What color nail polish suits brown skin? Ultimate guide.

Welcome beauties! If you’re looking for nail colors that will work with medium to dark brown skin, this post is for you. Right now we’re going to answer the question “what color nail polish suits brown skin?”. 

We’re about to go pretty deep into this. So here’s the short answer right off that bat, in case you’re in a hurry:

White, Taupe, Cream, light gray, navy, and chocolate brown nail polish suit brown skin. You can also wear classic red, most shades of pink, bright oranges and yellows, and pastel nail polish colors like lilac and lemon. Cobalt blue, emerald green, and eggplant nails also look amazing with brown skin. 

Now that you have a basic idea of what nail polish colors suit brown skin, let’s dive a bit deeper and see what kind of looks you can create.

Here’s a table of contents for easy navigation:

Tips and advice for choosing a nail polish color. 

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – Neutral colors

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – Earthy colors

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – Jewel tones and bright colors

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – pastels

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – Metallics

Final thoughts

Tips and advice for choosing a nail polish color. 

First things first. 

When it comes to fashion, style, and self-expression, there are no rules.

You can (and should) wear whatever color nail polish you like. That being said, there are some nail polish colors that really pop against, or gel beautifully with dark skin.

To find your perfect polish match, you need to consider 2 things.

Your skin tone, and the contrast of your features.

What’s my skin tone?

People tend to think that warm colors like red, yellow, and orange look best on brown skin.

There is some truth to this, but dark skin doesn’t necessarily mean a warm skin tone. There are three broad categories of skin tone that you might fit into. Warm, cool, or neutral.

If you don’t already know your skin tone, it’s well worth figuring it out. Once you’ve nailed it down, you’ll be able to choose better make-up and clothing colors as well as nail polish.

You can see 10 simple tests for how to find your skin’s undertone in my how to match nail polish colors to your skin tone post.

Am I high or low contrast?

My second tip for making better color choices is to know your contrast level.

This is advanced-level stuff, so it can get a bit complicated.

You’ll need to look at a photo of yourself in black and white.

If the photo looks stark with deep blacks and crisp whites, you are high contrast.

If it appears more like grayscale with not much variation in the colors, then you are low contrast.

The basic idea is to determine what contrast level you are, and then wear colors that match that contrast level.

If you are high contrast you’ll look best wearing nail colors that contrast your skin highly.

And if you are low contrast you’ll look best in nail colors that blend rather than stand out too much against your skin.

To give you some examples, Beyonce’s features are low contrast.

Lupita Nyong’o is a good example of someone whose features are high contrast.

If your skin is very dark, then you are most likely to have high contrasting features.

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – Neutral colors

Neutrals are colors that don’t have a lot of color in them. They’re really versatile and work with many different skin tones.

No matter what shade of skin you’re working with, you can always count on a neutral-colored nail polish to complete your look.

Not only will neutral nail polish colors work with brown skin, but they will also go with any outfit!

Let’s take a look at the best neutral nail polish colors for brown skin:

White

If you want an eyeball-catching high contrast look, paint your nails with a bright, pure white nail polish.

I like OPI’s Alpine Snow.

Crisp white nails look amazing with brown skin, particularly if your skin is very dark.  

Special occasion? Add a touch of silver to your white nails for a fabulous evening look.

Sandy Beige

For a casual and classic everyday look, you can’t go wrong with a sandy beige.

Beige works especially well against warm skin tones because the undertone of beige is yellow. 

Tan

Tan pairs beautifully with medium and dark brown skin.

I love tan nail polish. It’s minimal, professional, and effortlessly chic.

Total no-brainer.

Cream

Cream nail polish works perfectly with dark, rich complexions.

A cream manicure will accentuate the richness of brown skin. 

Plus, it works for every season, every occasion, and will go with everything in your closet!

Taupe

Is any nail color more perfect for fall and winter than taupe?

If your skin is medium brown, try taupe nails for a subtle, understated look.

And if your darker, taupe nails will give you a nice contrast that’s a little more eye-catching.

I’m currently crushing on Keira by Zoya. It’s a sandy taupe with a touch of copper shimmer.

Gray

Gray nail polish is universally flattering. Light gray looks modern and effortlessly chic.

Dark gray looks moody and mysterious.

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – Earthy colors

Earthy tones look so good with brown skin. 

Here are some earth-toned nail polish colors you might wanna try:

Terracotta/rust

The warm tones in polishes like terracotta, rust, and brick reds are perfect for brown-skinned beauties.

These colors can be worn all year round, but I especially love them for fall and winter.

Zoya’s Rumi is a nice example.

Nails in navy blue scream sophistication. If you want a classy, opulent look that shows you mean business, try painting your nails navy.

One of my all-time favorite navy nail polish shades is Essie’s infinity cool.

Sage and olive

These two earthy shades of green are a dark-skinned beauty’s best friend.

Both olive and sage are more versatile than you might think.

Give these 2 nail polish colors a try. You’ll be surprised at how many outfits match your nails!

If you want specific shades, I can recommend Essie’s Maximillion Strasse Her and Essie’s in the fast lane.

Chocolate brown 

Depending on the depth of your skin tone, chocolate brown may be a great nude look for you.

If your skin is quite dark, chocolate brown will blend and harmonize.

And if your skin is a lighter brown, then a dash of chocolate will give you a fashionable, monochromatic look.

Try OPI’s Squeaker of the House or Chocolate Moose.

And if you like Zoya, try Nyssa.

Burnt orange

A burnt orange manicure is another great option for dark skin. This is the perfect color for fall.

If you love burnt orange – check out Essie’s Playing Koi.

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – Jewel tones and  bright colors

Subtle nails not your thing? No worries. Here are some show-stopping nail polish colors for dark skin that are sure to attract attention!

Classic red

Red is another one of those nail polish colors you can wear anytime, anywhere.

It’s classic for a reason, right?

Cobalt blue

For an eye-catching look with a whole lot of drama, go for cobalt or sapphire blue.

This vibrant jewel-tone looks absolutely fabulous with dark skin.

Try Style Cartel by Essie or OPI’s Ring in the Blue Year.

Aqua

Aqua blue (aka turquoise) is another shade of polish worth trying out.

It’s a great shade for spring and summer and creates a nice contrast with dark skin.

Bring on the beach!

Canary Yellow

This is a bright, bold yellow shade that’s perfect for summer.

Canary yellow is optimistic, fun, and extremely hot! 

Wear it when you’re feeling energetic and playful.

Zoya’s Pippa is a good example.

Orange

I’m talking bright orange here, the bolder the better!

If you really want your summer nails to pop, neon orange or a fruity tangerine will do the trick.

Check out Tangerine Tease by Essie, or for maximum impact –  Zoya’s Oakley.

Emerald

This is a great choice for a formal event or for the holiday season.

Emerald green nails are elegant, classy, and sophisticated.

OPI does a really nice one, it’s called Suzi-san Climbs Fuji-san.

Eggplant

A deep, luscious eggplant polish is another great option for dark skin. It will bring out the rich undertones and make your skin glow.

Eggplant (O Suzi Mio) is perfect for fall, as an everyday work shade, and also for formal affairs.

Orangey-reds and Coral

If you have brown skin, warm reds with a lot of orange in them will look great on you.

Zoya’s Virginia and Rocha are amazing shades to try out.

You can also wear bright coral shades too.

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – pastels

Good news! You can wear pretty much any pastel shade and it will contrast dark and medium brown skin perfectly.

Here are some of my favorite pastel colors for brown skin:

Lilac / lavender

If you’re going for a look that’s feminine, flirty, and romantic, lilac or lavender nail polish is perfect for that.

Lavender is a great option for spring. It also works well for a first date. 

Powder blue

Light and airy blues are great for medium and dark brown skin.

Look for baby blues, sky blues, or periwinkle.

I love Essie’s Borrowed and Blue and OPI’s It’s a Boy!

Lemon

Soft, lemon-yellow nails are a great casual look for spring and summer. 

Lemon yellow will harmonize with warm skin tones, and it will give you a nice contrast to draw attention to your nails.

Zoya’s Bee is a gorgeous shade for dark skin, so is OPI’s One Chic Chick.

Peach

You can wear peach nail polish all year round. Light, pastel, peach shades give off friendly, pleasant, and girly vibes.

Perfect for hanging out with friends.

If you love peach, take a look a Zoya’s Lulu or OPI’s Machu Peach-u.

Soft pink

A soft pastel pink, like blush, looks delicate and elegant against brown skin.

I’m in love with this one from Zoya.

What color nail polish suits brown skin? – Metallics

When you’re shopping for your next fav nail shade, don’t forget that you can also get metallic versions of any of the colors in this post!

You are also super lucky because both gold and silver will work well against your brown skin.

Gold is generally a better choice for dark skin tones, especially if you have warm undertones.

Silver can look amazing on cool-toned beauties with dark skin.

You may also want to experiment with shades of nail polish like copper, yellow-gold, and rose gold.

Final thoughts

Wow, we made it to the end! 

So many beautiful colors to choose from.

I hope that you enjoyed my “what color nail polish suits brown skin” post and that you’re inspired.

As we’ve seen, you have a ton of great nail polish colors to try. Now all you have to do is choose your favorite and get painting!

Thanks for reading and if you have time, check out some of my other useful posts.

Bye for now 🙂