How to Choose the Best Nail Polish Colors for Your Skin Tone

It’s not just your clothing or mood you need to match your nail lacquer with, since learning how to choose the best nail polish colors for your skin tone is the first step to creating flawless looks any time of the year and for any occasion!

How to Choose the Best Nail Polish Colors for Your Skin Tone

Nail polish can change a woman’s entire look. It can make her appear chic and sophisticated or fun a flirty. She can take on darker tones or bring in the sunshine after the rain.

Nail polish is often seasonal, glowing bright and fresh in the spring, going neon and beach bright pinks and oranges in the summer and then getting darker into maroons and metallic in the fall and finally falling into crimsons in the winter. There’s a whole interesting world to be found when one decides to research the changing colors of nail lacquers and how each corresponds with the weather and surroundings in any given region.

It’s actually rather amusing to pay attention to at least 10 hands and toes each day, finding the pattern that represents the best colors per season.

Aside from the seasons, though, each skin tone has its own color palette that will look the best. While some colors may look amazing on the model’s hands, or even on your friend’s nails, they can look dull or unflattering on your own fingers and toes. We can’t get manicures done daily or even once a week, which means that we need to figure out for ourselves which nail polish tones work best.

Trends come and go, but there are colors, which are classics, which will last year in and year out and that you won’t need to reset time and again. You will be getting upgrades, but the bases are the same. The hues and lighting may be different though, so enjoy choosing the best nail colors for your skin tone.

Best Nail Colors for Fair Skin

Berries: Warm, jewel-toned plum colors look rich on your nails and gorgeous on fairer skin tones.

Red: Classic reds with blue undertones that remind us of a “dress to kill’ moment, or perhaps a “Lady in Red’ design are best for fair skin tones, inspiring a certain seductive nature. It speaks of sophistication without the flashy, a balance of rich red and light.

Corals: Sweet blush coral colors are lovely, especially if the skin is fair but not particularly pale.

Metallic: Go for the sleek and shimmery metallic chrome, as it is more refined than pewter and not as flashy as silver. It’s a cooler color that does wonders for the lighter complexions. A gorgeous rose gold coloring will also do well as the warmer undertones suit the skin tone and amplify the natural beauty of one’s hands and feet.

Hot Neon: Fuchsia makes for an awesome funky color to jazz up any look come spring and summer time, that can also translate into your signature style come the darker days of fall and winter.

Blue: A royal navy hue is amazing on fair skin, capable to bring out the true blue without appearing frostbitten. Of course, a bright sky color is also recommended, as it is fresh, springy and utterly pretty against dainty fingernails.

Green: Green colors on your nails when you have a fairer complexion are slightly scary as they might begin to look weird if not the right shade. Deep forest greens, on the other hand, are perfect and absolutely flattering. It’s important to always choose the one that appears as if it’s a forest of fir trees, with its darker, more matte appeal.

Neutral: The fair skin already has a pink undertone so it’s only right to choose a pinkish beige that flatters the look and appears naturally fleshy in its nude form.

Colors to Avoid: Generally having a light complexion, you need to stick to pale and pastel shades and tones with a blue base. On the other hand, ditch dark colors including black, dark blue, as well as avoid wearing yellow, orange, gold and green.

See also: How To Mix And Match Nail Polish Colors

Best Nail Colors for Olive Skin

Berries: Deeper, darker, inky berry shades look glamorous when mixed with an olive based medium complexion.

Red: A more orange tinted red is best on the more medium skin tones, flattering the complexion while adding a touch of magnificence to the whole of the look sported.

Corals: Juicy Melon is an interesting choice that shimmers on the fingers, is warm and lovely and brings out the younger, fresher part out of you.

Metallic: A black tourmaline color can look very dark, and intimidatingly so, but it looks stunning on the nails and its shimmering touch brings out a multi-faceted metallic rarely found otherwise. It’s a warm color and will catch the light just as the stone of its name would, showing off all that is beautiful on your fingers.

Add a tourmaline stoned ring and you have a gorgeous combination set! Of course, if you want to have a night out on the town and are dying for a color more suited for the night sky, a glittering shimmering gorgeous shade of silver will bring the jazzy, the sassy and the sexy to the party.

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Hot Neon: There’s something to be said about an electric lime color when you use it on olive skin tones. The bases are similar, there’s a cool note to the lacquer that’s also found in the skin and there’s something entirely too rebelliously inspiring about the freshness of the hue. It’s definitely worth it as a spring/summer nail color.

Blue: More primary blue colors do well with slightly darker tones that are still quite a bit on the olive side, adding dimension to the look and really bringing the focus to the fingertips. Spring and summer notes of aquamarine are amazing against olive skin and will bring you calm while you enjoy the light breeze.

It’s a soft, cool color that allows one to enjoy all that is good about the seasons. This in the winter brings even more of a cooler, calmer appeal, one that cannot be traded for any other hue, other that certain primary blues.

Green: Richer green tones with a slight shimmer do best for medium tones. You want to go for one that appears to be fun but also presents a rather refined character. The color is like a rich British green racing field.

Neutral: Fresh taupe is the color you are going for here. Don’t go too pink or too chocolate. It’s that slightly greyish nude that you are going for with the blue base so that you gorgeous complexion finds the hue that compliments it best. Plus, this helps you not to fade into the background as some lacquers may do.

Colors to Avoid: While bright orange, pink, blue, lilac, metallic and glitter shades are the best nail polish colors for olive skin tones, you should absolutely ditch such colors as dark purple, navy blue, red (if not orange-based one), bronze and too pale pastel tones.

How to Choose the Best Nail Polish Colors for Your Skin Tone

Best Nail Colors for Dark Skin

Berries: More purplish berry notes, particularly an amethyst color, looks amazing on darker skin tones and give off a luxurious effect that most other colors would be unable to achieve.

Red: Those timeless red hues, not too dark and not too light, have the ability to dress up any outfit with a touch of sophistication, sprucing things up on dark skin in an instant.

Corals: Bronze skin does amazingly well when paired up with a sexy, sassy, extraordinarily pretty sparkly pink coral color. It’s not shimmering, it’s not glittering and it doesn’t have any extra attributes. It’s just a simple matte color that looks amazing on your nails. For an even darker skin color, rich salmon hues are perfect as they create a lovely contrast without clashing tones.

Metallic: Bring fall to your fingernails by adding a fabulous gilded to the darker skin and glittering in the night like the priceless treasure you are. It looks like real melted gold and that’s a good thing as it’s got the classy and the fun all in one fantastic bottle.

The brilliance of a copper shimmer is also not to be underestimated for more bronzed skin either. For a classier, more refined crowd, this is a color you should opt for. While the gold is amazingly fun, the copper shimmers with delight when treated to a night of jazz and champagne.

Hot Neon: Bronze skin wins when it’s given a gorgeous, hot orange color to flash throughout the days. It is certainly worth the buy, as it will bring summer sunsets into darker winter days, letting you dream of vacations in the Caribbean and that Tequila Sunrise you’ve been craving of late. Deeper skin tones should opt for an intriguing banana yellow color that is the neon version of the golden metallic.

Blue: Nearly any shade of blue goes well with darker skin tones. You can opt for lighter or darker and still manage to create a splendid result. A peacock color with specific lighting actually makes for a rather intriguing choice though and will bring a touch of mystique to your masquerade.

It’s definitely worth trying on for color! Bronze skinned women will find a shimmering midnight blue to really spruce up their evening looks, bringing the glinting stars onto dainty fingers that will be dancing the night away. Cobalt blues will also stand out on those nails.

Green: Go for enigmatic, not so green and perfectly out of this world when you are looking for this shade. It’s a pale, muted jade that you’re looking for that creates a lovely contrast and looks anything but boring. Just because you have dark skin doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and experiment with color hues.

Neutral: There are many types of nude shades out there and it’s not as if one color fits all. Chocolaty shades work best with the darker skin as they make an already deep tone look even lovelier.

Colors to Avoid: On the other hand, you should stay away from silver, white, yellow, orange, screaming neon and pale pastel tones.

So it’s not just the lipstick tone than needs to be picked based upon your own skin tone, but also nail polish if you really strive to create winning looks every time you walk out the door!

Photos courtesy of Viva Luxury

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Written by Tamar Najarian
Tamar is a psychologist, teaching and heading into the business world with a prospective MBA. A silly lover of books and words, she generally loves to seek out new adventures, getting her toes wet and her hands dirty. Having moved to Armenia nearly two years ago, she feels like the world is at her fingertips and anything is possible so long as you take a step in that direction.