There are a few trends out there that we can safely say will never go out of style: a Chanel suit, red lipstick and the little black dress (LBD). On the beauty front, nude nail polish is a look that has some serious staying power. There’s truly something to be said about a shade that works for every season and any occasion.
However, like red lipstick, blush and foundation, nude nail polish comes in a variety of textures, hues and finishes. So which nude is the perfect match for your skin tone? Well, we created a complete guide to the nude polish shades that’ll work best for you and your lovely undertones. Take a look and get ready to go nude.
Fair/Light Skin Tones
You know you have fair skin if even the sight of the sun makes you start to burn. As for light skin (yes, it’s different), your tone is still fair but with more yellow or beige undertones.
Because of your lighter, cooler-toned skin, white or beige nudes should be avoided, as they can wash you out (and get lost on your fingers!). The key to rocking nude the right way is to allow it stand out — we know, this sounds a bit counterintuitive to the word “nude,” but it’s the truth. Sheer pink shades are the best way to go as they add a touch of warmth and contrast to your pale skin. Think: blush or soft rose.
Your best nude nail polish options:
Essie Nail Color in Ballet Slippers: There’s a reason this little number has been the brand’s best-seller for years and has won countless beauty awards. The pale pink shade works wonders on any skin tone and nail shape, making it a staple in every salon and beauty drawer (including ours)!
Essie Nail Color in Bare With Me: This warm apricot takes your natural nail hue up a notch. It has the slightest cast of gray that keeps in neutral and less orange.
Medium/Olive Skin Tones
Medium skin has a beige or light tan shade to it, with yellow or golden undertones. Olive has a bit more warmth than medium tone and has more brown and/or green undertones to it.
When it comes to nude polishes, make sure you avoid soft browns or warm mauves as they will blend into your skin tone. Go the lighter/brighter route with pinkish nudes that lean on the cooler side. If pink isn’t your thing, try pale taupes or light beige shades to get the perfect nude. Check out the shades that fit your medium/olive skin to a tee.
Dark-skinned complexions range from copper and espresso tones to dark brown and ebony.
When searching for the perfect nude nail polish, it’s safe to say most shades are gonna flatter your tone. And while light and bright shades offer a nice contrast, rich, dark nudes are totally dreamy (and they won’t wash you out!). Try deep taupes, dark browns, warm roses, etc. Think warmth. Here is some color inspo for your deep, lovely skin tone.
Your best nude nail polish options:
Essie Nail Color in Eternal Optimist. This spicy rose shade features a nice shiny finish that gleams and sparkles perfectly. You’ll literally become a glass-half-full person immediately after applying this fun, shimmering polish.
Essie Nail Colors in Truth or Bare and Picked Perfect: The first, a rich cinnamon brown with a hint of red adds a sexy depth to nails, while the second shade, a caramel brown, has just a touch of red-violet.
The Nude Nail Rundown
Applying nude nail polish may seem like a no-brainer process. But, according to the pros, it still requires a little finesse. In addition to picking the right shade, there are some key rules of thumb to follow. Check out these tips:
Steer Clear of the Cuticle: “Whenever I apply nail polish, I always avoid the cuticle area and if I do get a little polish on the skin, I wipe it off immediately,” says nail artist Mimi Wilson, a.k.a. “Mimi D.” Another easy way? Dip a cuticle brush in nail polish remover and use it to brush over the paint on your skin till it’s gone.
Triple Up: “When I use nude nail polish, I like to apply it in two thin coats, and one thicker, to avoid any streaking,” says nail artist Reina Santos. “I usually apply three coats to achieve opacity. The third coat is applied a little thicker to even everything out. I also use a generous amount of top coat to smooth out the polish.”
Moisturize the Nails: Because your nails are gonna be about as naked as can be (literally), your hands will be on full display, so make sure you’re keeping them looking healthy and hydrated. That means your cuticles need to be in check. Invest in a cuticle oil or lotion like The Body Shop Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil and keep it in your purse or desk for reapplications throughout the day.
Nude Nail Effects
News flash: Nude does not equal boring. There are quite a few different directions you can go with neutral nails that will still be flawless and stunning. Here are a few ways to mix things up.
Go Matte: There’s a reason matte has been the “it” finish for the past few years. Although the complete opposite effect to its glittery, creamy counterparts, shineless finishes still make quite an impact. Matte top coats (like Essie Matte About You) offer a chic, clean finish that is far from boring, especially when paired with an equally clean polish like nude.
Go Glitter: The ‘90s are back in all their flashy glory, and with them, comes the revival of glitter. And we’re talking glitter EVERYTHING: lips, cheeks, shadow and, that’s right, nails. If you want to jazz up those nude digits, try a fun glittery top coat like Essie Luxe Effects in Sparkle On Top.
Go Gel: Now that we’ve sufficiently convinced you of the versatility and general timelessness of a nude nail, you probably want to rock them all the time, right? Well, if you’re like us, and you want to make neutral digits a constant fixture in your routine, you should invest in a long-lasting formula. And what’s more long-lasting than gel nail polish? Lucky for us, brands are now making it easy to get these chip-resistant, durable polishes for home use! Try a formula like L’Oréal Paris Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque 1-2-3 like Diamond in the Buff to keep the nude times going.
Go Negative: Negative space manicures are a great way to show off your artsy side (not to mention your nail design skills!). Nude nail polish is an ideal component in negative manis, especially when combined with cute, whimsical art, like this flirty Moon Over Paris. So, get ready to whip out the nail art brush and enjoy your new digits.
Draw on Them: Dust off your drawing skills by adding some fun little effects to your nude digits. Polka dots, flowers, stripes — whatever way you wanna go, go for it! Invest in a nail art pen like The Body Shop Nail Art Pen that allows you to make a work of art with any polish, decor or texture.
What’s your go-to nude nail polish? Sound off in the comments below!