We’ve seen an abundance of dazzling nail designs appear by now, from futuristic chrome nails and hypnotic aura nails to juicy “jelly nails”. And time and time again, after trying out vibrant or bizarre nail designs, we find ourselves going back to the basics and wanting to have a “my nails but better” look.
Enters the chic and sophisticated classic nude nails. You know someone’s got their life put together when they make the effort to have their nails look effortlessly glossy and flattering for their skin tone.
Before reaching out for your nude nail polish or booking your next nail appointment, think about what nude shades will complement your skin tone the best. There are many nail polishes with different undertones and knowing which colours fit you best will enhance and bring out your nude nails.
Finding the best nude nail colour based on your skin tone
Just like how you’d pick the right shade for your makeup foundation or nude lipstick, there’s an artistic strategy to choosing a nude nail polish that will be flattering for your skin tone.
Most of us would have thought that we ought to pick a nude that will mirror the colour of our fingertips, but that might end up making our nails look washed out. Unless you’re going for a natural nail look, then we’d suggest using clear or almost translucent nail polish for that added sheen.
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According to celebrity nail artist Tom Bachik, the trick is to opt for a shade lighter or a shade darker than your actual skin tone. That’ll give “a subtle yet intentional vibe to your manicure”. However, the key is also to not restrict yourself to a particular shade. After all, nails are also about style, preference, having fun, and expressing yourselves!
We’ll definitely keep Tom’s advice in mind for our next mani-pedi session, as the pro has continuously done gorgeous and eye-catching nail designs for celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, Kerry Washington, Kim Kardashian, and Shay Mitchell.
Best nude nail colour for light skin tones
Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers
This award-winning polish from the cult-favourite Essie is an essential and iconic colour for all seasons. Your nails will be graced with a subtle and sheer finish and the enamel polish provides great durability.
Many manicurists are known to go for this nude nail polish when working with clients who have fair and light skin tones. Although, this shade is very versatile and can also look amazing on most skin tones — a must-have staple for your nail polish repertoire.
For those with lighter skin tones and cooler undertones, try Essie’s polish in Skinny Dip.
Essie Ballet Slippers retails for RM68.45 on Care to Beauty.
Essie Gel Couture in Sheer Fantasy
This colour might look way too bright in the bottle, but when put onto the nails it gives a sheer light pink tone. It brightens up and evens out the nail bed and doesn’t turn yellow (which sometimes happens when there’s a chemical reaction between the colourant and the nail bed).
What’s great is that it can also look good for medium to dark skin tones too!
Essie Gel Couture in Sheer Fantasy retails for RM92 instead of RM98 on Ubuy.
JINsoon Nail Polish in Dew
If you’ve been on #nailtok and seen nail designs on social media, you probably would have seen this viral milky nail polish by top runway artist and nail spa founder Jin Soon.
This dreamy sheer white is reminiscent of organza fabric and gives a lovely sheen to the nails. The nail polish is also 21-free, non-toxic, vegan-friendly, UV-protected, and formulated without harsh chemicals.
JINsoon Nail Polish in Dew retails for RM80 on Goxip.
Gucci Vernis à Ongles Nail Polish in Ellen Blush
Yet another go-to shade for fair skin, this blush-coloured polish from the French luxury brand is absolutely stunning and delivers a long-lasting gloss and shine.
With just one coat, any ridges and imperfections on your nail surface will be smoothened out. Plus, its plant-based formula and tailored brush allow for even, effortless application.
You can also try out this nail polish in the shade Annabel Rose, which is less pinkish and fits a range of skin tones.
Gucci Vernis à Ongles Nail Polish in Ellen Blush retails for RM159.59 at Nordstrom.
Best nude nail colour for medium skin tones
OPI Nail Lacquer in Bubble Bath
This sweet candy pink nail polish from OPI is one of the most popular choices. While it looks great on all skin tones, it’s said to be the most flattering on medium-toned skin.
The fast-drying formula offers a gentle shine and up to seven days of wear.
For a more nude-ish shade, go for Tiramisu for Two which looks almost like sweet coffee cream.
OPI Nail Lacquer in Bubble Bath retails for RM60 at Lazada.
CHANEL Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Organdi
Those with medium skin tones will find that nude colours with hints of pink or peach often look the best for them. And if you have pink undertones, CHANEL’s highly raved Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color carries a few beautiful nude shades, especially Organdi.
Enriched with bioceramics and ceramides, this long-wearing and high-shine polish provides deep care to strengthen and improve the quality of your nails over time.
CHANEL Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Organdi retails for RM145.09 on Nordstrom.
Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Naked
Beige doesn’t get any better than this. Aptly named, this sheer clean bare beige is also a great option for medium skin tones.
Deborah Lippmann’s award-winning nail polish is a healthy alternative to gel polish that is treatment-enriched — delivering the gloss and cushion of a gel manicure without any nail damage.
It doesn’t require any lamps or special tools, which means more easy at-home manicures for us all!
Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Naked retails for RM171.73 at Amazon.
Best nude nail colour for dark skin tones
Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Of Corset
Celebrity nail artist Betina Goldstein, whose A-list clients include Zoë Kravitz, Salma Hayek, and Rosamund Pike, loves this Essie nail polish for darker skin tones.
She shared with Who What Wear that other sheer nudes tend to have pink or white undertones that don’t match well for darker skin but this Essie colour “balances the nail-bed colour to the skin colour while still maintaining a sheer clean look”.
Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Of Corset retails for RM96.04 on Care to Beauty.
ZOYA Nail Polish in Kateri
This award-winning and vegan-friendly nail polish uses a Colour Lock System to surround the polish with a protective barrier against moisture, bubbling, and chipping.
Kateri’s colour, a warm milky light brown nude creme with soft orangey undertones, is as deep and luscious as the nail polish formula itself. The stunning shade also comes with a new wide and flat brush that makes application incredibly easy.
You can also try out the shade Dea, which comes highly recommended by celebrity nail artist Karen Gutierrez, who works with stars like Gina Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Zoe Saldaña, Eva Mendez, and Gabrielle Union.
Karen would suggest choosing colours that are one to two shades lighter or darker than our actual skin and picking a nude polish that has a slightly orange undertone.
ZOYA Nail Polish in Kateri retails for RM119.35 on Amazon.
CHANEL Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Particulière
This nude nail hue is nail artist Tom’s all-time favourite and we can definitely see why!
It has fuller coverage and an opaque effect. It’s also the perfect balance of deep beige and rich caramel. Not to mention the protective benefits of the Le Vernis collection, which will make investing in this polish a lot sweeter.
CHANEL Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Particulière retails for RM145.09 on Nordstrom.
How to elevate your nude nails
If you want chic but with an added flair, you can always add some bling to your nude nails, or make them chrome like Hailey Bieber’s viral glazed donut nails. If you’re feeling a bit more artsy, you can try out nude French tips.