The Right Nude Polish for Your Skin Tone

Finding the perfect nude shade for your skin tone can be like finding a diamond in the ruff. With so many seemingly similar polishes it can be hard to distinguish which nude is the one for you. But fear not, there are a few rules that will help you find your nude polish soul mate.

Keep in mind even with this guide finding a good nude can be tricky. Often the shade looks different on your nail than in the bottle, so any chance you get try before you buy. Often nude polishes change as they dry, so take your time and apply two thin coats rather than clumping one heavy one.

So, here's our guide to finding the perfect nude polish for your skin tone!

Nude Nail Polish by Skin Tone



Look for sheer-finish shades with a hint of pink. Pink is the best neutral for fair skin tones because it supports the pink and blue undertones in your skin. Avoid polishes with anything remotely yellow if your skin has cool or blue undertones. Ivory or champagne undertones can also really help you if you’re on the lighter end of the skin tone spectrum.

Another option for fair skin tones is to go for an opaque blush polish. This can flatter those pink or blue undertones in your skin, but also gives more coverage.

If you want to have some fun with your nude try adding clear pink or purple shimmer to your base coat. This will give you an added shine without taking away from your pretty pale skin.


Jinsoon Nail Lacquer Muse / Essie Not Just a Pretty Face / Essie Fed Up / Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Fluorescent Beige / Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Blance





If you’ve got medium skin tone, just darker than your fairest friends, but not quite as tan as your olive skinned friends, go for a lighter cream color polish. Medium skin tones really respond well to pinky beige tones. Green veins often stand out harshly on medium skin tones, so a good beige polish with distract from those and give your hands a soft, young look.

If you’re not so into pink polish you can also reach for a brown beige. Again beware of yellow undertones - this will only bring out yellow undertones in your skin that are often unflattering.

Again feel free to add a sheer shimmer on top of your base coat for a little pizazz. This little coat of shimmer can also help to mask damage and chipping - double win!


Essie Au Natural / Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer in Safari Beige / Sonia Kashuk Nail Colour in Sugar Rush / Bobbi Brown Shimmer Nail Polish / Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Brown Nose / OPI Nail Polish in Bubble Bath





A lighter shade with cool undertones will really help olive skin tones look vibrant. A good option for olive skin tones is a nice peachy nude. This will make your skin glow because it brings out your warm undertones. You can also reach for anything with sepia, sienna, or terracotta undertones.

Pale, creamy beige nudes work really well with olive and darker medium skin tones because they highlight the innate tan hue of your skin, but also provide a good amount of contrast.

Keep in mind if you have olive skin you want to enhanced your tan with these colors, not wash it out. So try to avoid choosing a nude that matches your skin tone exactly, this is the easiest way to wash out your skin and create an unnatural effect.


Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Nude Now / Sephora by OPI Give Peach a Chance / OPI Nail Polish Lacquer in Warm Peach Tan / Maybelline Express Finish Nial Polish in Blushing Bride / Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color in Beige Blast





The reality of it is when it comes to polish if you have dark skin, you’ve got options. Dark skin tones can handle a wide variety of colors. You could go for a rosy beige color that will contrast, but also highlight the nice rose tones in your skin tone. Dark skin tones also benefit from the use bronze beige polishes. Another fun way to rock a nude if you have dark skin is to reach for coffee colored nudes like cocoa, mocha, or mahogany.

Unlike other skin tones, darker skin tones can even benefit from choosing a polish that matches their skin tone exactly. Think of it like a foundation - when you find the exact color of your skin the polish can have an elongating effect for your hands and fingers.

In reality there are many shades of nude that work well with dark skin tones, but as a rule of thumb if you have a dark skin tone you should try and avoid grey beige colors. Grey has a history of washing out beautiful dark skin, so beware!


Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer in Beige Leger / Mineral Fusion Nail Polish in Rose Quartz / Lorac Lip Polish Kiss Burnt Rose with Shimmer / Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Madame / Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer Bark



What are your favorite nude polishes? Comment below!

About the Author
Imani R.
Imani R.
@Influenster Social Media Strategist. Brunch enthusiast. Mom to Gemma. #GemmaFromAbove @nycbreakfastclub