Which nail shade suits your skin tone?


If you visit a nail salon as infrequently as I do, you probably also find picking your polish a completely daunting task. Not because of the ridiculous amount of choice you have in front of you, but because you just have no idea which shade will look good on you. Sure, you’ve dabbled in reds, blues, purples, pinks, heck, even greens, but now that you’re paying a tidy sum to have someone do the job well, you want to make sure you’re picking the perfect shade.

So to make the choice a little bit easier, we asked the experts – CND expert Cherie Pollard and Sally Hansen nail expert Alison Bowhill-Hayes – to share their wisdom and help you pick the nail shade that’s best suited to your skin tone*.

For fair skin

According to Cherie, fair skin with pink undertones is, “a dangerous skin tone as it tends to look raw if not neutralised properly.” She recommends anything with a cool base (so a polish with blue undertones) to complement your skin tone. As for fair skin with yellow undertones, Cherie advises it’s best to stick to warm tones (yellow based) as “cool tends to make the skin look sallow.”
For those with pink undertones, try:

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Berry Important
CND VINYLUX in Azure Wish
Bourjois So Lacque Ultra Shine in Fashion Gris Gris
OPI in I Think in Pink

For those with yellow undertones, try:

Estee Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Pure Red
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Get Juiced
Rimmel London I Love Lasting Finish Nail Polish in Apricot Punch
CND VINYLUX in Electric Orange

For medium skin

According to Alison, “Medium skin tone can get away with almost anything; however peachy and beige like tones look best.” Both Alison and Cherie also recommend semi-sheer tones to complement medium skin tones.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Peachy Keen
L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Le Vernis in Rose Cashmere
Rokk96 in French Made
CND VINYLUX in Romantique

For olive skin

Lucky you! According to Cherie, you can wear most colours, but bright shades will suit your golden complexion best.

Revlon ColorStay Longwear Nail Enamel in Sorbet
Lancome Le Vernis in Love in Plunge Pool
MeMeMe Nail Collection in Pensive
piCture pOlish in Wisteria

For dark skin

Even luckier you! Cherie reveals, “from the palest of pales to the darkest dark, you are only limited by your confidence.” Alison does warn that dark skin will, “look flat and dull if your colour choice is too light” so she recommends plums, purples, burgundy reds and deep cherries.

CND VINYLUX in Silver Chrome
Maybelline Color Show Nail Colour in Fierce and Tangy
MAC Nail Lacquer in Girl About Town
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Good to Grape

* These are only recommendations. Feel free to go nuts at the nail polish stand and pick whichever shade tickles your fancy. Beauty is fun, so don’t let it stress you out too much.

Do you worry about your skin tone when picking a nail colour? What’s your go-to nail polish shade?

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