We’re officially in the throes of spring, which can only mean one thing when it comes to nail polish: It’s time to bring on the pink. This year, though, the hottest pink isn’t the Pantone-recommended Rose Quartz (pretty as it is) — it’s whichever hue complements your unique skin color.
That’s the ethos celebrity manicurist and polish legend Deborah Lippmann had in mind when she released Pretty in Pink ($34, valued at $72), a limited-edition set of six top-selling pink shellacs. Each shade is designed to fit any skin tone, Lippmann told Yahoo Beauty, making the set a spring must-have and a universal gift. But if you’re more of a pick-a-shade-a-season kind of polish-wearer, Lippmann has a few tips for you.
Cooler skin tone? Go for bluer pinks.
If you’re able to try on a polish before buying (or getting a manicure), brush it on one nail from tip to cuticle and let it dry for a minute. “You can see which colors work for you — or not — by looking at the cuticle area,” says Lippmann. “If the skin around the cuticle looks darker or more red than the rest of your skin, you’re wearing the wrong color polish.”
If you need to tell if a polish will work without trying it on for size, know this: “When you are choosing your shade, you want to avoid extreme contrast,” Lippmann explains. “A blue-pink nail polish on someone with yellow skin will make the skin look even more yellow. If you have a cool skin tone, warm pinks like peachy pinks or salmon colors will make your skin look even more pink.”
Warm skin tones work well with peachy pinks.
As a general rule, she says, “neutral pinks go with every skin tone, blue pinks are best with neutral to cool skin tones, and peachy/warm pinks go best with neutral to warm skin tones.”
There’s also nail length to consider, though Lippmann suggests a little more leniency. “There’s more freedom to wear whatever color you like, no matter the length of the nail,” she says. “However, if you wear a darker or brighter color, more focus will be drawn to the nail. And when worn on short nails, darker colors have the potential to make hands and fingers look even shorter.” Translation: If you’re afraid of Trump hands, reach for paler polish.
Not warm, not cool? Reach for a neutral pink as well.
At the end of the day, it’s all about picking the polish that makes you happy. A pink that flatters your skin tone is always a good choice, but if you crave the brightest, most Bubblicious pink, even though it’s not your perfect match, go for it — the smile alone is worth it.