Experts Agree: These Are the Best Nude Polishes for Every Skin Tone

Updated 01/15/19

In 2013, Christian Louboutin launched a collection of nude shoes spanning fair to dark, saying he believes every woman should have at least one pair of shoes that closely match her skin tone (though, if we're being frank, more shades are needed for a closer match for every woman's unique skin tone). "The shoes are there to give the woman an extra lift, not to take attention away from the legs and what she is wearing," the designer said in an interview with Glamour. "They disappear like magic and become a fluid extension of her legs, as in a sketch, elongating the silhouette." This same concept can and should be applied to nude polish.

"The key to finding a good nude for you isn't to find a match to your skin tone. It's to find a complement," says celebrity manicurist Miss Pop. "Look for a tinted pinky, peachy, sandy, or creamy nude. When in doubt, try a neutral like grey or beige, or their lovechild, greige." Miss Pop also recommends going lighter and brighter than your natural skin tone to highlight the richness of your color.

"You want something exciting. Nude does not just have to be beige; it can be anything," says celebrity manicurist Michelle Saunders. Nudes come in a range of different shades and tones, so finding the right one for you can seem overwhelming. That's why we asked Saunders for her input on which shades of nude polishes go best with specific skin tones.

Keep scrolling to see which nude polish matches best with your skin.

Dark to Deep Skin Tones

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Brown Nose - nude nail polish
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Brown Nose $8

Saunders believes a blend of beige, cream, and pink is perfect those with dark skin tones. You want to look for something that is opaque but still has coverage. Our pick is Sally Hansen's Brown Nose. Plus, with this long-wear formula, you'll get nails that won't chip for 10 days, which is pretty incredible.

Zoya Nail Lacquer in Bridgette $9

If you want a pinker tone, try this polish from Zoya. It's also toxin-free and vegan.

Next up, check out the fall nail art we can't wait to try.

Medium to Dark Skin Tones

Essie Wild Nude - nude nail polish
Essie Wild Nude $9

Saunders says a gorgeous light tan with a wash of white helps brings out the warmth in all skin tones, but especially in those who are tan. Her pick is Essie's Wild Nude.

Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer - Dear My Doe - nude nail polish
Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Doe My Dear $18

We love Smith & Cult for more than its really cool packaging. This shade brings out the warm tones in tan skin (like Saunders suggests) when trying to find the perfect nude. The end result: smooth coverage and high shine.

Fair to Medium Skin Tones

Jin Soon Nostalgia - nude nail polish
Jin Soon Nostalgia $18

Saunders says to look for an opaque, medium pinkish nude with a touch of coral. Our pick is Jin Soon's Nostalgia. It's a gorgeous pink beige that really elongates the fingers.

Chanel Les Vernis in Ballerina - nude nail polish
Chanel Les Vernis in Ballerina $28

This pinkish nude is such a lovely delicate color. Plus, it's long-lasting and gives off brilliant shine.

Pale to Fair Skin Tones

Essie Topless & Barefoot - nude nail polish
Essie Topless & Barefoot $6

Saunders says that a blend of beige and cream with a hint of the lightest pink complements lighter skin tones. Her pick is Essie's Topless & Barefoot.

Nail Lacquer 39 Sugar Dane - nude nail polish
Tom Ford Nail Lacquer 39 Sugar Dane $36

We love this neutral shade from Tom Ford that goes on pretty sheer, with a subtle hint of pink.

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