Beauty Trend To Try: Skin-Tone Nails

When we wrote about our fave spring nail polish trends earlier this year, a lot of you were skeptical about the foundation nails. We heard that it would look too "corpse-like," and "like something out of a horror movie," as well as the complaint that it didn't take darker skin tones into account.
Au contraire dear readers — not only is it a gorgeously chic trend, it's an all-encompassing one. We asked nail pro Deborah Lippmann to break down this trend and give you her tips for making foundation nails work with your skin tone. Read on for her advice, and to check out some of our fave fleshy polishes.
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Why are skin-tone nails such a hot look right now?

"If it’s done right, it’s an extremely chic and modern look. The nails are elongated and beautiful, and it doesn’t break up the hand the way that even a sheer pink or sheer white would. Opaque formulas are great because no nail shows through, so it’s an updated, stronger way to wear nude. It’s considered the most sophisticated nail look from the top fashion houses, beauty experts, and photographers – it’s a look that they’re all requesting because it’s so chic and modern."

Zoya Nail Polish in Farah, $8, available at Zoya.

Photo: Via Zoya
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You told us that matching your nails to your skin tone looks great because it's like "never-ending skin," but some of our readers were afraid it would give them dead-girl hands. What are your tips for avoiding that?

"Don’t go with colors that have too much gray – a lot of times we’re attracted to a color, but it doesn’t work when it’s on our nails. If you’re wearing a color that makes your nails look dead, your body is telling you that you chose a shade that is either too pink or too yellow for your skin tone.

When you go from wearing shades that pop on the nail, and then you put on a neutral shade – you may not be comfortable with the look at first because you’re just not used to seeing your nails like that. You can also try a shade with a tiny bit of shimmer to get more comfortable with the look."

Lippmann Collection Nail Lacquer in No More Drama, $16, available at Lippmann Collection.

Photo: Via Lippmann Collection
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How important are the undertones of a polish color when you are trying to match your skin tone?

"There is always a right way to wear neutrals and nudes so that it compliments your skin tone. If you’re looking for a nude shade in a bottle, it can be difficult – you really need to try it on to find the right match. Check the coloration of your skin near the cuticle – if the polish looks reddish or gray there, it may not be the best shade for you.

The cuticle should be the color of your skin, and if you put on the wrong color the cuticle looks pronounced. For example, if you have blue undertones and your cuticle looks red, then you chose a color with too much blue. If you have yellow undertone and your cuticle looks dark, then you chose a shade that’s too pink."

HIPPxRGB Nail Tint in T4, T1, T3, T2, $16 each, available at RGB Cosmetics.

Photo: Courtesy of RGB Cosmetics
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One of the biggest complaints people had with this trend is that there are less options available for women with darker skin. What are your suggestions for them?

"A concern with darker skin tones is that skin can get ashy-looking, and you have to consider that there is more yellow in the skin tone and choose a shade accordingly. If the cuticle turns any color that breaks up look of the skin extending, it’s the wrong shade. The cuticle can start to look really dark, then it breaks up the idea of never-ending skin, and you need to lighten the shade or go with a shade that has a little more yellow so that it complements the skin tone.

Darker skin tones can go more toward orange and yellow shades, and they can also wear a lot of purple shades. It depends on the color of the skin – there’s no definite yes or no, right or wrong, when it comes to finding the right shade."

Yves Saint Laurent La Lacque in Rich Coffee, $20, available at Bloomingdale's.

Photo: Via Bloomingdale's
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What if you can't find a shade that's an exact match for your skin? Are there easy ways to tweak the color to get it to match better?

"Sometimes you have a color that’s right, but you have to play with it. Tweak the coverage to make the shade your own, and to achieve the hue that you feel looks best. If the color looks a little light, try doing one thin coat, and then one heavier coat – you can also try to apply both coats heavier. If you play with the coverage, you can get the shade that works best for your skin tone."

Nails Inc. Nail Polish in Cadogan Square, $9.50, available at Sephora.

Photo: Via QVC