For the love of neutral nails

If you find a flattering neutral nail polish, well, you have pretty much nailed the HG of your beauty kit. Neutral nails are elegant, look cool, make your hands look younger and go with everything. You’re ready for anything! But neutral nails aren’t a one-size-fits-all proposition, and it isn’t always easy to choose the one for you. So let’s go deep into colour science and explore the neutral nail palette.

neutral nail polish glass bottle with timber cap by sienna and baby's breath flower in the background

We love neutrals

If you’ve followed us from our launch way-back-when, you’ll know we are pretty big fans of the neutral nail. One of our earliest shades was a gorgeous sheer caramel (still with us!) and we’ve always had a penchant for organic tones. Sienna has always been inspired by the natural beauty of our world and this, paired with one of our core values of “beauty for all”, means we have a pretty rocking collection of neutrals that work for everyone. We’re a gang of neautralistas!

neutral beige sheer nail polish hand swatch on medium skin tone by sienna Image: Barefoot Dancer

Neutral nail inspo

Of course, there are no rules when it comes to choosing a colour. If there is a colour you love, even if it’s not traditional for your skin tone or fashionable right now, you mani-up and rock it! And some colours just look fabulous on everyone. But if it is a neutral nail colour you’re after, experts agree that the secret is going one-to-two shades lighter or darker than your actual skin tone. So without further ado, here is some neutral nail inspo to get you started.

Dark skin tones

The world is your nail bar, you lucky human. Dark and deep skin tones handle most nail colours with style and the only one you should avoid is greige – the lovechild of grey and beige – as it tends to make your hands look dull and washed out. No thank you. However, warm clay and dark rose crème are beautiful choices. One of our top picks would have to be rich brown with a touch of red and it is an insanely good look on darker skin tones. When in doubt, look for a polish that sounds like it could conceivably be part of your morning coffee order – we’re talking about colours like coffee, mocha, chocolate and cocoa.

Dark pink purple nail polish hand swatch on dark skin tone by sienna Image: Blush

Medium skin tones

Creamy beige is a good friend to the medium skin toned. Pale, creamy beige nail polishes work so well because they hit the sweet spot between highlighting the tan tones in the skin while giving just the right amount of contrast. It’s a lush look. Other colours to make your mani sing are peach, caramel, dusty mauves and pink polishes with white undertones.

dusty mauve pink nail polish hand swatch on medium skin tone by sienna Image: Rosie

Olive skin tones

Do you have olive skin? Sheer caramel polish with slight red undertones looks beyond chic and is a polished, sophisticated manicure that doesn’t look at all flat. Perfect. If you’re on the paler end of olive skin, head on over and check out this peachy tone of the neutral polish family. Peach gives your nails a look that is warm and glowy with good health. It’s especially cute during summer.

Peach nude nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna
Image: Helena

Light skin tones

An opaque light champagne pink crème is one of those magical nail colours that is universally flattering, but we have to say it is ridiculously beautiful on lighter skin tones. For neutral nails with a touch more contrast, try a soft blush pink with white undertones like our much-loved Melody, which looks amazing on medium skin tones too, btw.

Light pink nude nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna
Image: Serenity

Fair skin tones

The vibe we’re going for here is ‘your nails, but better’ and the best neutral nail polish colour to achieve this is pink. Pink plays to both the pink and blue undertones common in people with fair skin and a soft flush of sheer pink is super- flattering. If you can find one with a lovely glossy finish, even better. If an opaque creme finish is more your style, try something fresh and bright against your colouring.

Nude pink shimmer nail polish hand swatch on fair skin tone by sienna

Image: Embrace


How did we do? We hope you found some neutral nail inspiration. We swatch our colours on different skin tones on our website if you’d like to see more. And if we’re missing a neutral for your skin tone, let us know.

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