Selecting a nail color is always a challenge (#beautygirlproblems). When you’re in the mood for red, the search becomes especially trying. Because, like finding the right blush and the perfect eye makeup colors, red lacquer is hardly a one-size-fits-all situation. The slightest variation in essie’s Really Red and Fishnet Stockings can be the difference between a fabulous finish and feeling washed out. With a wall of nail polish and every red imaginable standing right in front of you, how are you supposed to choose the hue that looks like it was made just for you? By knowing what to look for, of course. Fashion manicurist Nia Cooper knows exactly what shades will flatter different skin tones and she’s giving us her expert tips for finding the very best reds.
best red nail polish for skin tone

Cool Skin Tones

Cool skin tones should look for blue-based reds. You can get away with richer, darker shades like burgundy and chocolate reds. But Cooper cautions against golden reds, bronzy reds and copper reds, which will clash with cool undertones.
Product Picks: Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer in Paint the Town, Lancôme Vernis in Love in Madame Tulipe, Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Jezebel
 

Warm Skin Tones

Go-to reds for warm skin tones should be tomato reds, auburn reds and chestnut reds. Cooper says to stay away from blue reds, true reds and particularly dark shades, as these colors tend to wash out warmer skin tones.
Product Picks: essie Geranium, L’Oréal Colour Riche Nail in Caught Red-Handed, Deborah Lippmann Crème Nail Lacquer in My Old Flame
 

Neutral Skin Tones

Neutral skin tones have more room to experiment with reds that have both warm and cool undertones, but Cooper recommends true reds. Choose an intense red—as intense as you can find.
Product Picks: RGB Cosmetics Red, Giorgio Armani Nail Lacquer in Teatro, essie A-List
 
Cooper left us with one last quick tip: because pink is a universally flattering color, pinky reds look amazing on all skin tones. Bought the wrong red? Mix in your favorite pink polish and you’ll have a pinky red that’s customized just for you.
 
Do you have a favorite red nail polish? Tell us your signature shade in the comments.
 
Photos: Maybelline, L’Oréal, essie, Deborah Lippmann, RGB Cosmetics, Giorgio Armani, Lancôme, Marc Jacobs Beauty