How to Get a Great Nude Nail Look

Hands with nude nail design

Nude nails are a timeless everyday nail look. Come rain or shine, they complement an outfit in practically any color palette, and you can dress them up or down depending on the occasion. From glossy and chic to matte and fashion-forward, there are a number of great nude nail aesthetics available.

How to Get the Nude Nail Look

There are two main options available when it comes to the nude nail aesthetic. You can either wear them shiny or matte, depending on type of look you're going for. Shiny nude nails tend to make a statement for smart casual occasions, whereas matte nails are more understated for everyday wear.

Whatever your mood, follow this step-by-step guide for the same standout nude nail effect:

  1. Use a nail file to smooth out the tips of your nails. It's up to you whether you want to create a round or square tips. Round tends to be more authentic, however square enhance the glamor. Use the end of your nail file to push down your cuticles and reveal the maximum amount of nail bed to make more of an impact.
Woman Filing Fingernail

2. Then, take a nail buffer and start polishing your nail beds to make them smoother and shinier. This is an essential part of any manicure because it gives the nails a gorgeous natural sheen.

Woman with fingernail buffer

3. After filing and buffering the nails, add a clear base coat to make your chosen hue look as prominent as possible.

Manicurist applying transparent base coat to nail

4. Then apply your chosen nude nail color in a matte or shiny polish, depending on what you decide. You can just use one coat if you want a minimalistic aesthetic; however, the color will be richer and more distinctive the more coats you apply.

Woman hand and nails colored in nude natural color

5. Finally, apply a clear top coat varnish to your nails for a shiny, polished finish and to make your nude nail look last longer. If you're going for the matte appearance, skip this step and just let your nails naturally air dry.

Bottle with clear nail polish

You're left with stunning nude nails that are guaranteed to attract complements.

Finding the Right Nude for You

Color-wise, there are lots of nude nail shades available, which might feel a little overwhelming at first. From warm to slightly gray to barely-there, there are some things you should consider when trying to find the perfect nude for you:

  • Lighter skin tones suit darker nude nail polish and more pinky or purple tones as a brilliant contrast. For instance, mushroom and wedding-day pink look particularly fabulous.
    Female hands with a gentle natural nude nails
  • Darker skin tones suit lighter nude nail polish if you want your nails to pop, like beige or near-white. However, you can use darker nudes for a more toned-down aesthetic, like coffee or chocolate.
    Hands with nude nails holding a cup of coffee
  • If you have a medium skin tone, then you're lucky. You suit both light and dark nudes and can mix and match depending on your personal preference. However, shades with a red undertone suit medium skin tones the best.
    Woman with perfect skin applying foundation with nude nails
  • You can try to match your skin tone with your nude polish if you're going for a more natural look. If you find the right shade, it will make your nails look completely naked and untouched as if you're not wearing any varnish at all. It will also make your nail bed and fingers look longer.

Embrace the Nude Nail

The nude nail aesthetic is beautiful and sophisticated all year round. Whether you want to stand in a crowd with bright, vibrant hues, or match to your skin tone for under-emphasized elegance, nude nails suit every style, ability, and budget. And the bonus? They never go out of style.

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How to Get a Great Nude Nail Look