In case you haven't noticed, we veer a tad mani-obsessed over here at WWW, and nothing brings out our passion for polish like the changing of the seasons. Fall is here (and winter is coming!), so we've been toes- and fingers-deep in all things centered around fall nail inspiration. We've talked ourselves blue about the best gel polishes for fall if you can't stand chips, the "ugly" nail color that's reaching fever-pitch popularity, and even the October-specific shades that feel festive, not cheesy.
We work hard to make sure all of our nail coverage is inclusive, but here, we're celebrating the best fall nail colors to enhance brown and Black skin, specifically. To get some expert-led guidance, we reached out to four celebrity nail artists who regularly work with legendary women like Beyoncé, Joan Smalls, Naomie Harris, and Paloma Elsesser (and so many more) to glean their top nail color picks for fall. However, this isn't to say dark skin tones can only wear certain hues this season. Please wear whatever fall nail color you please! (But getting some inside strategy courtesy of the best manicurists in the world isn't an opportunity we'll ever pass up.)
"There isn't one specific shade I don't think is flattering on dark skin," notes Mimi D, an L.A.–based editorial manicurist and nail artist to stars like Tabitha Brown, Ciara, Skai Jackson, and Tess Holliday. "Because everyone has different undertones, I think it's important to test out as many shades as possible to find out which shades don't work for you."
Keep scrolling! Below, our expert panel of nail pros are sharing the specific bottles of polish that look *especially* stunning on dark skin tones.
OPI Nail Polish in My Italian Is a Little Rusty
"This vibrant bronze nail color has coppery tones, which add a shimmering contrast against brown and deep skin tones," shares celebrity nail stylist Gina Edwards, who works with clients such as Laura Harrier, Smalls, and Elsesser.
Emilie Heathe Nail Polish in Big Night Out
Edwards is also a fan of Emilie Heathe's 10-free formula: "This medium purple nail color works well on light brown to medium skin tones and adds a beautiful warmth to the skin."
Dior Vernis Nail Lacquer in Junon
"Darker skin tones should stay away from medium to light gray nail colors that don't have a blue base," notes Edwards. "These types of shades can make your skin look dull, so I recommend opting for a moody gray similar to this blue-ish hue from Dior."
Pro tip: I am a true believer in layering and mixing—there are times you just can't achieve the ideal color. If you are in-between shades for a selection, try mixing two shades together in an empty bottle. Always start with the lighter shade in the bottle and add just a tiny bit of your dark color and then mix. Repeat these steps until you achieve the color of your dreams.
Pear Nova Nail Polish in Michelle Our Mama
In addition to being Beyoncé's nail artist (so jealous), celebrity manicurist Lisa Logan is also the owner of The Nail Suite, a New York City–based salon where, she says, many clients have been requesting brown, yellow, and orange nail colors. Logan highly recommends this new shade from Pear Nova.
Nails Inc. Nail Polish in Meet Me on Regents Street
Looking for a flattering shade of rich, glossy burgundy? Logan specifically recommends this stunning (and fast-drying!) nail color from Nails Inc. to complement darker skin tones.
LaPierre Cosmetics Nail Polish in No, It's Navy!
Logan tells us she's a big fan of this blue-black shade of navy, but to keep it super flattering for dark skin, she recommends steering clear of shimmering versions of the popular fall hue.
"I'm not always a fan of colors that are shimmery or metallic on darker skin—I almost always prefer to see solid shades."
Pear Nova Nail Polish in Kissu Miss You
"Kissu Miss You is a vibrant shade that's reminiscent of the color-changing leaves of fall," says Mimi D. "I love this for deep skin tones because it will pop!"
Pro tip: If you love a polish shade but you want it to pop more, add a layer of white polish prior to your color, and that will help it look more vibrant.
China Glaze Nail Polish in Mustard the Courage
According to Mimi D, this classic shade from China Glaze is the perfect shade of mustard yellow. "It was released two years ago, and it's still one of my favorites."
Pro tip: All polish looks better on well-hydrated skin—be sure you're using a cuticle oil multiple times a day!
Ella+Mila Nail Polish in Bags Are Packed
"This is an amazing jewel-cobalt shade of blue," gushes Mimi D. "Jewel tones look amazing on darker skin, and this is an excellent shade of blue to try."
Editor's note: The exact OPI shade Mimi D recommended is no longer available, but this royal blue pick from Ella+Mila is an exact match.
OPI Nail Lacquer in Samoan Sand
In addition to working with celebrity names like Harris, Ashley Graham, Beyoncé, Smalls, and many more, celebrity manicurist Mo Qin owns renowned luxury nail spa Oh My Nails. If you're on the hunt for a flattering sandy shade of beige, she recommends this best-selling nail color from OPI.
"This is a light, sandy, peachy-beige cream polish. It's the perfect fall color for warm, medium brown skin tones and is very easy to wear."
J.Hannah Nail Polish in Ghost Ranch
"I love this color," Qin tells us. "I use this color for so many photo shoots—the burnt orange shade is ideal for fall days when you want to be a little bolder."
Pro tip: Colors with a hint of orange are flattering for darker skin complexions. And it’s always fun to try some nail art! If you don’t want anything too complicated, using the same color in different tones on each hand or alternating colors can be different, too.
CND Nail Polish in Brick Knit
"Red nail polish is always classy for fall!" continues Qin. "I love a soft red like this one from CND because it’s gentle on the eye but has the prettiest romantic undertones."
Pro-tip: Prioritize fall nail colors with a glossy finish over matte. All colors are beautiful in their own way, but one thing I think to keep in mind is that matte colors can easily make skin look ashy. When in doubt, glossy is always the right answer.