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17 Nail Polish Colors That Look Especially Stunning On Dark Skin

Give your manicure an easy upgrade with one of these shades.
August 14, 2020

It’s no secret that your skin tone plays a large role in helping curate the perfect beauty look. From finding your most flattering hair color to determining your ideal skin care routine, your skin tone is a factor you should consider. This also extends to your nails — and there are certain nail colors that just so happen to look particularly stunning against a dark complexion. Interested in learning more? Check out these 17 nail polish colors to take your manicure to the next level in the new year and beyond.

1. Cobalt Blue

Bold, bright colors look amazing on dark skin tones — whether we’re talking makeup, clothes, or nails. For a royal manicure, consider giving cobalt blue nails a try. We particularly love this look during the spring and summer months, but it can be worn at any time of year. To spice things up, play with a lighter shade of blue and a toothpick to create an intricate blue marble nail design.

2. Neon

Less a shade and more a color family, neons are the perfect match for dark skin tones. The fluorescent hues — neon green, neon purple, neon orange and so on — create the base for a stunning manicure. In fact, you may not consider neon versatile because it’s so loud, but neon colors look great on all skin tones and can easily be customized to create your desired hue intensity.

3. Cream

We love a beauty look that’s full of contrast, and manicures are no exception. One of our favorite nail colors for dark skin is cream. Unlike your fair-skinned friends, a light cream nail polish won’t wash out your skin tone. Rather, it’ll emphasize the deep, rich tones of your complexion. Plus, this neutral manicure option will match any outfit.

4. Taupe

As far as fall and winter nail colors for dark skin go, taupe is at the top of this list. This brown-meets-gray color will create contrast against your deep skin tone similar to cream nail polish but subtler. Consider pairing it with a gold glitter accent nail for a touch of glitz.
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5. Chocolate Brown

Chocolate brown is a complementary hue for almost any skin tone — and it’s especially flattening for those with deeper complexions. It’s a subtle, yet rich color that will continue to be on trend in 2022 for everything from hair color to nails.

6. Emerald

Who doesn’t love a rich green hue — it’s the same color as money! And painted on a fresh set of squoval, almond-shaped or stiletto nails, it’s sure to make your mani look like a million bucks. With landscape nail art and desert nails growing in popularity, you’ll see emerald paired with many shades of green and other gorgeous tints.

7. Gray

Whether you prefer light gray or charcoal, varying shades of gray are a great option for dark skin tones. Light gray will create a neutral contrast against your deep skin, while charcoal will further emphasize its dark tone. Consider combining the two shades into a two-toned gray manicure for the best of both worlds.

8. Silver

A shade that’s particularly popular during the holidays, we love silver for a single color manicure or one with tons of design. As iridescent and holographic nails make their way back onto the manicure hot list, silver nail polish will be a staple for any at-home or in-salon manicure.

9. Soft Pink

Just like bright, bold shades, soft pastels also create a beautiful contrast against dark skin tones. Try a pretty-in-pink nail look with soft, baby pink polish. You can even rock a half-and-half baby pink and nude accent nail for some subtle detail. 

10. Lilac

Another pastel hue we’re huge fans of, lilac is a beautiful nail color for dark skin during the spring and summer months (but year-round if your heart desires). You can even make it part of a modern French manicure. Instead of painting your nails a full coat of lilac, try creating lilac French tips in place of the traditional white.

11. Burgundy

A standout nail color for dark skin, burgundy is a deep and powerful shade often reserved for the colder months of the year. Pair it with a gold or silver metallic accent nail for a manicure you can rock for the holiday season and well into the spring and summer.

12. Eggplant Purple

Purple reigns as a universally flattering color that looks brilliant on all skin tones and against dark skin it’s especially beautiful. Eggplant, particularly, offers a rich, deep shade of purple that complements the richness in your dark skin.

13. Coral

Coral is bright, loud and unapologetically calling for attention — it’s the perfect year-round shade when you want a standout manicure. Try lots of different nail art trends in the shade — all at once if you’re really into the indie nail look.

14. Magenta

Another bold nail polish color that’s always striking on its own or paired with other colors, magenta is your go-to nail polish for dark skin for spring 2022. Try an all-over wash of the color with a matte finish to mix up your typical nail set.

15. Olive Green

A deliciously subtle hue of green, olive has been on trend for a few seasons now. We’ve seen it on everything from loungewear sets and sofas, to eyeshadow palettes and nail polish colors. Switch things up for your new year’s eve mani-pedi and try a cute olive green and black design with gold foil.

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16. Bright Orange

When it comes to vibrant colors, you can’t go wrong with bright orange. This is another color that tends to wash out those with pale skin, but if you have dark skin, it’ll only highlight your rich tone.

17. Black

If you think black doesn’t pop against darker skin tones, think again. The ultimate versatile shade for everyone, it’s the perfect base for intricate nail art and simple geometric designs. Check out our article, 10 Easy Black Nail Designs To Try For Your Next Manicure, for more ideas on how to use this gorgeous color for your next nail set.

Next: 12 Manicure Ideas That Are Perfect For A Bride

Written by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Lauren Phelps, IG/@lolo.nailedit

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