Choosing the perfect nude nail polish for your brown skin tone

17 December, 2021 / words by user

Written by Christina Pinnock

Image by @ManicuredByChristina

The term “Nude” has been a hot topic in recent years as brands scramble to be recognised as inclusive irrespective of race or ethnicity. Where once a nude would generally comprise of a pink tone modelled on the Caucasian skin spectrum, we have recently seen more diverse recognition across beauty, fashion and lifestyle products that better reflect each of our unique and varied skin tones.

That said, how on earth do we identify which nude is right for us?

We often hear the word ‘undertone’ referred to most commonly with regards to makeup shades, specifically foundation, but it’s also a great guide help identify which nude nail colour would be the best choice for you. Essentially, an undertone is the base layer that places a colour into a specific shade palette. This helps to narrow down the range of options that are closest to the desired colour level. You probably already have an idea as to whether your skin’s undertone is ‘yellow’, ‘red’ or ‘blue’ toned from what you may have been advised at a cosmetics counter, but here is an easy way to check…

Look at the veins on the inside of your wrist? Do they appear:

– Purple or blue? If so you have what is referred to as a cool skin tone.

– If your veins appear more green, you have a warm skin tone.

– If you are unsure, you probably have a neutral skin tone which is somewhere in between.

Once you’ve identified this, you can start to consider similar nude shades that best compliment your actual skin tone.

Now, that is not to say that you must never select a nude that is the very opposite of your undertone. You might want to select a contrasting nude that ‘pops’ against your skin in an intentional way. For example, a pale pink that might be complimentary if worn by someone who is fair-skinned might actually give a cute, chalky vibe on a darker skin tone which totally works if you’re looking to make a statement.

Equally a warm-toned, deep nude against a cool skin tone will deliver a richness that always looks fabulous, particularly in the colder months. It is also worth considering the depth of the nude shade you are selecting. This is particularly relevant when deciding upon a nail colour, gel, or regular polish. The opacity of a polish can dramatically alter the final look even after you have chosen your preferred nude. Sheer polish is often referred to semi-opaque whereas a solid colour is commonly called an opaque. Sheers are buildable and can be layered to achieve additional colour intensity, whereas solid colours are pretty much what you see once the very first coat is applied. The decision entirely depends on how subtle or bold you want to be.   


Christina’s Nude Polish Recommendations

Broadest selection of nude tones: OPI lacquer/OPI Gelcolor

Most universal nude

Shop Bubble Bath, OPI Nail Lacquer



BEST cool-toned nude: ESSIE Ballet Slippers

Shop Ballet Slippers, Essie


BEST warm-toned nude

Shop Jordan, EVO by BioSculpture (Gel only)



In short personal preference is key. Throw out the rule book and be confident to try out what works for you given your mood and style choices. Remember, no two nudes are created equal!





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