jocelyn petroni - makeup tips - how to pick a top trending nail polish shade to suit your skin tone


While the colour of our skin helps determine how well certain nail shades will suit us, the real clue is hidden (literally) in our skin’s undertone. This is especially important for those with a paler complexion. Whether you’re veering on the edge of porcelain or working your way up to light beige, take a moment to liken your undertone to red, blue or yellow. Envision a colour wheel, keeping in mind that sometimes opposites attract.

This is certainly the case for those with cool blue or red undertones, so next time you find yourself torn between OPI’s Big Apple Red and Amore At The Grand Canal, opt for a polish that’s base shade contrasts your undertone by sourcing lacquers with a deep blue base. Delve into a heavy plum shade like JINSOON’s Nail Lacquer in Audacity, or consider Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri Nail Color in Midnight Drive

For those with a warm, yellow undertone, playing match is your best bet to a winning look. Consider a forest green shade like OPI’s Infinite Shine 2 Lacquer in Olive For Green

Tip: It’s important to leave at least a millimeter gap between your cuticles and polish when wearing red polish, otherwise it may stain and look as though cuticles are inflamed or infected!

jocelyn petroni - makeup tips - how to pick a top trending nail polish shade to suit your skin tone


Flat, matte-look nails are still trending, and those with a mid-toned or olive complexion are in prime position to take advantage of powdery blue and grey shades at their next polish appointment. These shades are ideal as we head into the cooler months, and pair nicely with a soft Winter knit.

Get on the bandwagon with Essie’s Nail Color in Lapiz of Luxury. Sally Hansen’s freshly unveiled Color Therapy Moroccan Spice Collection comes in a moody grey-brown called Slate Escape. Otherwise, consider a pastel, earthy green with Smith & Cult’s Nailed Lacquer Nail Polish in Bitter Buddhist 

Tip: If you can’t find the perfect matte, use a matte top coat like OPI Matte Top Coat it transforms any shade into a modern matte.

jocelyn petroni - makeup tips - how to pick a top trending nail polish shade to suit your skin tone


While a lighter nail shade can often leave our paler-toned friends feeling ‘washed out’, a classic white or beige polish against deeper skin tones has the opposite affect. Darker skintones can pull off most nail shades especially cool bright pinks and reds (due to the high contrast) but bright neon shades aside, there’s nothing bolder than a bright white to make an impact.

An icy snow-white shade really packs a punch, like MECCA MAX’s Hot Tips Nail Polish in Bridezilla, or try a hint of pink using Revlon’s ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel in Up in Charms Want some luxury? Look no further than Tom Ford’s Nail Lacquer in Toasted Sugar for the perfect muted beige you’ve always needed.

Tip: A stark white polish is a nail staple, it can be used underneath sheer nail polishes to intensify their colour.

jocelyn petroni - makeup tips - how to pick a top trending nail polish shade to suit your skin tone

jocelyn petroni - makeup tips - how to pick a top trending nail polish shade to suit your skin tone


Jocelyn Petroni is a leading manicurist & official nail expert for CHANEL Australia. Jocelyn has her own nail salon and spa in Sydney, Australia.

When it comes to wearing a particular nail colour, do the length, size and shape of the nail matter?

All of these factors are really subjective and people have all manner of preferences. In terms of the latest nail trends, nail length is remaining short and natural, however the free edges of the nail are now starting to curve so the nail is not such a blunt square shape, but slightly more feminine. 

In this article we recommend: deep blue-based reds for pale skin tones, matte blue-greys for mid/olive skin tones, and stark whites for deeper skin tones as we come into the cooler months. Can you provide any further support on why these shades can work for individuals with these skin tones?

Deep blue-based reds are a striking contrast to pale skin tones, which makes the nails pop. There’s something beautifully classic in the look of deep blood-red hues against a fair skin tone, I love how this look is so versatile and conveys feminine, bold, chic and sexy.

Any final tips on how one can achieve a perfect finish to their manicure, even if doing at home?

The best advice I always give my clients is that a manicure or pedicure is only as good as the time and effort that goes into the preparation and protection. It is crucial to prepare the nail bed and groom the cuticles beforehand. A base coat is just like painting a house, it’s the foundation for the end result and when done well (i.e. with quality product that treats the nail at the same time), will give you a much better lasting effect on the finished job. Use a topcoat that is durable, and chip resistant to ensure you get up to a week from your home manicure. Another tip is to reapply the top coat every second day to stretch out the manicure lasting power.  I love Mavala’s Gel Top Coat, as it adds a layer of gloss and volume to protect your manicure.

Words by Hannah Gay

Photography by Richard Freeman (Headshot) & Tim Kindler (Application Image)


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