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How do I know what nail polish color suits me?

How do I know what nail polish color suits me?

Choosing the right nail polish color can be tricky. With so many options to pick from, how do you know which shades will look best on you? The nail polish color you choose should complement your skin tone and enhance your natural beauty. In this article, we’ll break down how to choose flattering nail polish colors for your skin tone, provide tips on which shades to avoid, and give recommendations on formulas and finishes that suit different complexions. Read on to learn all about picking the perfect nail lacquer hues to make your manicure pop!

Determine Your Skin’s Undertone

The first step in finding your ideal nail polish colors is identifying your skin’s undertones. Your skin can have a warm, cool, or neutral undertone. Here’s how to tell which one you have:

Warm Undertones

If your skin has yellow, peach, or golden hues, you likely have warm undertones. Those with warm complexions tend to tan easily in the sun. Veins appear greenish and you look great in gold jewelry.

Cool Undertones

Skin with pink, red, or bluish hues has cool undertones. Those with cool complexions burn easily in the sun. Your veins look blue or purple, and silver jewelry complements your skin.

Neutral Undertones

Skin with an even mix of warm and cool undertones is considered neutral. You tan moderately and look equally nice in both gold and silver jewelry. Your veins appear blue-green.

Once you’ve sorted out your skin’s undertone, use it as your guide for choosing complementary nail polish shades.

Best Nail Polish Colors for Warm Skin Tones

Those with warm undertones should stick to warm-toned nail lacquers. Here are the best polish colors for warm complexions:

  • Corals
  • Peaches
  • Yellows
  • Golds
  • Oranges
  • Reds with orange undertones
  • Bronzes
  • Coppers

These lively, saturated shades make warm skin glow. Go for creamy opaque cremes or glossy lacquers to let your sunny personality shine through on your nails!

Nail Polish Colors to Avoid with Warm Undertones

Steer clear of cool-toned polish colors, which can make warm skin appear washed out or ruddy. Stay away from:

  • Pinks
  • Purples
  • Blues
  • Greens
  • Silvers
  • Pastels

While beautiful in the bottle, these chilly shades won’t do your warm complexion any favors.

Best Nail Polish Colors for Cool Skin Tones

People with cool undertones look fabulous in cool-toned nail polishes. The best colors include:

  • Pinks
  • Mauves
  • Plums
  • Lavenders
  • Blues
  • Greens
  • Grays
  • Silvers

These polish shades play up the pink and blue hues in cool skin. Sheer, frosted, and metallic finishes also complement this complexion. Feel free to experiment with vampy dark shades as well!

Nail Polish Colors to Avoid with Cool Undertones

Avoid warm nail lacquers, which can make cool skin appear ruddy or overheated. Stay away from:

  • Oranges
  • Corals
  • Yellows
  • Golds
  • Reds with orange undertones
  • Neons

Though stunning, these fiery shades are too much of a color contrast against cool skin.

Best Nail Polish Colors for Neutral Skin Tones

Because neutral complexions have both warm and cool undertones, you can pull off both warm and cool polish colors! Feel free to experiment, but here are some universally flattering shades for neutral skin:

  • Light pinks
  • Nudes
  • Mauves
  • Plums
  • Corals
  • Reds
  • Browns
  • Classic reds

Neutral skin provides the perfect backdrop for these versatile nail lacquer shades. Play with different finishes like cremes, shimmers, and metallics to keep your manicure interesting.

Nail Polish Colors to Potentially Avoid with Neutral Undertones

There are no shades to completely avoid, but proceed with caution when using extremely warm neon oranges or very cool icy pastels. Still experiment, but look for warm and cool versions of colors to find the most harmonizing hues.

Choosing Nail Polish by Skin Tone

Use the below tables as quick guides for selecting the most flattering nail polish colors for your skin’s undertone:

Skin Undertone Best Colors Colors to Avoid
Warm Corals, peaches, yellows, golds, oranges, red-oranges, bronzes, coppers Pinks, purples, blues, greens, silvers, pastels
Cool Pinks, mauves, plums, lavenders, blues, greens, grays, silvers Oranges, corals, yellows, golds, red-oranges, neons
Neutral Light pinks, nudes, mauves, plums, corals, reds, browns, classic reds Avoid extremes like neon oranges or icy pastels
Skin Tone Most Flattering Nail Polish Colors
Fair/Porcelain Sheer pinks, mauves, plums, lavenders, soft corals, nude pinks, grayed blues
Light/Peach Corals, peaches, pinks, lavenders, red-oranges, apricots, rose golds
Light/Golden Warm yellows, oranges, corals, golds, olive greens, neutral browns
Medium/Beige Reds, pinks, corals, plums, mauves, classic red
Tan/Olive Burnt oranges, terra cotta, olive greens, neutral browns, camels, gold shimmers
Dark/Ebony Wine colors, deep plums, chocolate browns, bright blues, metallics, black

Nail Polish Shades to Make Hands Look Younger

Nails can show signs of aging just like the rest of your skin. Luckily, certain nail polish colors can help give the illusion of younger-looking hands:

  • Neutrals – Soft beige and blush nudes visually diminish age spots.
  • Pink – Sheer pink makes nails look less yellow, brightening hands.
  • Red – Clear, classic reds draw attention away from imperfections.
  • White – Crisp white tips make nails pop against skin.

Avoid dark vampy colors, which can draw attention to discoloration. Stick to neutral and soft shades to keep hands looking youthful.

Choosing Nail Polish Finishes

In addition to color, the finish of your nail polish makes a difference in complementing your complexion. Here are some popular finishes to consider:

  • Cream – These opaque polishes provide full coverage in a range of shades.
  • Sheer – Sheer, translucent polishes allow your natural nail to show through.
  • Glossy – High-shine glossy polishes reflect light and appear wet.
  • Matte – Matte polishes have a flat, velvety finish.
  • Shimmer – Shimmery polishes contain iridescent particles for a gleaming effect.
  • Metallic – Dense metallic particles give a chrome-like polish finish.
  • Frosted – A sparkling, frost-like finish lends a winter vibe.
  • Jelly – These translucent polishes have a squishy, jelly-like look.
  • Glitter – Bits of glitter provide pops of color and shine.

Play around with different textures and effects to enhance your nails’ appeal! Warmer skin tones can pull off glossy creams while cool complexions shine in frosty shades. Those with neutral skin have lots of versatility.

More Tips for Choosing Nail Polish

Keep these additional tips in mind when selecting your ideal lacquer shade:

  • If you have thin brittle nails, avoid dark colors which can make nails look smaller.
  • Short nails appear longer with nude and pink polishes.
  • Consider undertones of your hair and eye color as well.
  • Seasonal colors like neons for summer or berries in fall/winter are fun.
  • Pick a shade you love regardless of trends.
  • Don’t forget to reapply top coat to renew shine.

The most important rule is to have fun with your manicure and embrace colors that make you feel confident and beautiful! Don’t be afraid to get creative.


Finding your perfect nail polish match depends on determining your skin’s undertones and complementing them with flattering lacquer shades and finishes. Warm complexions shine in warm corals and bronzes. Cool skin pops with pretty pinks and blues. Neutral tones can rock both warm and cool colors. Avoid extreme shades that clash with your skin. Consider nail polish colors and textures that enhance your natural beauty, make your hands look youthful, and match your style. With so many gorgeous options, you’re sure to find shades that make your manicure dazzle!