If you’ve ever taken a picture of your hands, like after a manicure, or maybe while holding a big ol’ doughnut at brunch (hey, what do you take pictures of?), then you know how, uh, kinda ugly hands can be in the wrong lighting, or with the wrong polish, or with a bad doughnut. Just kidding—THERE ARE NO BAD DOUGHNUTS.
Which is why we’re really into the idea of nail-polish contouring, which is basically just picking specific colors for your skin tone to give your hands a bit more oomph. No, we’re not saying that this is a required step for any human being, because we realize that hands are just hands, but if you’re planning to wear nail polish anyways, why not make it purposeful?
And to help you decode your digits, we got the very brilliant manicurist Jin Soon Choi to break down the best colors from her polish collection for your exact skin tone and dream hand look. Because that’s a thing, right? Right.
"Choose colors that are not too immature or too neon-like," says Choi. "They should be more elegant and have sharp color pigmentation to make your skin look vivid."
Fair Skin: Try a soft, blush-y pink, like BUY IT
Medium Skin: Look for a bright coral orange, like BUY IT
Olive Skin: Pick a rich, hot-as-hell orange, like BUY IT
Dark Skin: Try a bright mint blue, like BUY IT
"Try to use colors that make your hands look a bit more bronzed, like orange, yellow, green, or opaque pastel colors," she says.
Fair Skin: Pick a deep, ocean-y green, like BUY IT
Medium Skin: Go for a coral-y pink, like BUY IT
Olive Skin: Try another bright, rich orange, like BUY IT
Dark Skin: Look for a creamy lemon yellow, like BUY IT
"Opaque whites and pastel shades give your nail beds a bigger appearance in contrast to your skin," says Choi.
Fair Skin: Go for a retro, blush-y pink, like BUY ITk
Medium Skin: Look for an off-white shade with just a hint of blue, like BUY IT
Olive Skin: Try an opaque beige, like BUY IT
Dark Skin: Look for a super-powder-y pink, like BUY IT
"Darker shades tend to make nail beds look smaller, so make sure that you choose deep colors that naturally complement your skin tone, especially in the winter," she says.
Fair Skin: Pick a deep, electric blue, like BUY IT
Medium Skin: Try a dark blue-gray, like BUY IT
Olive Skin: Go for a red-hued black, like BUY IT
Dark Skin: Pick a rich, ocean-y green, like BUY IT.
"Use more natural, subtle colors that don't draw attention to your nails, so your nails can become an extension of your fingers," explains Choi.
Fair Skin: Look for a super-sheer pink, like BUY IT
Medium Skin: Go for a subtle, sheer tan, like BUY IT
Olive Skin: Try a pink-tinged beige, like BUY IT
Dark Skin: Pick a milky toffee shade, likeBUY IT