Skin Tone Nail Polish Color Match Chart

Skin Tone Nail Polish Color Match Chart

Nail polish can be one of the most enjoyable ways to express your individual sense of style and personality, but if you don’t pick the right color, it can also be incredibly frustrating. That’s why we’ve created this chart that helps you find the perfect nail polish color based on your skin tone—whether it’s fair, medium, or dark—so you can show off your outfit, not your imperfection. No more splotchy red nails!

Neutral: Shades in the tan, brown, and beige family

Color Match Chart 1

When looking for a nail polish color to match your skin tone, consider what you want the shade to do. If you want it to be light and natural, find a cream or off-white color. If you’re looking for a vibrant pop of color, choose a rich purple or deep blue. For example, if you have light skin and are trying to match your outfit or go with something trendy like unicorn nails (it’s 2017!), try out Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Lacquer in Rue Blanche Light. On the other hand, if you have darker skin and want an accessory that will make your outfits more formal but still fit into this season’s trends, then this Essie Nail Polish in Something Else would be perfect.

Warm: Pinks, reds, corals, oranges

Color Match Chart 2
Color Match Chart 2

When it comes to nail polish, everyone should be able to find the perfect shade that suits their skin tone. Pinks, reds, corals, and oranges are all great ways to get your nails ready for the spring. Especially now that warm-colored trends are starting to show up on runways as of late. In addition to staying warm outside, these trending shades also bring a refreshing and natural feel to your manicure. Plus, there is no better time than this time of year when you have access to such lovely hues like ‘Iced Strawberry’ from Essie or OPI’s ‘Twice Around The Ruckle’. You can try out any of these and find the one that really stands out or complements your skin tone best! It doesn’t matter if you’re pale with pink undertones or tan with brown undertones; they will still look great against your fingers.

Cool: Blues, purples, grey

If you love having cool-toned nails but don’t know what colors to get, here is a guide that might help. It’s difficult to find cool-toned nail polish colors in most stores, but it can be done with some patience and searching. 

If you have cool skin tones and want a good transition color to help transition from winter to spring, then I recommend Essie’s Pearl of Wisdom. It’s not your typical purple or blue like we associate with transitioning from cold weather. It has more of a brownish tinge. Essie has tons of other great cool-toned nail polishes too! 

Now, if you have medium skin tones, then there are so many more options. You can wear warm shades all year round and still look on trend! That being said, blues, purples, and greys will still be your best bet. You just need to experiment with different brands until you find the perfect one for you. My favorite brands are OPI and CND because they offer a lot of different shades.

So what about those with dark skin? Well, my friends, that is where the fun begins. You have the opportunity to experiment with bright neon shades as well as darker jewel tones (like dark blues). Plus, these days, there are so many glittery shades out there that it makes sense why everyone loves them (they look great on everyone!).

Bright & Vibrant: Bright & neon (be careful with these!)

If you’re looking to stand out and make a statement with your nails, these are the colors for you. Bright or neon are often too bright for any skin tone, but if you choose wisely, there’s no telling what will happen. Here are some perfect nail polish color match charts to get you started.

1) If your skin is medium-toned and warm-toned, light blue like Essie Bahama Mama would look great on your nails. You can even wear it against dark purple like Essie Bordeaux or silver like Orly Ghost Town Silver.

2) If your skin is very light or very dark and cool-toned, nude shades will be the best choice for pairing with your clothing when going out. Neutrals like China Glaze It’s Raining Men, OPI My Pointe Exactly, and Dior Rose Garden might be just what you need. 

3) If your skin is medium-toned but neutral-toned (sometimes referred to as warm undertones), try shades of browns or gold like China Glaze Mellow Yellow. 

4) Lighter complexions that have red undertones should opt for deep reds like Butter London Bloody Brilliant, while darker complexions should choose more classic reds such as Chanel Rouge Allure Satin in Russian Red. 

5) To complement darker complexions that have yellow undertones (or sallow skin), try electric blues or purples such as Butter London Slapper Blue!

Specialty Colors: Glitter and other unusual shades

Glitter polish is one of the best ways to express your unique personality. The only thing that can make it better is adding color to give the glitter an extra pop. Here are some ideas on how to add this fun accent color: *If you have light skin, go with pink or purple. They compliment the skin tone nicely. *If you have medium skin, pick yellow or green for the most vibrant contrast without overpowering your look. *If you have tan skin, go with blue or red to really brighten up your complexion. Those shades contrast beautifully with tanned skin! To complete the look, use an even lighter shade than what you’ve chosen as your base color. For example, if you’ve chosen yellow as your base coat and want to layer over it with something a little brighter, choose a white nail polish (or off-white). As always, when painting nails at home, make sure to paint on two coats so that the colors will last longer and shine brighter!

Natural/Pastel Hues

When you’re trying to figure out what color will suit your skin tone, it’s often a game of trial and error. If you have an idea in mind but don’t know if it will match your skin tone, this color match chart from Vanity Fair is a great place to start.

1) Find your skin tone – do this by holding a sheet of white paper up to your face and finding the closest match (for some definitions of what skin tones might be, click here).

2) Go down the list until you find the best match-this is probably the color that suits you best.

3) Continue through the list to find a good range of hues based on which color works best for you as well as your specific personal taste. If you can’t decide between two colors, feel free to try them both on!

4) Keep in mind these colors will not only look different against your skin but also change depending on where they have been applied: fingers vs. toes vs. hands vs. feet. Remember when painting nails, never apply polish over cuticles or hangnails because they’ll show through too much!