6 Rules For Finding The Perfect Nude Nail Polish For You

Janell M. Hickman
Photo Credit: Imaxtree


While we love nail art as much as the next risk-taker, there is something timeless about a nude manicure. Unfortunately, finding the right hue to match your skin tone can be a bit daunting. But don’t fret, we’ve consulted with five of our favorite nail experts to help you along the way. This fall, dare to go bare!

Rule 1: Determine Your Undertones
Just like clothing is rarely one-size-fits all, neither is nail polish. “A great starting point is to determine which of the major skin complexion categories you fall into: fair, medium, olive, or dark,” shares Liz and Ginger Johnson, the team behind Ginger + Liz Nail Lacquer. “People with the same skin color do not always have the same undertone.” How do you you figure out your undertone? Celebrity nail stylist Jenna Hipp recommends a simple fabric test to identify the right hue for you. “If you look better in white and black, you’re cool-toned,” she shares. “If you look better in brown and off-white, you’re warm-toned.”

MORE: The Best Nail Polish Brands at Every Price Point

Rule 2: Meet Your Match
Whether you want to opt for seamless “mannequin hands” or a shade that is simply complimentary, it all starts with the right color. “An easy trick to finding your color is to compare the nail color to your favorite foundation for you face,” shares shares RGB Cosmetics founder, Gina Carney. “Bring you foundation bottle to the salon or store to find your exact shade.”  Again, undertones play a big role. “For warm undertones, use nail color that have hints of  gold, orange, and red,” explains Sally Hansen Nail Ambassador, Traceylee. “Alternatively, those with cool undertones should stick to colors with undertones of pink, blue and yellow.”

Rule 3: Find The Right Finish
“A layer of shimmery polish is great to add when your manicure is starting to chip,” advises manicurist Alicia Torello. “Sheers are great for simple clean polished look.” Carney is a fan of using an opaque base to create your own custom hue. “Use two coats of opaque polish for a strong, severe nude. For something lighter, use the same opaque as a base to sheers or layer under a metallic for edge.”

Rule 4: Prep Properly
“The beauty of nudes-at-home, is they are often the easiest to accomplish on your own, and are subtle enough to hide imperfect paint jobs,” says Carney. Prep nails pre-polish by filing them in one direction, then gently buff away ridges to avoid uneven coats. “The most important step in a long lasting manicure is to make sure your nails are free of natural oils, nail polish remover residue, soap, oils, and lotion before you apply your base coat,” warn Pickett and Johnson.

Rule 5: Try A Little TLC
“A beautiful nude nail extends throughout the entire hand,” says Hipp. “Keep them super smooth and glowing by naturally re-surfacing the skin with an at-home hand exfoliator.” She shares her personal “recipe” exclusively with Beauty High readers, below.

Jenna Hipp’s Skin Smoothing Hand Scrub
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or GrapeSeed Oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E (cut open vitamin E liquid gel caps)
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract , optional (or your favorite citrus essential oil)
1 tablespoon honey, optional for dry skin
Directions: In a medium mixing bowl, combine oil, vitamin E and vanilla. Add the brown sugar and mix well.

Photo Credit: Imaxtree


Rule 6: Break The Rules
“The rules of nude and neutral are getting less constrained these days. You can have fun with nudes now, just like brighter colors,” says Carney. “Don’t be afraid to embrace the ‘new nudes,’ or shades with gray and lavender undertones,” says Pickett. “Neutral doesn’t always have to be sheer pink or ivory!”

Tell us, do you have any secrets about finding the perfect nude for your complexion? Share in the comments below!