The Best Nail Polish For Your Skin Tone

by Tyler Atwood

Gazing at the polish wall at a nail salon while plotting your weekly or bimonthly manicure can produce an overwhelming case of vertigo if you aren't careful — and choosing a nail polish for your skin tone? That seems almost impossible. With a rainbow of hues to choose from that expands exponentially by the day, selecting one that evokes your mood, fits the season, adheres to current trends and flatters you is enough to convert any hardcore manicure enthusiast to a polish-and-buff or French Manicure addict simply to avoid the choices.

Despite the nail trends that come and go each season, the most significant factor in choosing your polish hue is finding a shade that suits you, both in terms of your personality and your skin tone. You may adore a moody black hue to demonstrate your daring, but selecting the best shade for your skin tone can take your statement from drab to glam in the snap of your polished fingers. Similarly, opting for a classic red is never a flawed choice unless your blue-hued polish clashes with the tan undertones in your skin, or an orange-based polish causes your pale complexion to appear wan and food poison-ridden. By all means, choose a polish color that you adore, but keep these colors in mind as optimal shades to match your skin tone.

1. Fair

Essie Nail Polish in Really Red, $9, Amazon

Those who have fair with skin cool undertones are best suited to blue-based reds, pink polish with rosy undertones, or a vivacious violet shade, so don't be afraid to go bright this summer. A rich red, blush pink, or fierce fuchsia will appear especially elegant against porcelain skin.

2. Medium

Revlon Parfumerie Scented Nail Enamel Lavender Soap, $10, Amazon

If your skin tone falls somewhere between very pale and a warm olive hue, take a milky pastel hue for a spin. While the impact of pastels can be lost on fair skin, a muted buttercup, violet, orchid, or robin's egg blue is becoming on medium skin tones.

3. Olive

Butter London Sloane Ranger Nail Lacquer, $15, Amazon

An olive complexion can carry many colors, but this season, variations on nude polish are your best bet. Whether you adore a deeper khaki hue or find a shimmering peach shade fits your personality to a T, trendy iterations of natural shades will pick up the brunette tones in your complexion to beautiful effect.

4. Bronze

OPI Nail Polish Lacquer in My Car Has Navy-gation, $10, Amazon

If you dare to don a different shade on your fingers this summer, try a bold jewel-toned shade like navy, amethyst, or rich, emerald green to complement bronze-toned skin. Classic yet impactful brights amplify the warm tones in bronze skin.

5. Tan

NARS Nail Polish In Milos, $20, Nordstrom

If your skin is possesses a warm, tan hue, by all means go for the gold — polish, that is. Gilded polish illuminates the tawny undertones in tan complexions, lending a lustrous glow and playing up a complexion's innate radiance.

6. Deep

Victoria, Victoria Beckham for Nails Inc. London Judo Red Nail Polish, $25, Nordstrom

Though most nail polish hues work beautifully with deep complexions, persimmon polish pops against ebony skin tones. Take on your summer jet-set adventure in a fiery orange-red polish.