7 Tips For Finding Your Perfect Nude Nail Polish

When it comes to nailing a manicure that works for day and night, beach and boardroom, weekend and wedding, a nude will never fail you. That's why we tapped celeb manicurist Geraldine Holford to help us pick our perfect polish

01 of 08

MEET THE NAIL PRO

MEET THE NAIL PRO
Courtesy Jackie Fields

We love chatting with our manicurists, so when Geraldine Holford stopped by our office to answer our Qs about every nude polish under the sun, we also quizzed her on her life story. It turns out the London-raised manicurist had her first bite of boxed macaroni and cheese at age 25! And though her roster includes Gigi Hadid, Nicola Peltz and Scarlett Johansson, actor Jeffrey Tambor is her all-time fave client. Even more surprising? Her signature nail look: “I never wear polish, but sometimes I’ll do a little sparkle or a single stud on my nails. I call it the ‘unmanicure.’”

02 of 08

TAKE THE SEASON INTO ACCOUNT

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Courtesy Andrea Lavinthal; Inset: Sally Hansen

“The same way you might reach for a different red in summer than in winter, you have to do the same with your nude color,” says Holford. “I used this cream (seen on Style & Beauty Director Andrea Lavinthal) because the golden tone in this lighter nude really stands out against her tanned skin! It’s important to apply at least two coats of polish to make the color pop.”
Buy It! Sally Hansen “Camelflague,” $7.99; drugstore.com

03 of 08

TRY A TOUCH OF SHIMMER

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Courtesy Alex Apatoff; Inset: Essie

“If you think the nude nail look is dull, a hint of shimmer adds glamour and dimension to your manicure,” says Holford. “This opaque sand version (seen on Senior Style Editor Alex Apatoff) is my favorite for lighter skin tones, and I love this color because it doesn’t doesn’t alter even after days of wear.”
Buy It! Essie “Cocktails & Coconuts,” $8.50; essie.com

04 of 08

GET A LENGTHENING EFFECT

GET A LENGTHENING EFFECT
Courtesy Tomoko Takeda-Canel; Inset: deborah lippman

“When you opt for a shade that’s a perfect match for your skin tone it will really make your nail bed, and fingers, look longer,” advises Holford. “A classic café au lait (seen on PEOPLE StyleWatch Senior Beauty Editor Tomoko Takeda Canel) goes well with medium complexions while still providing enough contrast to stand out.”
Buy It! Deborah Lippmann “Fashion,” $18; deborahlippmann.com

05 of 08

SHAPE, NOT SIZE, MATTERS

SHAPE, NOT SIZE, MATTERS
Courtesy Jackie Fields; Inset: RGB

“You can stick to the length you’re most comfortable with, but remember a classic color calls for a classic shape, so a rounded nail is best,” says Holford. “I love this wonderful taupe (seen on Beauty Editor Jackie Fields) on darker skin tones. It’s a warm and creamy shade that never goes dull.”
Buy It! RGB “Toast,” $18; rgbcosmetics.com

06 of 08

KEEP YOUR TOP COAT CLOSE BY

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Courtesy Brittany Talarico; Inset: NailsInc

“The most important thing is keeping your manicure looking fresh. Because nude nails can really look blah, you have to invest in a top coat.” Holford topped our tips (including Style News Editor Brittany Talarico’s, seen here) with Deborah Lippmann’s Addicted to Speed “because it’s super glossy, quick-drying and self-leveling, meaning you can fix a chip, apply the top coat over it and it and it’ll look like nothing happened.”
Buy It! Nails Inc “Montpelier Walk,” $14; us.nailsinc.com

07 of 08

ENHANCE YOUR COMPLEXION

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Courtesy Sarah Fernando; Inset: Priti NYC Polish

“I like to use a nude polish one shade darker than the person’s skin tone to create a slight contrast,” says Holford. “This raisin (seen on Assistant Photo Editor Sarah Fernando) has peachy pink undertones, so it looks natural – but rich.”
Buy It! Priti NYC “Fairy Moss,” $15; pritinyc.com

08 of 08

BREAK THE RULES

BREAK THE RULES
Courtesy Sarah Kinonen; Inset: Smith & Cult

“A lot of people look for a nude that perfectly matches their skin tone, but you don’t have to be so rigid,” says Holford, who used a caramel on Style & Beauty Editorial Assistant Sarah Kinonen’s nails. “It’s much more beige than some would choose but I love it for her because it will never get lost on her nails.”
Buy It! Smith & Cult “Feathers & Flesh,” $18; smithandcult.com

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