Here Are the Best Neutral Nail Colors That Work for Every Skin Tone

Nail polish is one of the simplest ways to make a statement; it can change your mood, make you feel glamorous, or remind you of your favorite vacation spot.

I, myself, love getting manicures, they make me feel like I'm putting a fancy outfit on my hands, but one thing that gets me is the vast array of nail polishes available: I can never decide which color to go with. There's simply too much choice.

We all have different skin colors and undertones, and sometimes it can be hard to find a shade of nail polish that suits your skin tone — I know I've certainly had a few unflattering manicures; let's just say the color looked great in the bottle and bad on my nails.

So, what's the rules when it comes to finding a color that suits your skin tone? "There are no rules to color and you should one-hundred-million-kajillion percent wear whatever colors bring a smile to your face. I also understand that finding an amazing real-life human toned nude nail polish can be a challenge," says celebrity manicurist Rachel Messick.

Below, Messick shares a few of her favorite flattering nail polishes for different skin tones.

VIDEO: 11 Nail Polish Colors to Get You Through Winter

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ORLY Breathable Treatment + Color Nail Polish: Nourishing Nude

Two coats of this all-in-one polish and treatment will have your nails looking perfect for days without the hassle of a base or topcoat. “This is my go-to color on set for clients of all skin tones,” says Messick. “It’s the perfect balanced, semi-sheer beige tone and looks great on everybody.”

Essie Gel Couture: Of Corset

This sheer nude gel nail polish is complemented with subtle warm chestnut tones and has luxurious long wear. “It’s the perfect peachy neutral with just a hint of warmth,” says Messick.

ORLY: Coffee Break

This polish is packed with a rich pigment that provides a two coat coverage every time. “Apply this semi-sheer brown, to give a uniform and lengthening vibe for deeper skin tones,” says Messick.

Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer: Mind Your Mani

If you’re looking for a color that is close to your natural nail shade but has a bit of a sheen, Mind Your Mani is the perfect, barely there, milky pink. Messick says she loves to use this as a base for classic French manicures.

Butter London Sheer Wisdom Nail Tinted Moisturizer: Deep

“This  brown looks absolutely gorgeous on cool and warm deep complexions,” says Messick. The all-in-one tinted moisturizing polish protects nail integrity while delivering natural, healthy-looking nails.

Cirque Colors: Linen

“This fabulous, sheer bone white is a beautiful polish for brightening up the hands without adding too much color,” says Messick. The subtle shade that can be worn alone or as a base for some colorful nail art.

Misco Beauty Nail Lacquer: Worthy

This peachy-rose, chip-resistant polish delivers durability, high shine, and quality pigment for nails you can feel good about—without harmful ingredients. “It’s a great bright sheer polish that you can layer for more impact,” says Messick. 

J. Hannah: Ghost Ranch

This lush brown pulls inspiration from artists’ palettes and natural elements like red rock to provide a super chic color with a high quality finish.

Static Nails Liquid Glass Lacquer: You Make Me Blush

This breakthrough formula is loaded with rich pigments and natural antioxidants that provide a healthy manicure. “Apply this pristine semi-sheer nude rose to bring out the natural blush tones,” says Messick.

Essie: Cliff Hanger

This milky-brown nude nail polish with pink undertones is the perfect color for a natural, neutral look with a high gloss finish.

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