Each year, I find myself being drawn to neutral tones more and more.
When I was younger, I thought that brighter was better, but I now realize how well neutral colors withstand the test of time.
Whether I’m decorating my home with neutrals (literally all I use), purchasing essential clothing items for the season, or painting my nails, I always gravitate towards simple, classic tones.
Neutral nail colors are especially lovely. It’s always fun to do a bright pink or red – trust me I get it – but good neutral nail colors will go with literally any outfit you choose.
There are many different shades of neutral nails and different nude colors in general, depending on the season and occasion.
This post will hopefully help you figure out exactly what neutral shade you’re looking for and why!
What Colors Are Neutral?
Neutral nail colors come in a surprisingly wide variety of shades. Neutral tones are basically any colors that won’t show up on a color wheel. They generally don’t compete with other colors but instead act as a supporting background shade.
You can easily break neutral colors down by looking at the main groups of neutral colors: white, beige, grey, black, brown, and blue.
Some of these color groups will overlap (for example, a warm, pearly off-white might have a hint of beige) but these are generally the main groups that any neutral nail colors will fit into.
Tips For Choosing a Neutral Nail Color
Almost any neutral nail colors will work with most outfit pieces, so it can actually be pretty hard to choose. I like to start off by figuring out what neutral colors work best for the current season.
While color is always in fashion during the spring, neutrals look really beautiful as well.
Soft pearly whites, light pink tones, nude colors, and gentle beige and grey tones always look good. Spring is all about soft colors.
As one of the most vibrant seasons, summer is the best time to go colorful, but if you’re wanting to stay classic and opt for a neutral (as I often do), you can get a little bolder.
A bright white, lighter grey or beige, or blue tone (including navy) will all look great in the summer.
This is definitely one of the warmest seasons (color-wise!) so you can’t go wrong as long as you steer clear of the colder tones.
A warm off-white, beige, brown, and even a softer black work well for the autumn season.
During the winter, opt for light and cool or dark. For example, you can go for a soft grey, a snowy white, or a light icy blue, but you can also choose a deep brown, grey, cherry black, or regular black.
After you figure out what color scheme you’re working with based on the season, it’s much easier to choose a specific shade.
I included all of my favorite neutral colors below categorized by their base color.
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A Note On Shiny vs. Matte
I’ve linked all of the specific colors below, but depending on how you want your finish to be, you’ll need to use a top coat that’s either shiny or matte. In my opinion, these are the best ones that will last the longest:
- Gel Base
- Regular Base
- Gel Top Coat: Shiny
- Regular Top Coat: Shiny
- Gel Top Coat: Matte
- Regular Top Coat: Matte
If you get your nails done at a salon, you can ask most nail technicians for a matte top coat if that’s what you prefer. In my experience, nail technicians go with a shiny top coat if you don’t specify.
I included a few inspiration photos for trendy nails in each color group below. I started with the lightest nails, so if you’re looking for darker neutral nails, scroll to the middle/bottom of the post.
Feel free to save any photos you like to your camera roll (hold the photo down then click save to camera roll) so you can show your nail technician later.
There are a bunch of different white tones that will work for many seasons. They look great with a shiny and matte finish.
White is a classic go-to! It’s my favorite neutral nail color for the summer, but I also love a softer white in the winter and a warmer white in the spring.
Pink and nude nail colors are great go-tos for literally any month.
Whether you do your nails at home or head to the salon and just want some inspiration, I hope these choices help you!
When in doubt, go with neutral nail colors – you definitely won’t regret the choice.