Find Your Perfect Nude Nail Polish

Wendy Rodewald

Sick of your nails clashing with your outfit? Don’t have the patience for nail art? Good news: Nude nail polish feels fresher than ever this season, and there’s a flesh-tone to flatter every complexion.

Not only are nude nails on-trend, they “elongate the look of your fingers,” says Katie Hughes, Butter London Global Colour Ambassador, who’s created runway nail looks for designers like Altuzarra, Preen and Erdem. We rounded up our favorite naked shades, along with Hughes’ expert tips, to help you find your most gorgeous nude (or two!).

Nude nail polish

DO choose a nude that works with the warmth or coolness of your complexion.
“It’s very similar to picking a lip colour or blush,” Hughes explains. “Nude lacquers are like tinted moisturizer for the nails – you want a shade that complements your natural skin tone while giving a slight hint of colour.” A nude that’s too cool or too warm for your undertones will give you a washed out look.

DON’T think nude polish has to match your skin’s shade exactly.
“Matching a nude to your skin tone will give a very elegant and sophisticated look, but if you’re hoping for a bit more depth or a subtle hint of colour, I’d suggest finding a shade that provides a bit of contrast,” Katie says. Sometimes going a shade lighter or darker than your complexion can be more flattering.

DO adjust your hue.
If you don’t love the way a particular polish looks on you, all is not lost. “Shades can appear differently when layered or given a different top coat,” Hughes says. “For example, a nude shade may look one way with a glossy top coat but will have a completely different effect with a matte top coat.”

11 Nude Nail Polish Shades We Love

Warm nudes:
Chanel Nail Color in Beige ($27, has golden undertones with a subtle iridescent pink finish.
– Part of the Starkers spring nudes collection, Butter London Tea and Toast ($15, is a warm, medium tan cream.
Dolce & Gabbana Intense Nail Lacquer in Caramel ($24, lives up to its rich, sensuous shade name.
– If nudes are like foundation, Dior Vernis in Beige Lotus ($24, is blush for your fingertips. This shimmering dusty rose flatters all skin tones.

Neutral nudes:
– Fair skinned ladies can create monochromatic “mannequin hands” with MAC Nail Lacquer in Muscle Tone ($16,, a slightly cool pale beige.
– For deeper skin tones, Le Métier de Beauté Limited Edition Nail Lacquer in Hottie Choco-Latte ($18, is a beautiful neutral cocoa brown.
Revlon Colorstay Longwear Nail Enamel in Sandy Nude ($7.99, drugstores) is a medium-light true nude with a hint of warmth.

Cool nudes:
OPI’s Did You ‘Ear About Van Gogh ($9, is so cool, it’s basically “greige.”
– A grayish pale putty, Avon Nailwear Pro+ Nail Enamel in Barefoot Beige ($6, works for the fairest skin tones — or makes a cool contrast for deeper complexions.
– The shell pink of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Royal Blush ($7.99, is super soft and pretty.

Sheer nudes:
– Sheer beige Deborah Lippmann Naked ($17, has mauve-pink undertones.
Essie Au Natural ($8, has a beautiful sheen that’s like illuminator for your nails.

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