September 12th, 2021
NAIL COLOR THEORY
Your guide on cool vs. warm shades— and how to choose your next polish.
It must be said that there is no such thing as color that’s “bad” or “wrong” for you—with even the smallest amount of conviction and confidence, any shade can work. There is, however, a science behind why certain colors seem to be your colors whether it’s neutral, bold, or bright in tone. This is where color theory comes into play: by analyzing hues, undertones, and complementary shades, you’re able to grasp which types of polishes might best suit your skin tone.
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR SKIN TONE
Skin tones fall under cool (blue in undertone), warm (golden or olive in undertone), or neutral (somewhere in between). Though it may be easy for some to determine their undertone with one look, it may not be so obvious for others; skin tone, after all, is incredibly nuanced. One of the simplest—if not quickest—tests to help find out where you fall on the spectrum is to use a standard sheet of white printer paper to compare against your inner wrists.
1. Compare your skin to the paper; does it look pinkish or blue-toned, or does it look golden to red? If the former, your skin is on the cooler side. If the latter, you have warm undertones.
2. Take a look at your veins, too. Blue veins are typical of cooler skin tones, green representative of warmer skin tones, and purple is usually indicative of a neutral undertone.
COOL VS. NEUTRAL VS. WARM
Cool shades, no matter the color, have a blue or pink tint. If you have a cooler undertone to your skin, choose shades like:
- LIGHT: Bespoked, a pastel beige with pink undertones
- RED: Guilty Pleasure, a hot cherry
- BLUE: In the Clouds, a pastel baby blue
- BRIGHT: Berry Punch, a statement, radioactive pink
- DEEP: True to Form, a deep greige-taupe
In The Clouds
Keep your feet on the ground, and your nails in the clouds. Baby blue skies are here to stay!
Neutral shades are that perfect balance between cool and warm. If you have neutral undertones, try shades like:
- LIGHT: Murray Me, a vanilla French crème with the slightest greige undertone
- RED: Double the Deck, a true, full-bodied red
- BLUE: Dainty Daze, a dreamy periwinkle
- BRIGHT: Tipps Time, a modern, tropical green with (surprise!) neutral undertones
- DEEP: Chim Cher-ee, a jet-black cream
With this perfect french vanilla cream, you'll have your suitor down on one knee.
Warm shades—again, no matter the color—have a gold or red tint. If you have a warmer undertone to your skin, choose shades like:
- LIGHT: The Full Monty, a warm, tea-tinted beige
- RED: Piccadilly Square, an ultra-bright blood orange
- BLUE: Reverse the Charges, a Mediterranean Sea blue
- BRIGHT: Flashback, a vibrant sunset orange
- DEEP: Chivvy Along, a decadent, deepened teal
A radiant sunset orange.
What are your current go-to lakurs? Share your favorite shades with us over at @londontownusa.
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