The Best Nude Nail Polish Colors for Tan Skin

We are deep into the end of summer, and as fall fast approaches, it’s important to soak up the last few moments of the warm months. Presumably, if you had your fair share of beach and outdoor time, your sun-worshiping skin has reflected that — and who doesn’t love a summer tan? Before we rush back into pumpkin spiced everything (and dark nails to boot), here are some great, understated nude nail polish colors that perfectly complement a darker complexion.


Ballet Slippers

It wouldn’t be right if we didn't start with this cult classic. If you haven’t tried this “wedding shade” color yet, you need to. This sweet, warm shade can sometimes come off more white on tan skin, but is the perfect white-nude complement to your warmer look.


Skinny Dip

My personal all-time favorite (as a mixed girl that tans at a moment’s notice), this your-nails-but-better shade is a perfect subtle pink that looks polished and clean, without drawing obvious attention to your hands when your mani inevitably chips.


Topless and Barefoot

Another cult classic, this shade is the definition of what “warm sand” might look like. Any skin tone can rock this neutral beige look without coming off ashy or old-looking.


Spin The Bottle

This peachy-brown firmly stands on the “warm” side, compared to some of the whiter shades on this list. This color might look dark, but your tan will bring out the best in this shade in the best way.


Mimosas for the Mr. and Mrs.

The closest comparison to Ballet Slippers, this brighter pink-white has a slightly peachy undertone, which pops a warm tan very well (and is a hit with brides-to-be!).


French Manicure

Don’t be afraid of the name - this is a personal favorite for a perfectly sheer, your-nail-color-but better look. One or two coats makes for a sheer wash, but you can build it up to a softer pink.


Tickle Me France-y

This mauve may seem like an unusual choice, but for the deepest skin tones this color matches with the undertones of your nail bed, making it a great choice for all year round.


Miso Happy With This Color

This color appears like a pinkier Topless — paired with tan skin, the blush tones come out.


Going My Way Or Norway

This warm chocolate shade is a perfect complement to your new summer shade, as opposed to a milky brown that would stand out against a fairer complexion (no matter how white or brown your skin tone is). This glossy, delicious color might surprise you, but don’t be fooled!


Kiss The Bride

This white-sand shade adds a pop of color that veers on the nude side without coming off too bright. The muted color is a perfect addition to make a bright pedicure stand out in contrast.

Side note: with lighter colors, start with super thin coats and layer 2-3 times for the desired opacity.

  • KMS

    “and who doesn’t love a summer tan?”

    Dermatologists. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one to melanoma. Anyone who has had skin cancer themselves. Please stop perpetuating tans as healthy and desirable. Any tan is sun damage, which could lead to skin cancers that could leave extensive scarring from removal or be deadly. And if that doesn’t scare you, premature wrinkling. Inform yourself, please, and stop encouraging bad behavior.

  • Tangier Lemon

    Thank for the nail polish recommendations for my “tan” skin. I really think another article title would of been a better choice.

  • Lunay Nicolas

    Yeah the title could be more inclusive, maybe nudes for all skin tones.

  • SAJ

    I got so excited when I clicked on this article, as I thought “Finally! Someone has thought about how hard it is to pick nudes for those of us with darker complexions. And then I read the first paragraph and realized it’s all about catering to those who have acquired a “tan” during the summer, not those of us who live with darker skin complexions year-round. Please try to be more inclusive next time.