For most of my life, I've been a red nail polish devotee. There was a time when I only ever painted my nails red, and you'd never see me with any other color on my fingertips. I still love making a statement with bold nail polish colors, but I've learned to embrace softer, more subtle nail polish shades in the past few years.
While I'd argue that when it comes to nail polish, red is a neutral, there's something to be said for truly neutral nail colors. These nail colors, particularly in sheer washes, go with absolutely everything. Sheer nail polish is perfect for any occasion, it goes with everything in your closet, and it's kind of like a filter for your nails—they'll look low-key but still polished.
Keep reading for the best-selling and editor-favorite sheer nail polishes, separated into categories for every color.
If gel manicures are your usual vibe, this petal-pink nail polish is chip- and fade-resistant, mimicking an in-salon manicure.
The gushing customer review: "I wanted a very sheer pink, the kind my manicurist uses for my gel French manicure. This is sheer! I did the recommended two coats of color and one of clear, and this looks like I just had a gel manicure."
This chip-resistant color will last you for at least seven days, so if chips are your downfall, this is the perfect nail polish for you. It's also the perfect shade of cool pink.
The gushing customer review: "I'm getting good wear from this one. No chips in the first 36 hours. The color is sheer and a great neutral pink for cool skin tones."
Beige-toned pink is the ideal flirty-yet-classy polish. JinSoon nail polishes last almost as well as a gel manicure, which is reason enough to try this polish out.
The gushing customer review: "Amazing quality and perfect color. It's so long-lasting. I love it."
This chestnut-leaning warm nude packs a major punch on your nails.
The gushing customer review: "This is the bomb! I can easily apply it to my nails myself. It does not chip. It does not crack. It stays completely on. It dries fast, and it stays on for almost two weeks."
This almond nail color has a hint of shimmer for an eye-catching detail.
The gushing customer review: "I have over 500 bottles of nail polish (all kinds of brands), and this polish is definitely a favorite of mine. The brush is so awesome. You can get your whole nail covered in one or two strokes, depending on the size of your nails."
This super-sheer brown was formulated to enhance your natural nails. Plus, the formula is blended with nourishing ingredients that keep your nails healthy.
The gushing customer review: "I consider this color a BB cream for nails. It evens them out and makes them look so natural and lovely."
Formulated with argan oil for moisturizing benefits, this sheer nude also gives the dreamiest pearl touch.
The gushing customer review: "I like that it makes my nails look nicer than if I just put clear polish on them—it looks more classy. It also takes all week to even start chipping on me, and I don't even use a top coat."
This sheer tan color looks good on absolutely everyone.
The gushing customer review: "I'm a sucker for neutral colors, so I have many. This color is the perfect neutral. One coat gives nice sheer coverage, but it's totally buildable for a more opaque look."
This sheer ivory is understated but looks so sophisticated. It's essentially a Chanel bag for your nails.
The gushing customer review: "I am in love with this nail polish! I like natural nails, so this gives a polished look but looks very natural. It dries fast, so you don't have to worry about messy nails. Looks great on my feet too."