There was a time when nude nail polish — much like Crayola‘s infamous and now-retired “Flesh” crayon — referred to exactly one color that overlooked all the many colors “nude” can mean. Thankfully, that era is over. The new nude polishes are definitely not a one-shade-fits-all proposition, and there are amazing options that run the full spectrum of skin tones.
Finding a nude polish the works well with your skin tone is easier than ever — but that doesn’t mean you have to find a perfect match, even if that’s easier than ever. “Don’t try to match your skin exactly, or else you’ll get the dreaded mannequin hands,” says nail artist Miss Pop. “Instead, look for a color that celebrates your skin’s undertones.”
And that color may surprise you. “Pale, creamy nude tones work well with medium skin tones because they highlight the inherent tan hue of the skin while providing just the right amount of contrast,” nail artist Jin Soon Choi tells Allure. Meanwhile, “Dark skin tones can handle the greatest variety of colors,” she says, citing rosy beiges as her favorite for dark skin.
We asked experts for their specific nail polish shade picks for fair, olive, medium, and dark skin tones. Check out 16 super pretty nude lacquers that complement your skin tone without calling for color compromises.
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