I've Done the Research—These Nail Colours Look Amazing on Dark Skin Tones

Nail art really seems to be prominent online right now, from bright geometric shapes to minimalist nude designs. You could spend hours picking a design and having it painstakingly applied. But I have to confess I rarely get nail art. For me, I genuinely don’t think anything is better than a glossy, rich, all-over colour for a manicure and pedicure. I love to try the full spectrum of colours on my feet especially, and by doing so, I have without doubt found the best nail colours for dark skin.

Melanin has the ability to make even the most marmite shades look brighter and richer, so I tend to take advantage of that with rainbow-hued pedicures, and when I don’t have to keep my nails nude for work, I’ll have fun with a colourful but classic manicure pick, whether that’s a forest green (a key colour for autumn nails), a raspberry pink or a wine red. In fact, I so badly want to wear all the flattering shades that I get annoyed that gels, which I tend to opt for, last a month, and I have to wait for my next colour pick. A new colour choice I’ve recently been loving is a brown nail shade that matches Black skin rather than your nail plate. It can be really elongating and an interesting take on nude. To be honest, there aren’t many nail colours that don’t suit dark skin, but there are some that look extra special.

So ahead, I present to you the absolute best nail colours for deep skin tones.

1. Translucent Pink


(Image credit: @lefevrediary)

The glazed-doughnut look is one of the hottest nail trends right now, and the pearlescent effect is perfect for deeper skin tones. Start with a light and not-too-opaque pink nude and then layer over your pearlescent shade for gloss and sparkle.

2. Poppy Red


A poppy red really brings out the richness of dark skin, especially in summer when skin is sun-kissed. My trick to really make this colour stand out is to apply a layer or white as a base coat before adding two coats of your chosen varnish.

3. Pistachio


(Image credit: @browngirlhands)

This is the first of a few greens on the list, and that's because I think green is simply unrivalled on dark skin. This light hue does scream spring, but I’m a rule breaker and wear it all year round.

4. Deep Nude


(Image credit: @oliveandjune)

Chanel has incorporated skin-tone nude nail paints in its most recent beauty launches, breaking down the collection by undertones, so you know that this trend is about to take off. I think it really makes nails look longer and more elegant, no matter the length.

5. Lilac


(Image credit: @browngirlhands)

The blue undertone to this particular lilac-purple might look a little stark on lighter skin tones, but dark skin warms it up.

6. Khaki


Another shade that can look harsh but on deep skin looks almost instantly warm. If you’re a fan of nude nails and tend to stick to more classic colours, this is a good way to gently come out of your comfort zone, as it is nude adjacent.

7. Barbie Pink


(Image credit: @imarninails)

If I could wear this colour every single day in some way, shape or form, I would. In fact, I often do. It complements deeper complexions so well. You’re missing a trick if you haven’t tried it yet.

8. Peach Ice Tea


(Image credit: @imarninails)

This kind of ice-tea hue is the epitome of a summer shade for me. I love this ombré design, but either of the peachy shades used alone would look stunning against dark skin.

9. Forest Green


(Image credit: @imarninails)

I have this shade on my nails as I type, and I can’t remember the last time I received so many compliments on my manicure. The depth of green matching the depth of my sun tan enhances my skin tone, and it’s a great way to welcome in the autumn.

10. Baby Blues


(Image credit: @imarninails)

The iciness of this blue makes it almost as standout on dark skin as a neon hue. I can’t wait to wear it this festive season.

11. Denim Blue


(Image credit: @oliveandjune)

This is a mid-tone colour that doesn’t get as much love as I think it should, especially on darker skin. I think it has an elegance to it because, despite it being a more trend-led hue, it’s muted on dark skin tones.

12. Neon Citrus


(Image credit: @oliveandjune)

A step up from poppy red—you haven’t explored the richness of your melanin if you haven’t opted for a neon orange (or pink or yellow) at least once.

13. Back to Black


(Image credit: @varnishlane)

Black will always be timeless and versatile, whether you want to channel something grungier or go for something Chanel-chic.

14. Classic Red


(Image credit: @hollyfalconenails)

A classic red with a blue undertone is the shade that suits all skin tones and every occasion. If you haven’t got this colour in your polish collection, remedy that ASAP.