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A Black woman with a white manicure

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Bold, eye-catching hues are perfect for giving nails an effortless pop. However, something about neutral nail shades leaves the girls swooning. Maybe it’s the fact that the minimalist “less is more” trend is alive and well. Maybe nail mavens love the idea of switching things up. Either way, the perfect neutral shade can seamlessly elevate your nail game.

When most people hear the word neutral, they think of the color nude. However, nude is not the only neutral color. Neutral nail shades are muted colors with superior versatility — think browns, beiges, creams, and nude hues. Thus, you can expect these shades to pair well with your ensembles.

Before you dive into the neutral nail lane, it’s vital to figure out your perfect shade match. After all, not all neutral shades are Black and brown girl-friendly. So, when locking down the right shade, it’s best to take some tips from a professional. So, if you’re ready to experiment with neutral shades, look no further. I chatted with Essie Global Lead Educator and nail artist Rita Remark about foolproof tips to find your neutral nail shade match and her go-to picks for various skin tones. Here’s the rundown.

1. Find your sweet spot.

Unfortunately, picking up any neutral shade is a no-go. Black and brown girls can be left with a dull, washed-out look. Rita shared that folks should follow the same advice of selecting complexion products for their neutral nail shade.

“I always recommend choosing a polish color that is two shades lighter or two shades darker than your natural skin tone,” Rita told Hello Beautiful. “Doing so will avoid mannequin-like hands. For reference, if you have a foundation shade that you love, make sure that your nail color is two shades darker or lighter.”

2. Choosing a neutral shade based on the color of your nail beds is not wise.

There have been tons of chatter about referencing your nail beds when selecting a neutral shade. However, folks should consider their skin tone as a starting point.

“Polish colors should be chosen according to skin tones for the simple fact that polish covers your nail beds,” Essie’s global lead educator shared. “I always say to use your mother’s trick. If silver jewelry looks good on you, you have cool undertones. It’s best to opt for cooler blue tones and neutrals with a cool pink or gray undertone. If gold jewelry looks good, you have warmer undertones and should opt for neutral shades with more peachy, sandy, or apricot undertones. If gold or silver looks good, odds are you have neutral skin tones and can get away with anything.”

Rita Remark’s neutral shade recommendations: Pale skin tones: Essie Topless & Barefoot ($10, essie.com) and Essie Mademoiselle ($10, essie.com), Olive skin tones: Essie muchi, muchi ($10, essie.com) and Essie mind-full meditation ($10, essie.com), Tan/medium skin tones: Essie vine and dandy ($10, essie.com) and Essie the snuggle is real ($10, essie.com), and dark skin tones: Essie crochet away ($10, essie.com) and Essie topless and barefoot ($10, essie.com).

 

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