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This summer, minimalistic manicures are all the rage. Think Beyoncé's white nails for the release of Icy Park and Normani's rendition of artful, intricate lines. We've seen many nail trends come and go in our day, but when it comes to always-in, evergreen manis, nude nails take the cake season after season. This is why it's essential to find the perfect nude shade for your skin tone, but it's also undeniably challenging—especially when you're working with a little extra melanin.
You see, there's long been a misconception in the fashion and beauty world that the word "nude" is synonymous with beige. And if you've ever spent a good 30 minutes in the nail polish aisle contemplating between two shades that are way too light for your skin tone, you've experienced this phenomenon first hand. But just as we've seen progress with inclusive shade ranges in foundations, blushes, and lipsticks, nail polish brands have made some major strides as well. Today's nude nail polishes have shade ranges that start at muted beige and end all the way at rich cocoa, and even include everything in between. We're talking sands, rosy browns, caramels—you name it.
The perfect match for you does exist. To help you find it, we've rounded up a list of the Top 10 nude nail polishes for darker skin, complete with a celebrity match for each so you can get a good feel for what skin tones they best compliment.
How To Find Your Perfect Nude Nail Polish
The ideal nude is a shade that doesn't match your skin tone exactly but complements your complexion. Polishes that match too closely can create the appearance of mannequin hands, which is probably not the look you're going for. When searching for a nude polish, it's important to consider your undertones, and most importantly, the shade of your nail bed. These two tools will serve as your guide as you search for the perfect nude polish. If you're not exactly sure what color to go with or you're stuck between two shades, don't fret—plenty of polish brands and beauty e-tailers offer online try-on options that allow you to see the polish on your own hands, ensuring you can make your purchase without any doubts.
Our Method For Finding The Best Nude Nail Polishes For Dark Skin Tones
To pinpoint the best nude nail colors for a range of dark skin tones and undertones, we tapped our data-driven algorithm that factors in best-selling buzz, editorial mentions, real user reviews, and more. What does this mean for you? You can rest easy knowing that you're shopping the best of the best. From barely-there browns to deep chocolates, keep scrolling shop the crème de la crème of nude nail colors for melanin-rich skin.
Up next, check out the 10 Best Summer Nail Polishes. Opening image: @essie
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Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour In Particuliere
MEDIUM SKIN WITH COOL UNDERTONES LIKE HALLE BERRY
FUN FACT: Celebrity nail artist, Betina Goldstein loves this nude nail color from Chanel due to its perfect blend of beige and carmel, making it one of her all-time favorite nail colors.
WHY YOU NEED IT: Enriched with bioceramics and ceramides, Chanel's formulas provide deep care to strengthen and improve the quality of your nails while you wear them. It's a win-win.
Essie Nail Polish In Light As Linen
SEPIA SKIN WITH WARM UNDERTONES LIKE DANIELLE BROOKS
WHY YOU NEED IT: With rich red undertones, a milky brown tint, and a slightly shimmering finish, this sheer polish delivers a glossy, salon-quality manicure with just two coats.
THINGS TO KNOW: Nude nail polishes with hints of pink tend to complement medium skin tones best.
OPI Nail Lacquer In Coconuts Over OPI
UMBER SKIN WITH COOL UNDERTONES LIKE LUPITA NYONG'O
WHY YOU NEED IT: With a finish that lasts up to seven days of wear and a formula free of DBP, formaldehyde, and toluene, this nude polish boasts a ton of shine and seals in your color for long-lasting wear.
USER REVIEW: "I really love neutral colors, and this particular nail polish is one of my top five neutral colors! Gorgeous for fall and also all year round!! Definitely recommend if you're also obsessed with neutrals like I am!"
Nails Inc. Nail Polish In Maldives Beach
SABLE SKIN WITH WARM UNDERTONES LIKE NAOMI CAMPBELL
WHY YOU NEED IT: Inspired by the sand on the Maldives beaches, this formula is infused with AHAs that smooth and hydrate your nails to ensure they stay happy and healthy while you rock your mani.
COMPLETE THE LOOK: Add an accent nail or thin-line design with a summer-appropriate nail color.
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color In Taupe Priority
TAN SKIN WITH WARM UNDERTONES LIKE RIHANNA
THINGS TO KNOW: One coat of this streak-free polish is all you need to achieve a flawless manicure. Bonus: it'll dry in 60 seconds, so there's no need to worry about smudges here.
USER REVIEW: "Just tried this for the first time today, and I'm jumping for joy! The directions were covered with a store sticker, so I didn't see you only need ONE coat—I went ahead with two and hope it works ok, but this polish dries in a flash! Like others, my manicures are usually messed up minutes after they're done. With this, no problem—you can do an easy touch-up that dries quickly!"
OPI Nail Lacquer In Barefoot In Barcelona
DEEP BRONZE SKIN WITH WARM UNDERTONES LIKE GABRIELLE UNION
THINGS TO KNOW: Thanks to its terracotta undertones, this chestnut brown effortlessly jives with medium to dark skin tones on the warmer spectrum.
FROM THE EXPERTS: OPI's original nail lacquer formula is thicker and more durable than traditional polish formulas—think seven-days-of-wear durable.
Orly Nail Polish In Coffee Break
MEDIUM SKIN WITH WARM UNDERTONES LIKE BEYONCÉ
WHAT IT DOES: The contoured 600-bristle brush that comes with this rosy-brown polish allows for a flawless application that delivers seamless coverage down to the cuticle.
USER REVIEW: "I’ve been using this brand and this color of nail polish for several years now. I love it! The color is neutral enough to go with everything, the polish is durable, it's easy to put on and remove, and it looks great for several days after application. It may cost a bit more than other polishes, but it's well worth it."
Mented Nude Nail Collection In Yes We Tan
ESPRESSO SKIN WITH NEUTRAL UNDERTONES LIKE DUCKIE THOT
WHY YOU NEED IT: The formula behind this gorgeous shade of raw umber delivers an opaque pigment that won't fade or chip until you're ready to remove it.
THINGS TO KNOW: This no-frills nail polish is fragrance-free, 10-free, and 100% vegan.
Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish In Mid-Day Mocha
TAN SKIN WITH NEUTRAL UNDERTONES LIKE JHENE AIKO
WHY YOU NEED IT: This chamois polish comes with an angled brush that allows for a mess-free, stable application every time. Bye-bye, messy manicures.
WHAT IT DOES: Let's be real—sitting around waiting for your nail polish to dry is almost as boring as watching grass grow. Fortunately, this polish is formulated with Essie's quick-drying technology that delivers a completely dry, smudge-free mani in under a minute.
Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish In Cold Brew Crew
TAWNY SKIN WITH GOLD UNDERTONES LIKE CIARA
STYLE TIP: Thanks to its wearable shade and warm red undertones, this cinnamon polish will look stunning with gold-tone rings and bracelets.
USER REVIEW: "I paint my own nails regularly, and ESSIE is my favorite! It wears well, they have great colors, and the application is flawless. I adore Expressie too—it dries fast and makes my life easy!"