Finding the right nude, especially for women of color, can be challenging. Sometimes the best result lies in experimenting until you find the hue that’s just right.

“Finding the perfect nude for your skin is like finding the perfect t-shirt, it requires trying on a bunch,” explains Deborah Lippmann, founder and creative director of her namesake polish line. “The same way you try on clothes before you buy them, you should try on lacquers to find the perfect shade.”

The easiest (and faster way) to find your well-matched shade is to keep referencing that good ‘ole color wheel. “Your undertone helps you choose the makeup that will look best on you, and that rule is no different for choosing nude nail color,” explains Gina Carney, founder of RGB Cosmetics. “Check out your the veins, most easily visible on the inside of your wrist.  If they’re blue or purple, your undertone is most likely cool.  Veins of those with a neutral undertone will appear more bluish green, and warm undertones will see green veins.”

Another trick? Look to your cuticles for answers advises Lippman. “If the nude lacquer isn’t right for your skin tone, your cuticle will actually look red or ‘dirty.’ Lacquers, like “Fashion” (a color in Lippman’s collection), are most appropriate for women with yellow undertones and bare beiges, like “Naked” (also from Lippman’s line), are best for those with pink undertones, like myself.”

You can also try matching your polish to your foundation. “I’m a fan of perfectly matching your nude nail as close as possible to your skintone,” shares green celebrity nail stylist Jenna Hipp. “The look is long and seamless. So chic and on point, no matter how fancy or casual the occasion.” Similar to makeup, make sure to select a shade that won’t  wash out your skin tone. Your main goal is to enhance your natural glow—not play it down. “Even if you need to layer two different shades to create the perfect color for your skin tone, it’s totally worth it,” she adds.

Don’t count out a nail lacquer shade because you think it won’t work with your skin tone—you might be pleasantly surprised. “Nail lacquer is something you can take risks with. Don’t be afraid to embrace the “new nudes” shades with gray and lavender undertones,” adds Liz Pickett and Ginger Johnson, the team behind Ginger + Liz Nail Lacquer. “Neutral doesn’t always have to be sheer pink or ivory!”

For the longest lasting nude (or any shade for that matter) manicure or pedicure, swipe the nails with rubbing alcohol pre-polish application.  “This ensures that the nails are free from dust from filing or oils from other prep products like lotion or hand soap,” shares Carney. “I recommend the use of base and topcoat, from the same collection as your nail color.  Just like shampoo and conditioner, these are formulated to work together for the longest wear possible.”
Still on the fence? Go straight to the source. Let your manicurist be your guide. Check out our edit below of the hottest hues for fair, medium, and deep complexions.

Product Suggestions for Fair Complexions
Fair skin complexions polishes with pink undertones will showcase your natural radiance.  

Products for Medium Complexions
Medium skin shades like olive or bronze fare well with polishes that contain a bit of a hint of beige.

Products for Dark/Deep Complexions
Deep or dark complexions absolutely stun  in browns, dark pinks  or cocoas with rich golden undertones.


Janell Hickman is an unapologetic beauty girl! She has a deep penchant for bright lips, short hair cuts, flawless skin, and lush lashes. She writes for quite a few fab media outlets including and and she loves and lives in Brooklyn. Instagram: @Jmargaretbeauty