My Nude Manicure Edit

In the early days of this blog, I had a rainbow collection of nail polish. Essie was my drug of choice, and my nails were always painted in a candy-colored shade of royal blue, turquoise, mint green, lavender, hot pink or bright red. My nail polish stash filled my Caboodle (one of the last remaining vestiges of my 90s childhood that I’ll never give up) and I couldn’t make it out of the drugstore without buying a fresh shade.

These days, my collection looks like this: a handful of nudes with different opacities and undertones; plus a bottle of each of the iconic ‘Cajun Shrimp‘ and ‘Lincoln Park After Dark‘. If there were capsule wardrobes of nail color, this would be my perfect edit.

I almost always go with OPI for my home polish kit. I love the finish, the big brush that makes it easy to apply even coats of polish, and the long wear-time; with the right base and top coat, I get at least a week of wear from my DIY manicure.

These are my top 5 nude/light-neutral nail polishes that work well with my light olive skin tone; I find that nudes with a taupe/mauve undertone look better on me than cool-toned pinks. (For more help finding your perfect nude nail color, check out this helpful video!)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase from my recommendations. Images from and

Bubble Bath

This is my all-time favorite nail polish; it’s literally all I used for manis/pedis in my early 20s, and I still keep a fresh bottle in my collection and wear it regularly (although I find it looks best on me when I have a little tan). It’s a sheer ‘sweet candy pink’ that you can build for more opacity.

Samoan Sand

OPI says, “You certainly won’t want to hide your toes in the sand with this lovely nude lacquer.” I love this warm pink-beige that goes on completely opaque and creamy in two thin coats.

Do You Take Lei Away

I discovered this creamy nude polish on a trip to the nail salon with our flower shop team a few summers ago, and fell in love with the shade. I wore it through most of that summer, and now I love that it reminds me of a sweet time when one of my closest friends worked with us for a while.

Coney Island Cotton Candy

A warm peachy-pink with a sheer formula that you can layer for more opaque coverage. This was my go-to last summer!

Essie Sugar Daddy

This is the most sheer nude of the lineup and my only Essie pick. I find Essie pinks can be tricky to work with, as they sometimes go on a little streaky, but this is perfect as a one-coat-and-done option for a sheer wash of color and shine.

Hot Tip: If you have a lot of unused nail polish lying around that you never wear anymore, you can use them to water-marble ceramic flower pots for fun pops of color around your space! Check out this post from the archives to see how we did it at the shop two summers ago, with a link to the easy DIY instructions.

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  1. 7.5.19
    Carlye said:

    Love your post— I always appreciate a good nude nail polish and love recommendations as it’s so hard to sort through which ones are good on my own!

    Also, just wanted to let you know that the link for the “Do You Take Lei Away” polish goes to an Amazon seller that a lot of commenters have said sold them “fake” OPI polish. Just wanted to give you a heads up!