Nude Nails Are Back: Pros Weigh in on the Exact Shades You Need

Rachel Adler

Instead of the decadent nail art we obsessed over last year or the super-bright polish of seasons past, designers across the board—from Vera Wang to Emilio Pucci—opted for classic neutrals during the spring 2016 shows, giving models’ nails an understated, elegant finish.

To get you started, we talked to the best manicurists in the business to get the scoop on which nude shades they’re obsessed with now.


At Diane von Furstenberg, all eyes were on the larger-than-life beauty look that was inspired by an old portrait of Diane herself, and tying it all together was a clean, classic neutral polish that didn’t look too “done.”

Manicurist Michelle Saunders told us that an easy way to achieve the look is to apply one layer of neutral polish, as opposed to several thick coats. This will enhance your natural nail but still give you a chic bare effect. She used Essie’s Au Natural ($8.50) and then a clear top coat.


Interestingly, top coats have come back in a big way–but we’re not talking about using them over polish. Nail guru Miss Pop recommends using top coats as your polish but trying a matte or velvet version, such as Chanel Le Top Coat Velvet ($27), for a fun effect.

“The best nude nail polish for every skin tone is matte or velvet top coat,” says Miss Pop. “It lightens and brightens your nails. It makes your fingers look clean and buffed. The best part is that you don’t notice chips, it doesn’t matter how good your polishing skills are, and it dries in a couple minutes.”

emilio pucci nude nails

Emilio Pucci Photo: Luca Cannonieri

At Emilio Pucci, Keri Blair of MAC Cosmetics used MAC’s Studio Nail Lacquer in Delicate ($12) on simply buffed nails to lightly enhance—again, just one coat. The sheer, pale pink lets your natural nail shine through, instead of coming off too ballet.

neutral nail polish

And at Vera Wang, it was all about a creamy neutral polish that looked great on all skin tones. For the show, manicurist Jin Soon used Nostalgia ($18), which is from her own collection. And Martha Fekete, another manicurist, told us Next to Nothing by Nails Inc. ($15) is a must-have. She also suggests keeping nails short when going the nude route to make them  look “classic and elegant.”

MORE: The Best Fall Nail Polish Colors for 2015, Straight from the Pros