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How to choose the best neutral nail polish for your skin tone

16 December, 2016 3 min read

Despite being defined as impartial, pale, or without any strongly marked characteristics, neutrals carry a quiet power.

Understated, sophisticated and effortlessly stylish - neutral tones willalways be in vogue. And when done right, neutral nail polish makes for a dependable manicure that complements any outfit. But finding the right shade for your skin tone isn’t always straight forward. 

And while we’ve been searching for ways to create the best neutrals to suit every skin colour and tone, we’ve rallied the following tips to bring you closer to shades that matchyour birthday suit. Hip, hip, hooray! 

Cool, warm, warmer…

No, we’re not playing hot-cold. We’re talking undertones. And we’ll start by observing them to figure out what colour temperature your skin might be. Undertones affect how skin colour appears under natural light. This explains why your skin might look different under changing-room lighting than it does under pure sunshine. Undertones are generally classified as warm (yellow or golden), cool (red, pink or blue), or neutral (a blend). So, how do you figure out which one you are and which ones to pair with?

Get acquainted with your skin under bright natural light, paying attention to the colour of the veins on your wrist. If they look bluey-purple, you’re most likely cool-toned. If they appear greener you’re warmer toned, and if it’s difficult to tell, you may be neutral. Hold that thought.

Another good indicator is your jewellery. If your skin is complemented by silver jewellery you're likely cool-toned. But if gold really glows on your skin, you may be warm-toned. And for those versatile complexions that look great in both, count yourself lucky and neutral.

It pays to be picky.

When choosing your neutral nail polish, the trick is to stick to your temperature/tonal range (warm, cool or neutral). To offer a bit of contrast to your complexion, experiment with colours that are a touch deeper or lighter than your actual skin colour within your tonal group. 

Top neutrals for cool undertones

Babe - This translucent, pinky beige carries cool undertones. It works best as a match for alabaster skin or as a striking contrast for darker skin. If you love Babe, but have a warmer disposition, we recommend Blossom.


Top neutrals for the neutral undertones

Blossom - This polish blooms with neutral peach undertones. Blossom is summery sweet on medium skin tones and makes for an excellent team player in French manicures, merci beaucoup.


Buttercream - This shade is buttery soft and dreamy with neutral undertones. Serve as a contrasting highlight on darker skin or as a complementary tone for lighter skin.


Second Nature - This crème caramel nail polish has neutral undertones, making it brilliantly versatile but best on medium-dark skin tones. Prefer something a little darker? Consider the warm-toned, Creature Comforts or Low Key.


Top neutrals for warm undertones

Back to Basics - Like a freshly-picked apricot, Back to Basics is soft and a little juicy. There’s a cheeky warmth to this colour that works with neutral and warm skin tones.


Candid - Pretty and peachy, with a tint of pink, it’s an ideal shade for warm skin tones. Wear as a sweet neutral on light to medium skin or as a rose-tinted neutral with darker skin.


Creature Comforts - Curl up with this toasty warm beige that has us craving cinnamon buns. Subtle smidges of pink soften this polish, making it the perfect partner for medium to dark skin.


Low Key - Low key is oaky with hints of walnut; a great go-to for darker skin in a warm or neutral tone. And if you’re lighter-skinned, this toffee tint makes for a great milk chocolate manicure.


Remember, there's no hard and fast rules when it comes to finding ‘the one’. Experiment until you find the shades you love, and see just how flattering neutral nail polish can be.

Looking for more nail advice? 

Read How to choose the perfect red nail polish for your skin tone and How to find the most flattering nail shape for your hands.


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