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The Best Nude Nail Polish for Every Skin Tone

Finding the perfect nude takes time, no matter the category – bras, shoes, lipstick, and palettes included. I think it took me two full years to find my perfect nude lippy, (shout out to Fleshy Lips in the shade “Hungry” ), but with makeup, it’s relatively easy to play around with different natural-looking shades and still have them blend with your skin color and undertones.

Nude nail polish though? That’s a whole different ballgame. So many brands are touting nude shades, with everything from rich pink to gray to sand tones, and because it’s not always easy to tell a shade’s true color from the bottle, finding the perfect nude is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Too, there’s another layer if you have deep or dark skin, because we all know the beauty industry could be a lot more inclusive with shade offerings.

So, what’s the key to finding your holy grail nude without too much stress? Well, you don’t necessarily want a shade that’s your exact skin tone, but more something that compliments your complexion and elevates your overall ~look~. That means there’s room to choose light and bright colors and still have them work!

If you’re shopping for the perf nude, I’ve listed out all my recommendations below, with nudes for every skin tone.

Fair Skin

Fair skin tends to have cool pink undertones, and the best way to complement your natural hue is with even more pink. Picking a sheer shade allows your natural nail bed to peek through for an absolutely gorgeous finish. Some promising options include Ballet Slippers ($9) and Mademoiselle ($9) by Essie. 

Having a paler nude shade makes your nails look more youthful and natural. A less opaque color creates the illusion of bright, naturally shiny nails. Who doesn't love a good beauty illusion?

Medium Skin

To complement medium skin tones, I suggest a light pink nail color with a slight beige tint. Anything too yellow will bring out your undertones too much, so opting for a pink color can allow your complexion to balance out nicely with your nails. My recommendations would be the OPI shade Samoan Sand ($11) from the "I'm Not Really a Waitress Nail Lacquer" collection and the shade Rue ($9) from the Zoya Nail Lacquer collection. 

These shades are good for any skintone really, but for medium skin, these beige, pink shades can enhance your natural skin tone. These understated shades pair well with any outfit color combos to relieve the stress of choosing a nail color that won't clash with what you wear. 

Dark Skin

If you have dark skin and want a color that is neutral but doesn’t completely blend into your skin, choose a rosy, brown color. A rosy shade makes the nail look fun and provides a good contrast. My recommendations include the Zoya Nail Lacquer in the shade Jonie ($10) and the shade In Stitches ($9) from Essie. 

Deep Skin 

Colors here can range from a sheer neutral like Au Natural ($9) by Essie and Bare My Soul ($10.50) from the "Always Bare for You" Nail Lacquer Collection by OPI, or something more opaque and brown like TBT ($11) from the Nail INC Life Hack Personality Collection from Sephora. . 

Because the nail beds tend to be lighter than the rest of the skin, having darker skin with a lighter nail bed can be complemented by a variety of shades. It's up to you to decide which tone suits your style and mood. If you're in the mood for a more natural look, the go for a lighter, more sheer color. If you're looking for something more opaque to hide your natural nail, then a dark brown shade will be perfect for you. 

Your mani just got so next-level, you’re welcome.

The Her Campus National Editors write about products we love and think you’ll love too. Her Campus has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. All products are in stock and all prices are accurate as of publication.

Loralyn Narvaez is a California Native who previously attended UWB. Although she currently lives back in California, she served as Head Writer for the chapter publishing articles and writing her own. She recently graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and a Business minor and was Campus Correspondent for HC UCSD. She is currently attending CSU Fullerton pursuing her Master's Degree in Communications. Her interests include cosmetics, fashion, food, literature, linguistics, and Asian culture.
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