The 10 Best Neutral Nail Colors That Work for Every Skin Tone

Sometimes, a flattering color is hard to find.

Nail polish is one of the simplest ways to make a statement; it can change your mood, make you feel glamorous, or remind you of your favorite vacation spot.

I love getting manicures — they make me feel like I'm putting a fancy outfit on my hands. The one thing that gets me is the vast array of nail polishes available. I can never decide which color to go with.

We all have different skin colors and undertones, and sometimes it can be hard to find a shade of nail polish that suits you. I've certainly had a few unflattering manicures where the color looked great in the bottle and bad on my nails. So, what are the rules when it comes to finding a color that suits your skin tone?

"There are no rules to color and you should one-hundred-million-kajillion percent wear whatever colors bring a smile to your face," says celebrity manicurist Rachel Messick. "I also understand that finding an amazing real-life human-toned neutral nail polish can be a challenge."

Below, Messick shares a few of her favorite nail polishes for different skin tones.

Hand model shows fingernails painted with a neutral pink color
Chelson Tamares/Unsplash
01 of 10

ORLY Breathable Treatment + Color Nail Polish: Nourishing Nude

Product shot of ORLY Breathable Treatment + Color Nail Polish in Nourishing Nude

Two coats of this all-in-one polish and treatment will have your nails looking perfect for days without the hassle of a base or topcoat. "This is my go-to color on set for clients of all skin tones," says Messick. "It's the perfect balanced, semi-sheer beige tone and looks great on everybody."

02 of 10

Essie Gel Couture: Of Corset

Product shot of Essie Gel Couture nail polish in Of Corset

This sheer nude gel nail polish is complemented with subtle warm chestnut tones and has luxurious long wear. "It's the perfect peachy neutral with just a hint of warmth," says Messick.

03 of 10

ORLY: Coffee Break

Product shot of Orly nail polish in Coffee Break

This polish is packed with a rich pigment that provides a two coat coverage every time. "Apply this semi-sheer brown, to give a uniform and lengthening vibe for deeper skin tones," says Messick.

04 of 10

Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer: Mind Your Mani

Product shot of Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer in Mind Your Mani

If you're looking for a color that is close to your natural nail shade but has a bit of a sheen, Mind Your Mani is the perfect, barely there, milky pink. Messick says she loves to use this as a base for classic French manicures.

05 of 10

Butter London Sheer Wisdom Nail Tinted Moisturizer: Deep

Product shot of Butter London nail polish in Deep

"This brown looks absolutely gorgeous on cool and warm deep complexions," says Messick. The all-in-one tinted moisturizing polish protects nail integrity while delivering natural, healthy-looking nails.

06 of 10

Cirque Colors: Linen

Product shot of Cirque Colors nail polish in Linen

"This fabulous, sheer bone white is a beautiful polish for brightening up the hands without adding too much color," says Messick. The subtle shade that can be worn alone or as a base for some colorful nail art.

07 of 10

Misco Beauty Nail Lacquer: Worthy

Product shot Misco Beauty Nail Lacquer in Worthy

This peachy-rose, chip-resistant polish delivers durability, high shine, and quality pigment for nails you can feel good about—without harmful ingredients. "It's a great bright sheer polish that you can layer for more impact," says Messick.

08 of 10

J. Hannah: Ghost Ranch

Product shot of J. Hannah nail polish in Ghost Ranch

This lush brown pulls inspiration from artists' palettes and natural elements like red rock to provide a super chic color with a high-quality finish.

09 of 10

Static Nails Liquid Glass Lacquer: You Make Me Blush

Product shot of Static Nails Liquid Glass Lacquer in You Make Me Blush

This breakthrough formula is loaded with rich pigments and natural antioxidants that provide a healthy manicure. "Apply this pristine semi-sheer neutral rose to bring out the natural blush tones," says Messick.

10 of 10

Essie: Cliff Hanger

Product shot of Essie Nail polish in Cliff Hanger

This milky-brown neutral nail polish with pink undertones is the perfect color for a natural look with a high gloss finish.

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