How To Choose The Perfect Nail Colour For Your Skin Tone

We all have been through this pain: dreaming for days about our new manicure, only to find out at the salon that they don’t really look good on us after all. Isn’t it such a disappointment? Well, in this article we’re going to share some tips on how to choose the perfect nail colour that will definitely complement your skin tone.

First, we will start of by learning the variety of skin tones. If you did not know, every one has a different skin tone and undertone from one another. According to the Fitzpatrick scale, there are six types of skin tones:

Photo Credit: Changes Clinic
  • Type I: Light skin that always burns and never tans. (Light)
  • Type II: Fair skin that usually burns, then tans. (Light)
  • Type III: Medium skin that may burn, but tans well. (Medium)
  • Type IV: Olive skin that rarely burns and tans well. (Medium-Olive)
  • Type V: Tan brown skin that very rarely burns and tans well. (Dark)
  • Type VI: Black brown skin that never burns and tans very well. (Dark)

As you can see there are about 3 main groups of skin tones: light, medium and dark. Colours that suit the light-skinned would not suit the dark-skinned, and vice-versa. This is why it is extremely important for you to know the type of skin tone and undertone that you have.

Next, you need to find out what your skin undertone is. There are three methods to do this.

Jewellery Method

Photo Credit: Camille Brinch

The jewellery method is really simple. All you have to do is to try on either silver jewellery or gold jewellery. Which one do you look better in? If you look better in silver, then you have a cool undertone. If you look better in gold, then you have a warm undertone. And if you look equally good in both, then you have a neutral undertone.

White Shirt Method

Photo Credit: Maria Killam

This method requires you to try on two different types of white shirts: off white and true white. If off white looks better on you, then you have a warm undertone. If it is the opposite, then you have a cool undertone.

Wrist Method

Photo Credit: Pinterest

In our opinion, this is the most accurate method to check your undertone. For this method, you need natural lighting. Hold out your wrists and look closely at your veins. If your veins look blue or purple, then you have a cool undertone. If they tend to look more olive or green, then you have a warm undertone. And if yours is a combination of blue and green, then you have a neutral undertone.

Alright, time for the part that we all have been waiting for. So… How do we know which nail colour is cooler and which colour is warmer? Here is the primary colour chart.

Photo Credit:

Shades for Light Skin Tones

Red: A classic colour loved by many. For those with a cool undertone, go for a blueish or purple-toned red so that it will instantly enhance your skin instead of washing it out.

Red with Cool Undertone
Red with Warm Undertone
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Nude: Easily one of the most popular colours in nail salons, nude colours actually have different undertones and shades too.

Nude with Cool Undertone
Photo Credit: The Cuddl
Nude with Warm Undertone
Photo Credit: Talonted Lex

Pink: This colour has the power to automatically highlight whatever pale colour it is being painted on, without it looking washed out. Hence, when it comes to pink, people with lighter skin are able to enjoy a wider range of shades.

Pink with Cool Undertone
Photo Credit: eBay
Pink with Warm Undertone
Photo Credit: The Nail Hub

Purple: It is a little tricky to rock this colour, but not impossible.

Purple (Lilac) with Cool Undertone
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Purple with Warm Undertone
Photo Credit: Tumbral

Blue: A navy blue will give your skin that instant enhancement. The navy blue is the perfect pop of colour to enhance your hands. However if you prefer a softer look, go for the sky blue.

Blue with Cool Undertone
Photo Credit: Bellacocosum
Sky Blue
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Shades for Medium-Olive Skin Tones

Red: Choose a red that has hues of gold or a pop of orange in them. The gold or orange will bring out this skin colour’s natural bronzy complexion.

Red with Warm Undertone
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Nude: People with medium-olive skin tone are able to wear nude colours that are more towards beige, instead of pink.

Creamy Nude with Warm Undertone

Pink: To give that rosy glow to your bronzy skin, go for shades that are more towards peach.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Blue: To really rock a blue, you need to find the perfect shade that will really bring out your skintone. Especially if you have a warm undertone. We recommend a baby blue. This shade will make your hands look softer and more delicate.

Purple: For people with a medium-olive skin tone, do not be afraid to rock a deeper purple colour for your nails. In fact, the colour that will really give your skin that bronzy look would be a berry-like colour.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Shades for Dark Skin Tones

For dark skin tones, you would want to opt for a really striking colour that people are able to spot from a mile away. We’ve got to admit, almost every bright colour looks absolutely stunning on darker skin tones.


Photo Credit: Pinterest

Pink: To really bring out the colour of both the skin tone and the nail polish, go for a fuschia. The colour will NOT disappoint, we promise!

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Purple: Not too sure which shade of purple suits you? Just pick your favourite one out of the lot. Trust us, it doesn’t matter if it’s lilac or a deep purple, people will dark skin tones will still look stunning.

Photo Credit: Deco Miami

BlueAs deep skin tones are able to look amazing sporting any kind of blue, you might want to do a combination of different shades of blue, like below.

Photo Credit: Shape

Nude: Again, dark skin tones are able to rock any shade of nude. So go crazy with this colour, ladies.

Photo Credit: Byrdie

Red: Don’t you ever think of rubies when you see the colour red? For deeper skin tones, you would want to paint your nails a ruby-like red, and flaunt them as if they were actual ones. That’s the way to truly bring out the richness of the colour.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

This may seem very troublesome or puzzling, but if you think about it, the only thing you need to know is the kind of skin undertone you have, and all your other problems will be solved. Beauty can be such a pain sometimes, isn’t it?

Know friends who always have problems finding the perfect shade of nail polish or someone who needs help with determining their undertones? Share this post with them now! โ˜บ๏ธ

๐Ÿ“ธ Featured Image: Pinterest

While youโ€™re here, check out these posts that might interest you:

 ๐Ÿ‘‰โ€˜Likeโ€™ and follow The Female Culture on FacebookTwitter and Instagram today for the latest entertainment, lifestyle, fashion and beauty news!

Posted by

A lover of music, films, animals, cosmetics, and the unorthodox.

Leave a Reply