The Nude Nail is Back. Here's Everything You Need to Keep it Looking Pretty and Fresh

After prolonged exposure to Harajuku nail designs, glitter, impractical 3D magic, and even nail piercings, it's a relief to look down and see clean lines. Think of it as a beauty reboot to a style that accentuates your best features, so people see you instead of your nail art. Even beauty consultant (and nail art addict) Eva Chen wrote about her return to nude in a recent issue of Vogue. And with the right tools, a clean manicure can be your most beautiful yet. [Image: Fotolia]

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize with Cuticle Oil

First: Without bold colors and embellishments to distract you, people are actually going to see the state of your nails. Keeping nails healthy is key to making this look work beautifully. Cuticle oils and hand creams are must-applies at least every night before bed. Taking it a step further and throwing a cuticule oil in your bag will keep you maintaining instead of playing catch up. Fall in love with Sephora’s cuticle oil brush: It’s a no-mess, easy, and fast to apply way to keep cuticles hydrated and healthy. [Image: Fotolia]

The Cardinal Cuticle Rule

Push back your cuticles, never cut them; you risk infection, and you’ll have to cut them until the end of time to manage them. Use an orange stick to gently push cuticles back (after you’ve used the cuticle oil brush, of course). [Image: Fotolia]

Flattering Nail Shapes

Master manicurist, salon owner, and backstage beauty guru Jin Soon Choi maintains that the most flattering nail shape will mirror that of your cuticle: Generic round or square just won’t cut it. To achieve the right shape without splintering the nail, use a glass nail file, like Nail Tek’s Crystal File. [Image: Nail Tek]

Nail Tek Crystal Filer, $10, Amazon

Creating a Smooth Canvas

Sometimes nails need a little extra love to look their best (though keeping nails and cuticles hydrated will solve problems over time). If your nails are uneven, ridge fillers like Deborah Lippman’s base coat will smooth them over. [Image: Deborah Lippmann]

Deborah Lippmann base Coat, $20, Sephora

Butter London Tea With the Queen

Now for the fun part….Picking a color! Butter London makes a warm, rosy nude called Tea With the Queen that’s simple and sexy with a high shine top coat. [Image: Butter London]

Butter London - Tea with The Queen, $18, Butter London

OPI San Tan Tonio

Sexy and glam, this opaque tan also looks great with a shiny top coat. [Image: OPI]

OPI San Tan Tonio, $8, Heb

Essie Mademoiselle

This is the best selling color in Essie’s line. It’s been a favorite for years, and for good reason: this sheer, flattering pink shade looks elegant and classic on any skin tone. [Image: Essie]

Essie Mademoiselle, $8, Amazon

Deborah Lippman Baby Love

A little less pink, but still totally sheer, Deborah Lippman’s Baby Love is a personal favorite. [Image: Deborah Lippmann]

Deborah Lippmann Baby Love, $18, Sephora

Estēe Lauder's New Nude Collection

A whole line of nudes, new for spring by Estēe Lauder’s Creative Director Tom Pecheux. Take your pick! [Image: Estēe Lauder]

Estēe Lauder Nude Nail Polish, $22, Estēe Lauder

Finishing Touches

A high-shine top coat will do wonders for any of these colors. Make your manicure last longer by reapplying top coat every few nights to keep the color sealed. Et voila! The perfect nude mani, whatever your preference. [Image: Deborah Lippmann]

Deborah Lippman Top Coat, $19, Amazon