12 Best Nude Nail Polishes for Every Skin Tone

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Reasons why nude nail polishes are actually the unsung heroes of your shade collection: (1) Nude shades will never clash with what you’re wearing (unlike those bright spring nail colors you’re playing with now), (2) they’ll never scream, “Hey! I’m chipping!” when they inevitably peel after a few days, and (3) they’ll never leave behind a stain on your nails that takes three weeks to fade away. That being said, it’s obvi why everyone wants to find their perfect shade, and that’s why I’ve rounded up the 12 best nude nail polishes for every skin tone.

But first, I’m not gonna lie to you: It’s a heck of a JOB trying to find the best nude nail polish for your skin tone. Take it from someone who spends half their appointment at the nail salon picking out any ol’ regular color—now imagine trying to find one that works with your skin and its undertones. Pretty damn near impossible, huh?! But because everyone wants a nude nail polish uniquely suited for them, I found 12 of the best with alllllll skin tones in mind. But first, a sneak peek and your comprehensive guide to choosing the best nude nail polish for your skin tone and undertone straight from a pro below.

First things first, the cardinal rule of choosing a nude polish is to never—and I repeat, never—match the polish to the exact shade of your skin color. (Otherwise, you’ll end up with those dreaded “mannequin hands.”) Instead, go two shades darker or lighter than your skin color, and then find a shade with the same undertones as your skin.

If you’re out here like, huh?!! Don’t worry, we’ve got a full how to find your undertone guide, but here’s a quick TL;DR: Cool undertones have a pink or blue base, warm undertones have a yellow base, neutral undertones have a mix of both cool and warm bases, and olive undertones have a green base. Once you’ve got that figured out, then it’s time to keep your skin tone in mind:

“People with fair skin have blue and pink undertones,” says Choi. Look for neutral shades with pink hues to enhance your rosy undertones, or if you’re trying to neutralize redness around your fingers, look for milky, slightly peach shades.

“Peach shades skew warm because they’re a combination of pink and white tones,” Choi says. “Warm polish undertones and medium skin tones complement each other.” If you’re cool-toned, choose a soft gray or a nude polish with mauve undertones.

Go for warm beige shades, but avoid anything too pale as these shades can often clash with the yellow and green undertones in the skin. If you have cool or darker olive skin, go for a muted and dusty pink hue.

If you have warm undertones, play around with creamy almond nudes that’ll enhance the warmth in your hands. And if you’re working with cooler undertones, try rosy nudes to play off the blue tones in your skin. Neutral undertones or just not sure where to start? Try a medium-toned milky brown.

Avoid grayish beiges since they have a tendency to wash out deeper skin, Choi says. Deep, rich browns and colors with a hint of red or orange hues should be your go-tos because they will complement your undertone due to the warmth in both the polish and skin.

Now, remember, just because the shades that we’ve chosen are targeted for specific skin tones and undertones, there is a possibility that a polish can read completely different when you try it on because, well, we’re human and things work v differently on different people. In this situation, it’s all about trial and error.

So keep these tips in mind, and test out a few of our choices for the 12 best nude nail polish shades of 2022, but ultimately, remember: It’s going to come down to how it wears on your nails IRL and your personal preference, of course.

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