can “look yellow and jar with your soft, rosy complexion”. Since fair skin generally has pink undertones, Petroni suggests sticking to sheer pinks and shades with a blue/cool base. 

Try: Mavala Nail Colour Cream in Wichita

Mavala Nail Colour Cream in Wichita


Medium/olive skin tones

If your skin falls in the medium or olive category, you can consider yourself lucky as a plethora of different nude shades will suit your complexion. “With a deeper pigment there is much more flexibility with colour choice, regardless of whether you have cool or warm tones,” explains Petroni. However, she recommends opaque nudes with sharp colour pigments, as the brighter hues will make your hands pop in contrast.

Try: Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Sugar Dune

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Sugar Dune


Dark skin tones

“Dark skin tones can carry off stronger and bolder nude polish colours, especially the more trend-led shades. Look for polishes with yellow or brown-based undertones,” says Petroni. “I am loving Essie’s bold greige shade, Chinchilly, to make this skin tone pop. Beige Beige [from] CHANEL’s Longwear Nail Colour [range] is my go-to nude for all skin tones dark enough to pull of this richly warm hue that complements the skin and brings out your summer glow,” she adds. 

Try: Essie Nail Colour in Chinchilly and CHANEL Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Beige Beige

Essie Nail Colour in Chinchilly and CHANEL Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Beige Beige

On the hunt for more manicure tips? Then discover everything you need to know about SNS nails and five easy ways to make your manicure last longer.

What’s your favourite nude nail polish colour? Let us know in the comments below.

Main image credit: Getty

Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.