How to Match Nail Color to Skin Tone

How to Match Nail Color to Skin Tone


When it comes to tough beauty decisions, choosing a single nail polish color for your weekly manicure ranks right up there. Unless you’re paying extra $$$ for nail art, you’ve got to narrow it down to one shade—not exactly the easiest task for anyone who makes a habit of hoarding nail lacquer in their bathroom cabinets. An easy trick? Ensure you’ll like the color you choose by picking the best nail polish for your skin tone. We asked the experts and rounded up the best, eternally stylish polishes in shades from nude to blue to guide you on your way to manicure perfection.

Polish Colors for Your Skin Tone
Most Flattering Nail Polish Colors for Your Skin Tone

Light Skin Tones.

Behold the polish shades that will look divine on you! The trick with pale skin tones are finding polish shades that compliment, rather than competing with or washing out, your fair complexion. Here’s a special selection of hues to get you started.

Nude: Nude polishes constantly top the most popular lacquer lists, but picking out the right nude for you is definitely a trial-and-error process. Celebrity manicurist Elle, who works with stars like Blake Lively.

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Jennifer Lopez, says that those with fair skin tones—think

Emma Stone–should try a sheer pinkish nude rather than a beige, as she says that could show up yellow.

Red: Go for a classic color, like the red on the bottom of Christian Louboutin’s iconic shoes. It’s a color that Elle says will flatter everyone, even those with light skin tones. When shopping, though, make sure to hold your red polish up to the light. If you can see through it, you know it’s going to be sheer. Likewise, celebrity manicurist and nail guru Deborah Lippmann suggests going for a clean and cool blue-toned red to really make the most of pale complexions.

Pink: When it comes to pinks, those with light skin tones have a ton of options. Deborah says that fair skin can totally rock both sheer pinks or super bright fuchsias  with cool undertones.

Purple: For fair skin, Elle says that pastel lavenders look amazing, but to be wary of how much white the color has in it. Generally, you want to make sure it won’t look more white than lilac when it’s sitting against your skin.

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Blue: You may be tempted to go for that cobalt, but Elle says that if you have a light skin tone, navy is a fun option. In fact, it’s another that works especially well if you have a warm undertone. “I would say that this color is almost universal,” she says. “Navy goes so great on anyone’s skin tone, you can’t get it wrong.”

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