Best Nail Polish Colors For All Skin Tones

by Esha Saxena
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Nail polish is an accessory that makes a major statement about your personality. And learning how to choose a color to flatter your skin tone is essential. Did you know that the color of your nail polish completely changes the way your hands look? Certain colors look stunning on olive skin, while others work best for tan, light, and medium skin tones. It’s a good idea to play around with colors that go well with your skin tone. If you’re looking for the perfect nail polish color for you, here is an all-inclusive guide to help you out.

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Tips: How To Choose Nail Polish Colors For Different Skin Tones

We’re not saying you absolutely have to stick to a certain set of colors to complement your complexion. However, specific colors help you flaunt the best of what you’ve got and also make your hands look younger. Now, who wouldn’t want that?

  • Olive To Medium Skin Tones

Lucky for you, your complexion can carry almost anything flawlessly, with the exception of gold and rust colors. Medium skin tones vary from olive to a bronzy glow. Try dark burgundy and wines, blues, purples, pinks, and nudes instead.

  • Tan Skin Tones

There’s nothing like a fresh tan, yeah? Amp it up and highlight your summer tan by wearing shades like fuchsia, a poppy blue, orange, and red. If Rihanna can pull off neon green nail polish, so can you!

  • Light Skin Tones

All you women with lighter skin tones need to try reds, pastels, peaches, and purple shades. Yes, dark colors are amazing, but sometimes, very dark shades can leave your hands looking goth-like. But if you dig the vampy look, why not?

Now, let’s get into the details!

Nail Polish Colors For Olive Or Medium Skin Tones

1. Burgundy

A good burgundy nail polish is a magical color for fall or winter. Rich shades that resemble a glass of red wine complement this skin tone well. With your olive skin tone, you can never go wrong with darker shades like burgundy, plum, or a deep red.

Best Nail Polishes In Burgundy For Olive To Medium Skin Tones


This nail polish from O.P.I’s Infinite Shine 2 range is a gorgeous deep purple-y, red shade of burgundy. You need two coats to achieve an opaque finish. We love how easy it is to apply this formula and end up with a professional salon-like finish. It is perfect for the colder months of the year.

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This shade from Essie is best described as a warm, rich, creamy deep plum. This is a more vibrant color of the burgundy family and is a classic color for winter, spring, summer, and fall. It has a great formula that gives you streak-free application. You can go in with two or three coats for an opaque finish. Do give it a shot if you want your hands looking bold and sophisticated.

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2. Blue

Shades of blue look incredible on olive and medium skin tones. While a nice pastel blue is a great option, there’s nothing like an intense sky blue color. The pigment in such shades helps them REALLY stand out against your skin. Blue nail polish not only looks fun and youthful, but it is also a bold choice.

Best Nail Polishes In Blue For Olive To Medium Skin Tones


Tidal Wave is a stunning cobalt blue that is bright and the perfect amount of loud. This nail polish from Sally Hansen has a thick and creamy texture, which makes it easy to apply. Two coats leave you with an opaque finish, and its brush gives you streak-free application. It does take a tad bit longer to dry and is best applied during the day as the UV rays of the sun help this dry faster, according to Sally Hansen. Definitely give this color a shot!

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This pastel blue from O.P.I is guaranteed to bag you tons of compliments. It is the perfect sky blue nail polish color for medium and olive skin tones that you can wear during the spring or summer. The formula is exceptional because it not only gives you comfortable application but also leaves you with a high-shine and glossy finish that stays.

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3. Peachy-Pink

All you ladies with medium to olive skin tones, peachy-pink tones will look especially flattering on your skin. For this summer, look for colors that are sheer yet pigmented. Colors like coral, peach, and rose pink are equal parts sweet and sexy!

Best Nail Polishes In Peachy-Pink For Olive To Medium Skin Tones


This bright neon peach is a must-have for summer! It is fun and vibrant and will look exceptionally stunning on medium and olive skin tones. The formula, however, is a little tricky to use. You need to apply three coats for a fully opaque finish and, if you go wrong, it can look streaky. Be patient with this color and go in with three thin coats and a top coat. It dries into a very cool matte finish.


You will fall in love with this color and formula from Deborah Lippmann! It is a delight to use. This shade is a pink-leaning peach and looks really nice and sultry on olive to medium skin tones. Wear this at any point of the year, and you can’t go wrong! It also works well in a professional setting because it’s just so subtle and pretty.

It’s best to steer clear of colors like brown, gold, and silver glitter.

Nail Polish Colors For Tan Skin

1. Fuchsia

Fuchsia is an amazing color to jazz up any look. With your fresh summer tan, this color will complement your skin like no other! It not only amplifies your tan but also looks hot and attractive. Want to know which fuchsia shades are worth trying?

Best Nail Polishes In Fuchsia For Tan Skin


This is literally one of the best shades of pink ever! If you want a good, long-lasting formula that won’t chip easily and has a gorgeous creamy finish, give this nail polish a try – because it won’t disappoint you. It is a fuchsia neon-like pink that you can also wear with a white coat underneath to make the color pop even more. Finish this off with a top coat and flaunt those Barbie nails!


‘Fuchsia is Bright’ is a fabulous medium-pink color that is very pigmented and buttery. Two coats of this nail polish are all you need for the prettiest hands in the summer or spring. It has an incredible staying power and will look even better with a high-shine top coat.

2. Orange

Orange nail polish looks fabulous against tan skin. It is the perfect shade for your summer beach holiday. If you like bold, edgy, and vibrant colors, give these two nail polishes a try, and embrace your inner nail polish junkie.

Best Nail Polishes In Orange For Tan Skin


The shade ‘Paz’ is a bright neon orange with a formula that is part creme and part jelly. It’s just the color you need when you need to brighten up a dull day. We were impressed with its easy-to-use formula that also dries up quickly. You need three coats of this polish to achieve a fully opaque finish.


This fruit-inspired popping nail color will make your day! It is bright and creamy with a subtle hint of shimmer. For all of you who love loud manicures, this is something you need to try! The nail polish has a decent formula with a good brush. It is easy to apply and dries fast. Two coats will leave you with a pigmented color. It is also wallet-friendly.

3. Red

Red is a classic for every skin tone. But when it comes to tan skin, a traditional red mani does a great job at highlighting that tan and flattering your skin. Here’s what you should look for.

Best Nail Polishes In Red For Tan Skin


The best red ever, O.P.I’s Big Apple Red is eye-catching, classy, and elegant. You get over a week’s wear without any chipping or fading. This color is suitable for every skin tone, but when you’ve got a tan and want to flaunt it, this color makes a world of a difference. You get an opaque finish in two coats, and it dries to a glossy, shiny finish.


If you’re looking for a neutral red, this one from Butter London is your best bet. Its formula goes on easily and dries super fast. It stays on for about 5-6 days without chipping or peeling. You will face no trouble with application owing to its unique brush shape, and two coats will leave you with a gorgeous color that actually lasts.

Nail Polish Colors For Light Skin

Reds, grays, and nudes flatter light skin tones exceptionally well. Here are some colors that you can also try if you have light to pale complexion.

1. Pastels

Pastel colors that have sheer color and less of a white going on look beautiful on lighter skin tones.

Best Nail Polishes In Pastel Shades For Light Skin


‘Dolly Pink’ is a retro blush pink shade that flatters light skin tones very well. This nail polish is named after Amanda Murphy, the runway model, and is from Jin Soon’s Spring/Summer collection. Its formula is a dream to apply – it dries quickly, lasts long, and is of great quality. This shade also flatters pale skin.


This coffee-inspired, cream finish nail polish is a gray to brown, mid-tone cool taupe that is perfect for lighter skin tones. Its formula is thick and easy to apply and leaves you with a fabulous glossy finish. Its price is on the higher side but is definitely worth every penny owing to its high quality.

If your skin tone falls between tan to dark, you should embrace colors like hot pink, electric blue, neon yellow, golds and basically anything you like besides woody nudes.

Ladies, life is too short to have naked nails! Go out there and experiment with colors because doing your nails on a Friday night with some wine and music is extremely therapeutic. Your hands never take a day off, so there’s really no harm in taking care of them and making sure they look pretty. That was our guide for the best nail polish colors for every skin tone. What is your go-to nail polish color? Share with us in the comments section below.

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Esha Saxena

Esha Saxena is a writer, journalist, and a full-time wallflower. She holds a Master’s degree in Media and Mass Communication and firmly believes that makeup is nothing less than art. Combining her love for writing with her passion for makeup, she brings to you reviews, techniques, and her ever-growing knowledge on this form of art. In her spare time, she loves reading, listening to obscure indie bands, and writing poetry – all of this while being a crazy dog lady.