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Choose Your Next Nail Color With Color Theory

3 min to read
With as many color options as Manucurist offers, it may have you wondering "how can I possibly know what color looks best on me?" Fear not! We have some tips from our color experts in Paris to help you choose the best color to compliment and impress!

What is Color Theory?

In the artistic realm, color theory is the science and art of using color, how humans perceive color and how different colors mix to match or contrast each other. Using some basic color theory rules, you can easily find which colors best suit your natural shades and tones!

Color Theory uses the science of shade and colors to mix, emphasize and compliment our natural tones.
© Pixabay

Warm, Cool or Neutral?

Is your skin warm-toned, neutral-toned, or cool-toned? One important thing to note is that skin tone is not the same as skin shade, for example someone with a pale skin shade can have a warm skin tone. The easiest way to determine skin tone is to look at the veins on the outside of your hand. Veins that appear bluish indicate a cool tone, veins that appear green indicate a warm tone, and veins that look somewhere in the middle indicate a neutral tone!

Do not confuse skin tone and color!


Look for darker colors such as gray, brown, burgundy, greens, navy and bold shades of blue. Focus on colors that are concentrated on the cool end of the color wheel - these include purples, greens, grays and blues.

Are you cool toned? Go for colors on the cooler end of the color wheel! Rich shades that mix dark and light.

Colors to avoid? lighter pastel shades or bright neons can work against your skin tone... this doesn't mean to avoid color but just to look for shades that mix dark and light. Instead of opting for a bright coral.. look for for something closer to a cool toned coral like a gingery-pink shade (We recommend Green Flash Bois de Rose)

Neutrals: rather than stark white or light beige, choose something with a richer color profile like carmel, khaki or slate gray. (Check out: Green Flash Hollyhock, Green Flash Khaki, Green Flash Anthracite)

Other colors to try for Cool-Toned skin: Green Flash Aubergine, Green Flash Lilas, Green Flash Ultramarine, Green Flash Amande, Green Flash Lisa Lilas, Green Flash Dark Pansy, Green Flash Poison


People who are warm-toned tend to have an easier time working with most colors and shades, however to compliment your tone the best you may want to opt for shades that are more towards the brighter or darker end of the spectrum as opposed to something in the middle.

If your tone warm? Look for pure, light or dark shades to perfectly suit you.

Neutrals: pure whites, pigmentent darks like black, navy blue or deep chestnut (Green Flash Snow, Green Flash Dark Night and Green Flash Chestnut)

Colors to Avoid: If you have noticeable green or yellow undertones, it may be best to avoid shades of these colors as well as colors very close to your skin tone as it can end up clashing or washing you out.

Other colors to try for Warm-Toned skin: Green Flash Hortencia, Green Flash Bird of Paradise, Green Flash Dark Night, Green Flash Red Coral, Green Flash Blossom, Green Flash Mint, Green Flash Sunset.


Anyone with this tone gets the best of both worlds! Both warm-toned and cool-toned shades will mostly work for you! Try to avoid shades that match your skin exactly as it could wash you out. Neons like Yellow or Green may also be harder tones to wear for neutral toned people.

Try: Green Flash Crème, Green Flash Clay, Green Flash Mimosa, Green Flash Petit Pois

If your tone neutral? You can pull off almost anything! Just try to avoid shades very close to your skin color.

To go one step further, you can match nail colors to your phototype. This includes not only your skin shade, but your eye color and hair color. These prototypes can be broken into 4 categories: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring.

Also, check out our Color Theory Quiz for curated colors!

At the end of the day, no matter what skin tone, hair color or eye color you have, you should ALWAYS try, wear and feel confident in whatever color you like! Feel free to push the color boundaries and experiment with tones… maybe you will find a new favorite!