The real reason Kate Middleton only wears nude nail polish, and how to recreate her manicure at home

Kate Middleton's nude nails have become a signature look

kate middleton on blue background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As one of the most photographed women in the world, the Duchess of Cambridge has fine-tuned her signature beauty look since joining The Royal Family.

And we've loved discovering Kate Middleton's makeup and skincare products, including her favored organic rosehip oil (opens in new tab), her trademark hair secrets, and even Kate's favorite perfume so we can emulate her look at home.

But the Duchess is also not afraid to experiment with new looks as her recent dabble with caramel highlights proves. 

But the perennial favorite for her nails remains a barely-there manicure. It's reported that royal protocol recommends steering clear of bright shades on the nails; in fact, Kate Middleton has never been photographed at a public engagement donning anything other than a neutral hue.

kate middleton's nude nails

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manicurists champion a clean nude nail as it's not only a timeless classic but also elongates the fingers. The Queen has famously favored Essie’s pale pink Ballet Slippers polish since 1989. 

For her wedding day in 2011, Kate Middleton, her manicurist Marina Sandoval revealed she opted for a mix of Bourjois So Laque Nail Enamel in Rose Lounge (which is currently out of stock) and Essie Nail Polish.

"Catherine wanted something very natural looking and I felt these matched her skin color beautifully. She wanted something off-white and bridal, so these were absolutely perfect" Marina explained to the Daily Mail (opens in new tab). "She was very pleased with the result and told me that it looked beautiful and elegant."

Since then, Kate has stayed loyal to the same blush shade range, never opting for a darker or more dramatic shade of polish.


Ballet Slippers Nail Polish, WAS £7.99 (opens in new tab)

Ballet Slippers Nail Polish, WAS £7.99, NOW £5.99 | essie @ Look Fantastic (opens in new tab)

This nude shade is not only loved by the Queen but is rumored to have been used on Kate Middleton's nails for her wedding day.

Created in the '80s by Essie Weingarten, essie has sold thousands of different colors and types of polish over the years. Ballet Slippers was one of the brand's original shades and, over 40 years later, its popularity has stood the test of time, so much so that essie now offers a number of spin-off shades of this iconic color.

How to recreate Kate Middleton's manicure

Trim your nails into a short square shape, then round the edges with a file before applying your chosen polish. 


Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat, £9 | Boots  (opens in new tab)

Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat, £9 | Boots  (opens in new tab)

Seche Vite is unmatched as a top coat leaving nails stronger and more durable without chipping. Use as a base and top coat for extra durability.

Finish with a top coat, Seche Vite dry fast top coat is a favorite among manicurists to add a high-shine and long-lasting finish.

Fiona Embleton is a beauty writer who is now Acting Beauty Editor at Stylist. She is obsessed with Isabel Marant and cats.