Unless you’re down to go through a bottle of acetone applying and then removing nail polish, you’re probably looking for a hack that makes finding the most flattering nude polish for your skin tone a bit easier. Luckily, after talking to some nail pros, we have a few.
Choosing your nude polish is a lot like shopping for foundation. Your complexion and your undertones have a lot to do with what color looks best. The first step, according to editorial manicurist Rica Romain, is to identify your skin tone if you haven’t already, and then determine your undertones. She says you can do this by looking at the undersides of your wrists. "If your veins are blue, you have a cool undertone, and if your veins are green, you are warm."
Got that? Now, Romain recommends following these skin tone/polish guidelines. Women with very fair skin and cool undertones, she explains, tend to look good in nude polish shades with a hint of pink, as this offsets any redness in the skin or cuticles. Some of her favorites include JINsoon Nail Lacquer in Nostalgia ($18; nordstrom.com) and Zoya Nail Polish in Pandora ($9; ulta.com).
She says that most nudes are flattering on medium skin tones, but those with yellow undertones in their skin should big a bolder and avoid polish with yellow undertones. OPI Nail Lacquer in Dulce de Leche ($6; walmart.com) gets her stamp of approval.
Women with olive complexions, she notes, should try deep beiges, while cinnamon-brown skin tones should try milky brown polish. "Medium brown women look classic in browns with a bit of red, and darker colored skin slay in shades of dark chocolate with a bit of mauve. Also, nude polish no longer means conventional. It doesn’t have to be opaque."
One of her favorite polish shades for dark skin tones is Zoya Nail Polish in Nyssa ($10; zoya.com).
Want a short cut? This might be the quickest trick of all time. Romain says to look to your naked nail bed as a guide. "A nude polish that matches your nail bed will most likely match your skin tone," she notes.
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You can also look to the outer edge of your lip, says Liliana Pennington, Director of Education for LONDONTOWN nail polish. "Matching your outer lip instead of your skin tone will help you choose a flattering color that's just a shade darker and won't make you look washed out," she says.