Show Off These Nudes! The Best Neutral Nail Polishes for Every Skin Tone

September 29, 2021
By: Angela Melero | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
Our Favorite Nude Nail Polishes to Complement Every Skin Tone
There are a few beauty trends that will never go out of style — and nude nail polish is one of them. No matter how many nail art trends and manicure styles come and go, nude polish and neutral nails have staying power because of their versatility — there's a shade that works for every season and occasion. From sheer pinks to natural, rich browns, there’s a perfect nude polish for you. Keep reading for a complete rundown on the best nude polish for every skin tone below.

Nude Nail Polish for Deep and Dark Skin Tones

While light and bright shades offer a nice contrast, rich, dark nudes look dreamy and natural against your fingers. We recommend looking for deep taupes, dark browns and warm roses. 

Essie Expressie Remote Friends

This Essie shade is a quick-drying sienna brown that offers just enough contrast and warmth.


Nails Inc Keep It Tonal Nail Collection

This nail set comes in a satisfying gradient of four rich nude-based hues for those with darker skin tones. Wear just a single shade or all together for an ombré manicure.

Nude Nail Polish for Dark Skin Tones

Nude Nail Polish for Medium and Olive Skin Tones

Medium skin tones typically have yellow or golden undertones so it’s best to go the lighter, brighter route with pinkish nudes that lean on the cooler side. For the perfect sheer polish, look for pale taupes or light beiges.


Essie Bare With Me

With an apricot tone and a gray cast, this shade lands on the cooler side and complements medium and olive skin for stunning nude nails.


Paintbox Nail Lacquer Like Mystery

This sandy shade puts a twist on your standard neutral nail polish color. The slightly pink, milky hue makes it complementary to all skin tones, especially medium and olive.

paintbox like mystery, essie bare with me

Nude Nail Polish for Fair and Light Skin Tones

White or beige nudes should be avoided as they can wash out lighter skin tones. The key to rocking nude the right way is to allow it to stand out in contrast to your complexion. Sheer pink shades are the best way to go as they add a touch of warmth to your fingertips. 


Essie Ballet Slippers

There’s a reason why this has been an Essie nail polish best-seller for years. The pale pink shade works wonders on any skin tone and nail shape, making it a staple in every salon and beauty drawer.


Aila Make Him Wait a Day

This opaque blush pink hue is subtle but still gives the look of a clean, crisp and classic nude manicure. It’s the perfect barely-there color with just a touch of shine.

essie ballet slippers, alia make him wait a day

Tips For the Perfect Nude Manicure

Applying nude nail polish may seem like a no-brainer, but according to the pros, it still requires a little finesse. In addition to picking the right shade, there are a few key rules you should follow to achieve the best neutral nail finish.  

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. Another easy way to fix mistakes is to dip a cuticle brush in nail polish remover and use it to brush over the paint on your skin.

Triple Up

“When I use nude nail polish, I like to apply it in two thin coats and one thicker one, 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 going to be about as naked as can be, your hands will be on full display. Make sure you’re keeping them looking healthy and hydrated by massaging a cuticle oil, like the Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil, into your nails every day.  

Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson

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