The Best Nude Nail Polish for Every Skin Tone

Strut up to the salon's polish wall with confidence.

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On a scale of one to horrendous, walking into a salon, choosing a nude shade, and realizing it looks god-awful on you is pretty high up there. But while your brain equates "nude" with "hard to screw up," apparently it's not that easy. "Picking a nude is really hard, it's a lot easier to pick a color," says nail artist Miss Pop. "How many times do you try to wear a shirt with a color the blends in with your skin? We're not used to picking these kind of shades."

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Even though selecting the *correct* shade can be quite the challenge, nude nails are only becoming more popular. The good news is that as more and more people request these types of colors, beauty brands are taking note and making a variety of options. "Nude has begun to mean a lot of different things," says Miss Pop. "We're not just talking opacity anymore, or tone, it's also a variety of neutrals. It goes everywhere from beige to gray, to even a pale apricot or peach. Depending on your skin tone and personality, there's more than one option for you."

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Below, we have Miss Pop's polish choices for each skin tone (as well as some of our own), but if you are still a bit worried about going nude, here are her top tips for choosing the right color:

1. A lot of people hold the bottle to their wrists to evaluate the color, but hold the bottle as close to your nail bed as possible. That's where people often get pink or have redness, which will effect how the color looks.

2. Open up your range of what you consider nude, because sometimes the best nude is a neutral.

3. If you really want a sheer finish, start looking for a good light neutral and see how it looks against your skin tone, and then match that down to a sheer. Basically, you can tell in the bottle if an opaque will look good on you, but a sheer can look completely different painted on.

For pale skin tones, à la Julianne Moore, try:

1. Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Ballerina Pink, $21; esteelauder.com

2. La Laque Couture in Rose Romantique, $27; yslbeauty.com.

3.  Nail Lacquer in Keen, $15; butterlondon.com

For tan skin tones, à la Jennifer Aniston, try:

1. Nail Polish in Nostalgia, $18; jinsoon.com

2. Nail Color in Pure Porcelain, $8.50; orlybeauty.com.

3. Nail Lacquer in Toasted Sugar, $35; tomford.com

For medium skin tones, à la Jennifer Lopez, try: 

1. Nail Color in Mamba, $8.50, essie.com

2. OPI Classic Nail Lacquer in Tickle My France-y, $9.50; ulta.com

3. Formula X Nail Color in Extraordinary, $10.50; sephora.com

For dark skin tones, à la Kerry Washington, try: 

1. Naked Manicure in Nude Perfector, $10; zoya.com. 

2. Christian Louboutin Nail Colour in Cappuccino, $50; sephora.com

3. OPI Nail Lacquer in A Great Opera-tunity, $9.50; macys.com

For dark skin tones à la Naomi Campbell, try:  

1. OPI Nail Lacquer in Going My Way or Norway, $9.50; target.com.

2. Nail Polish in Marshmallow, $8.50; essie.com

3. OPI Nail Polish in Ice Bergers & Fries, $9; rickysnyc.com

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