It’s that time of year where we switch out our summer dresses for warm sweaters and get ready to embrace autumn. But fall colors don’t need to be limited to your wardrobe! Nail polish is a great way to transition into the new season and indulge in the latest trends. It can subtly alter your look and doesn’t break the bank. While you might be tempted to stick to the same tried and true neutrals and rosy hues, a bold color can work for women of all ages. Not to mention—this year, your signature lipstick might be covered up by a mask, so why not show off your personality with your nail choices instead? Let’s explore the best fall nail polish colors and delve into how to choose a shade to suit your skin tone.
Finding the best fall nail polish colors to complement your skin tone can be tricky. The first step is establishing whether your skin’s undertone is warm, cool, or neutral. Those with warm undertones will have skin that appears to be yellow or golden while cool-toned skin often looks more rosy or pink. The simplest rule of thumb to follow is that the undertone of your polish should match the undertone of your skin. So, for example, if you have warm skin, you should gravitate towards warm polishes.
The depth of your skin color is also a factor. Some shades work better on deeper skin tones while others will pop more against paler skin. Of course, all rules are meant to be broken. Luckily a poorly matched hue can be gone in a flash with a cotton ball and some nail polish remover. So feel free to take some risks this season with a fresh and on-trend shade.
Let’s start with a perennial fall classic. Whenever the temperature drops, we find ourselves reaching for nail polish colors that match our favorite red wines. On deeper skin tones, shades of cabernet or syrah can look elegant and subtle. If you have pale skin, however, the result can be truly striking. In moodier hues like these, the undertone matters less than it does with lighter nude shades so feel free to try any bottle that catches your eye.
In the last year, warm brown hues have exploded in popularity. Whether it’s in fashion, home decor, or even graphic design, we’ve been seeing rust tones everywhere. This can be a somewhat challenging color to pull off when it comes to nail polish, especially for those with cool undertones. Because the shade range is inherently so warm, it can clash with skin colors on the opposite end of the spectrum. The darker you go, however, the more forgiving the color will be against your skin.
There are countless shades of red nail polish, but one of the most on-trend right now is a poppy cherry red. This mid-toned hue is a classic that still manages to feel fresh and modern. This shade can lean either warm or cool. If your skin is more golden, opt for a more tomato red and if you have rosy undertones try a polish that looks like a true crimson.
We never tire of pumpkin spice season, so why shouldn’t we extend this trend to our nails? Burnt orange and terracotta hues are emblematic of autumn, and they can make for a bold fall nail polish choice. Spice shades can tend to be relatively warm, so opting for less bright and more neutral hues in the shade range can be a safer bet depending on your undertone.
Though this may seem like a daring pick, a dark enough shade can practically look like a neutral. This trending color can be as bold as you want it to be depending on whether you choose a more vibrant or subdued shade. Some dark greens can lean towards teal, which makes for great picks if you have cool skin. Colors that seem to have a hint of olive will work better if your skin has yellow undertones.
If you typically tend towards neutral beige polishes, try stepping out of your comfort zone this season with a gray shade instead. Stone colors can be just as versatile for every day, but they’re notoriously hard to match to your skin tone. The wrong grey can give skin a sickly cast, which we definitely want to avoid. This is one color range where you’ll get the most flattering effect if you stick to the rules and pick a shade whose undertone matches that of your skin.
Though nude shades are eternally popular, it’s good to switch out your everyday picks every now and then to keep things fresh. And considering we’re all staying home more these days, it might be a good time to opt for something low maintenance. The neutrals that are popular this season have a rosy hue to them that could lean towards either peach, apricot, or classic pastel pink. Whether you choose something sheer or opaque, you can’t go wrong with a color in this ubiquitous range.
If you want to add some metallics to your repertoire, a coppery shade is a great way to do so while keeping things neutral. Your nails will shine like a brand new penny with these shimmery warm tones. Coppers can vary widely to be more gold or more bronze, but there’s one out there to suit every skin type.
Looking for color inspiration for your wardrobe? Check out our guide on how to wear Pantone’s colors of the year.