The Best Red Nail Polish for Your Skin Tone

February 25, 2021
Marisa Petrarca
By: Marisa Petrarca | by L'Oréal
The Best Red Nail Polish for Your Skin Tone
Selecting a nail polish color is always a challenge, especially if you’re looking for the perfect red shade. Just like finding your perfect shade of blush or red lipstick, red nail polish is hardly a one-size-fits-all situation. While one shade of red nail polish might lend itself to a fabulous finish, another shade has the potential to make your skin look washed out; it all depends on your undertones. That’s why we reached out to manicurist Mia Cooper to find out what shades of red flatter different skin tones. Get her expert tips, ahead.

The Best Red Nail Polish for Cool Skin Tones


Cool skin tones should look for blue-based red nail polishes. You can get away with richer, darker shades like burgundy and chocolate reds, but Cooper cautions against golden, bronzy and copper reds because they can clash with your cool undertones. Try Essie Berry Naughty.

Essie Nail Polish in Berry Naughty

The Best Red Nail Polish for Warm Skin Tones

Go-to red polishes for warm skin tones should be tomato, auburn and chestnut. Think: Essie Not Red-y for Bed. Cooper says to stay away from blue reds, true reds and particularly dark shades, as these colors tend to wash out warmer skin tones.
Essie Nail Polish in Not Red-y for Bed

The Best Red Nail Polish for 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. We like the Olive and June JG.
Olive and June Nail Polish in JG

The Best Red Nail Polish for All Skin Tones

Because pink is a universally flattering color, pinky reds look great on all skin tones. Bought the wrong red? Mix in your favorite pink polish and you’ll have a pinky red that’s custom-made just for you. A bright pink shade that will complement everyone and is perfect for the upcoming warmer seasons is the Sundays No. 12: Fuchsia Pink.
Sundays Nail Polish in No. 12: Fuchsia Pink
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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