Ever since I can remember, I've been partial to neutral nail polish shades I can count on to complement my dark skin tone while working well with the bright whites, blues, and earth tones that make up the bulk of my wardrobe. Despite this, until recently, brown nail polish was never my first pick when faced with an expansive selection of shades at the salon. Here's the thing—I spent over 11 years of my childhood avoiding anything other that OPI's Bubble Bath, Put in Neutral, and Sweet Heart due to my dance studio's strict rule of keeping our nails natural-looking, clean, and clipped at all times.
Little did I know that as a melanin-blessed ballerina, there were about twice as many shades of brown across a number of brands that were my nude. Now, as a beauty editor, I've come to the conclusion, based on expert findings and my own exploration with products, that neutral nail polish shades, particularly brown colors, are perpetually in style. Year after year, shades of brown are spotted on and off the runways, worn by award-winning celebrities on red carpets and all the fashion people populating your Instagram Explore page.
Keep reading to take a look at some of the trendiest brown nail colors that we'll be seeing on only the most stylish people this season, from OPI's cult-classic Espresso Yourself to the ever-luxurious Les Mains Hermès Nail Enamel in Brun Bistre. I've even provided a few of my go-to manicure tools to get the perfect nail look every time. You're welcome!
The Best Brown Nail Colors
I'm itching to try this sophisticated chocolaty brown polish with creamy depth and richness. Like all nail polish by Londontown, it offers a gel-like wear, shine, and high-impact color.
London Fog happens to be one of my favorite drinks to splurge on, so it should be no surprise Ella+Mila's nail polish of the same name is one of my favorite shades. It's a smoky brown that's delightfully moody.
On the hunt for a rosy-brown shade that's a little more rose than brown? I've got you covered. Described by OPI as being a "wildly sweet candy brown nail polish," Chocolate Mousse has been spotted time and again on your favorite celebrities.
This deep coffee brown nail polish is balanced by red undertones—ideal to re-create the vampy nail trend championed by Selena Gomez on the 2024 Emmys red carpet.
There's something so chic about rosy-brown nail polish shades. Espresso Your Inner Self is a crowd favorite thanks to its unique combination of light auburn and yummy espresso brown.
Described by Essie as "a warm mushroom brown," this mid-tone, neutral tan nail polish with yellow undertones works well with all skin tones and anything you're in the mood to wear.
Here's another coffee-inspired shade the most stylish people are loving lately. Essie's Take the Espresso strikes the perfect balance between a dark chocolate brown and black.
When I get my hands on this decadent warm coffee brown shade, there's a good chance you'll rarely see me without it on. Inspired by everyone's favorite chocolate treat, this indulgent nail polish color is almost too good to be true.
I'm convinced that milk chocolate should be considered one of the most wearable neutral shades of the year. If you're ready to give it a try, opt for one that's versatile and wearable, like Hawaii Beach by Nails Inc.
Mid-day Mocha is a cool-toned soft-brown quick-dry nail polish that applies smoothly and evenly, delivers, shine, and looks incredibly stylish no matter the season you decide to break out the Essie bottle.
Adding a little shimmer to your look is made easy with OPI's eye-catching Hot Toddy Naughty. Part of the holiday Terribly Nice Collection, the metallic shade is the answer to all your hot toddy cravings year-round.
For all my red lovers out there, you should seriously consider adding Ella+Mila's Holiday Fling to your collection. It's a rich brown with whispers of burgundy for added depth and intrigue.
I'm no manicurist, but I would say Essie's Generation Zen is a perfect match to the stunning nail polish shade in the shot above by UK-based manicurist Iram Shelton. The tranquil mauve taupe gray nail polish is as stylish as it gets.
Clearly, the most popular caffeinated drinks serve as inspiration for several of the best brown nail polish shades. Cup O'Latte captures the coziness of settling down with your favorite drink while delivering smooth and even pigment.
So, okay—this nail polish looks and smells exactly like dark chocolate. Nails Inc Meet Me on Mars offers high pigment payoff and an ultra-glossy, high-sheen finish that will have complete strangers begging to know what you're wearing on your nails.
If you're partial to nail polish shades with a gray or black undertone, OPI's Cliffside Karaoke offers a dark chestnut brown reminiscent of towering seaside cliffs.
Mid-tone brown shades are hit-or-miss, but Essie's Cold Brew Crew will always be a favorite of mine. Featuring vibrant red undertones, this nail polish is an updated, fashion-forward take on your everyday clay color.
Luxury nail polish isn't always on my radar, but the Les Main Hermès Nail Enamel line keeps me reaching for my credit card. Brun Bistre is my favorite.
Who says you have to pick just one shade? Deborah Lippmann's limited-edition Chocolate Cravings Set covers all the bases with six shades of brown that can be mixed and matched to perfection.
Products for the Perfect Manicure
No manicure is complete without taking the time to prep your nails. Before reaching for my pick of brown polish, I use The Buff Plus on my nails to create the perfect canvas to apply the polish to or bring out their natural rosy glow.
Salon-quality results in minutes without breaking the bank? Sign me up! Butter London's Signature Nail Care Kit comes with three tools (including clippers) and a zip-up carrying case with enough space for the rest of your nailcare essentials.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from my manicurist is to apply cuticle oil before hitting the sheets to refresh my nails overnight. I'm now on my third tube of this shea nail and cuticle oil by L'Occitane since it's done a marvelous job at keeping my nails and cuticles healthy.
I’m Bored of White French Tips, so I’m Asking for This Trending Style Next
Perfect for spring is an understatement.
By Grace Lindsay
11 Spring Nail Trends That Always Look So Chic
We'll be re-creating these ASAP.
By Maya Thomas
I've Got Chanel on the Brain: 11 $100-and-Under Beauty Products I'm Coveting
Sometimes you don't have break the bank for luxury.
By Kaitlyn McLintock
If You Think Valentine's Day Nail Designs Are Too Obvious, You'll Love These 15
They're subtle and sophisticated.
By Kaitlyn McLintock
Experts Agree: These 8 New Beauty Trends Are Already Taking Over 2024
Your new GRWM manifesto.
By Morgan Fargo
I Thought This Nail Trend Was Over—These Timeless Designs Just Convinced Me Otherwise
I'm booking an appointment, stat.
By Mica Ricketts
11 Anti-Trend and Expensive Nail Colours That Will Never Go Out of Style
Must-haves for your at-home mani.
By Grace Day
I’m a Pro at Spotting Nail Trends—This Spring-Ready Colour Is About to Take Over
The new soft hue to ask for.
By Grace Lindsay