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The definition of “nude” varies from person to person — in the context of makeup and nail polish, “nude” simply refers to a color that closely resembles your skin tone. So in the case of the best nude nail polishes for fair skin, we’re generally talking about light beige and pale pink colors, or even sheer, creamy whites. When shopping for your perfect nude nail color, you'll also want to consider the finish of the polish, i.e., shimmery, glossy, sheer, or matte. Ahead, you’ll find options that fit into every category, all of which complement fair skin tones beautifully.
Another thing you may want to consider when shopping for nail polish is the formula itself. These days, you can find nail polishes that are cruelty-free and vegan, or free of anywhere from three all the way up to 16 ingredients that are thought to be harmful or irritating (formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, triphenyl phosphate are the most common offenders).
Let all of these factors, from the color and the finish to the ingredients to the price, play a role in which “nude” nail polish you choose. Scroll on to shop eight worthy contenders, all available for less than $25 on Amazon.
1. Writer’s Pick
When it comes to neutral nail polishes, this is my personal go-to, and I definitely qualify as someone with fair skin. OPI's ‘Bubble Bath’ is a cool-toned, pinky-nude color that's sheer with one coat, but builds up to an opaque finish that can be worn on its own or used as a base for French manicures. Part of the brand's Infinite Shine system, this polish — when used with the Infinite Shine Primer as your base coat and the Infinite Shine Gloss as your top coat — gives you a glossy, gel-like finish that lasts for up to 11 days without chipping, no LED curing lamp required.
2. Editor’s Pick
“I have very fair skin, and I’m not really one for manicures. The only types of polish I wear are barely-there pinks or soft, creamy whites — so you can imagine my delight when I discovered this line of sheer polishes from Brooklyn-based brand Cirque Colors. The colors in this line work beautifully on most skin tones, but I find that one coat of ‘Linen’ gives my pink-undertoned nails the exact effect I’m always after: shiny and clean, but not painted. As a bonus, these handmade polishes are 10-free, vegan, and cruelty-free, in addition to being very reasonably priced.”
— Adeline Duff, BDG Beauty Editor, Commerce
3. Best Light Pink Polish For Fair Skin
Don't be fooled by the ultra-pink color of the bottle. In real life, Smith & Cult’s nail polish in ‘Pillow Pie’ is a creamy pale pink that dries down to a glossy, opaque finish with just two thin coats. The bottle is chic enough to display on your vanity, and the formula is vegan, cruelty-free, and free of eight questionable ingredients like formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. If you prefer something even lighter in color, try ‘Call Me Poetry’, a sheer, pearlescent shade with hints of gold.
4. Best Gray-Pink Polish For Fair Skin
Whether your fair skin has olive undertones or you simply prefer mauve-y colors in general, Revlon Nail Enamel in ‘Gray Suede’ is worth a try. Made with vitamin E to help condition your nails, Revlon's five-free formula uses a special chip-resistant film to protect your manicure, while the brand's ridge-filling complex creates an overall smoother finish. From the same line, ‘Sheer Pink’ and ‘Sheer Petal’ are also great neutral colors for fair skin.
5. Best Dusty Rose Polish For Fair Skin
CND has dozens of light, neutral colors to choose from, but ‘Satin Pajamas’ is a unique dusty rose shade with the most subtle silver sheen. The brand's Vinylux polish is one of my favorite long-wearing polishes, as the color really holds up for a full week and it only requires two steps (the color also serves as your base, and then you just seal it on with the top coat). Made with strengthening ingredients like keratin, jojoba oil, and vitamin E, CND's formula promises not to stain or yellow your nails, and it’s made without formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene, toluene, parabens, and dibutyl phthalate.
6. Best Sheer Pink Polish For Fair Skin
This innovative formula from Dazzle Dry enhances your nails with a sheer wash of soft pink color. The company was founded by a bio-organic chemist with the goal of creating nail polish that fully dries in five minutes and is actually good for your nails. The results require an extra step or two (start with the nail prep to remove any oil or lotion remnants from nails, apply your base coat, two coats of color, and finish with your top coat), but they're well worth it. The cruelty-free polish lasts for up to two weeks, is free from 10 undesirable ingredients (including nitrocellulose, which is responsible for causing nails to turn yellow), and the brand plants one tree for every product purchased.
7. Best Glittery Light Pink Polish For Fair Skin
When you want to amp up your neutral manicure, go for glitter. ILNP Boutique Nail Lacquer in ‘Birthday Suit’ creates a holographic effect with micro glitter flakes that add maximum sparkle to the beige-pink color. Despite the glittery effect, the polish has a completely smooth and glossy finish, which also makes it easier to remove. ILNP's polishes are vegan and cruelty-free, and they're free from seven potentially harmful ingredients, including formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate.
8. Best Light Pink Gel Polish For Fair Skin
You'll need an LED lamp for this polish (or a gel appointment at your local nail salon), but AIMEILI's ‘Rose Nude’ is an ideal pink color for fair-skinned gel manicure loyalists. The light pink polish has a sheer finish with one to two thin coats, but you can achieve a more opaque look by layering on an additional coat. Because of its sheerness, you can also use this color as a base for a French manicure.
9. Best Nude Nail Polish Set For Fair Skin
Zoya's ‘Under The Mistletoe’ Nail Polish Quad set gives you four soft-pink shades that fall under the neutral category, but offer a hint of flattering color for fair skin tones. Included in the set are ‘Zanna’, a rose-mauve shade that's the most vibrant color included; ‘Jill’, a creamier mauve; ‘Caresse’, a frosty pink; and ‘Lauren’, a metallic beige-pink. All of the polishes are free from formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, triphenyl phosphate, and other ingredients you probably don’t want in your nail polish.