How To Pick A Nail Polish Color? – These Are The 4 Most Flattering Shades for Each Skin Tone!

by Stephanie Yankova

You decided to give a trendy nail polish color a try, and you ended up hating it. Why did that happen? Why does it look so good in the photo but so unflattering on my skin? The answer is very simple – it doesn’t match your skin tone! No more regrets – here’s how to pick a nail polish for your complexion for a flawless manicure every single time!

skin tone undertone complexion guide fair light medium dark

How do I Know What’s My Skin Tone?

Your skin color is what we also call a “surface” skin color. It tends to change depending on the climate, UV light exposure, health conditions, and other external factors. There are 4 main types of skin tones:

  • Fair – This is the lightest skin tone shade. People with this complexion usually have light-colored hair and their skin burns incredibly easily when exposed to the sun.
  • Light – People with a light complexion are also quite pale. However, they may have darker features (hair, eye color) and tan easily when exposed to the sun.
  • Medium – Those with a medium skin tone appear tanned all year round. However, their faces tend to be rather pale without much natural color in the cheeks.
  • Dark – The dark skin tones are incredibly rich in melanin. These are the deepest complexion shades from caramel to deep ebony.

If you find it difficult to determine your precise skin tone, there is a very simple hack you can try at home! Just take a look at your jawline as this is the area of the face that is least affected by skin and environmental conditions. This is where you can best see your “true” complexion and pinpoint its exact shade. You can either do that by looking in the mirror or by taking a picture. Just make sure that you’re examining your skin under natural light!

skin undertone guide cool warm neutral best manicure nail polish colors


What is My Skin Undertone?

First off, what even if an undertone? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like! If your skin tone is the surface skin color, the undertone is the secondary shade that lies underneath it. While your skin tone can change due to sun exposure, chemical peels, and other external factors, your undertone remains constantly the same. Knowing your undertone is incredibly useful for building a unique color palette that suits your specific complexion. This goes not only for nail polish, but clothing, jewelry, makeup, and even hair color! There are 3 main undertones:

  • Cool – A skin that has pink, red, or blue underlying hues.
  • Warm – Noticeable yellow, peachy, or golden hues.
  • Neutral – Skin with an olive tint or gray hues.

If you’re not familiar with your skin’s undertone, here’s an easy hack that will help you determine it:

  • Take a blank white sheet of paper and hold it up against your face.
  • If your skin appears with a yellow hue, you have a warm undertone.
  • If it looks red or pink, you have a cool undertone.
  • In a case where it appears blue, green, or gray tinted, you have a neutral skin undertone.

How to Pick a Nail Polish Color That Suits Your Skin Tone?

picking nail polish color skin tone simple guide

No more aimless color picking at the nail salon! Save yourself some time and trouble by becoming familiar with the most suitable colors for your specific skin tone! This will guarantee you a flattering manicure every single time that accentuates your hands in the best way possible!

Read also: Which Summer Pedicure Colors to Avoid? – The 8 Worst Nail Polish Shades for Your Skin Tone!

For Cool Undertone

best nail polish colors cool skin undertone nude milky brown lavender taupe

Creamy nudes, pastel shades of pink and purple, and milky brown are some of the most flattering nail polish shades for people with a cool undertone. For an elegant and minimalist appearance, you can try sheer nude, lavender, taupe, or mocha brown. Avoid white nail polish, as well as pastel and dark shades of blue, green, and yellow.

Read also: Taupe Nails or the Ideal Trendy Manicure for the Cold Season

For Warm Undertone

best nail polish warm skin undertone soft pink mauve copper metallic rose gold

Warm undertones have a yellowish hue, so you should aim to avoid dark, orange, and yellow nail polishes. They will make you appear sickly and washed out. The most flattering shades for you to wear are soft pink, mauve, copper metallic, and rose gold!

For Neutral Undertone

best nail polish color neutral skin undertone peachy orange caramel burgundy navy blue

Pretty much any nail polish color suits people with a neutral undertone, which is a great advantage! However, some of the most appealing nail polish colors you can wear to accentuate your hands are peachy orange, caramel, burgundy, and navy blue. Avoid pastel blue and gray, as they can give your nails an unkept and unflattering appearance.

Read also: August Nail Colors 2023: The TOP 15 to Send Off Summer Season with a Trendy Manicure

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