Customize nude polishes at ORLY's color labs

Caroline Mishelle Aghajanian,Conner Blake
·10 min read
  • Orly Color Labs offers nail-polish customization in Los Angeles or virtually through Zoom.

  • For nude shades, a mixologist considers a client's skin tone and undertone when mixing colors.

  • Clients are able to add shimmer to their nude polish or keep it creamy.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Caroline Aghajanian: Orly Color Labs in Los Angeles offers customers the chance to create any nail polish color that they'd like in person or virtually. My friends Marisa, Nico, and I wanted to see how well an Orly mixologist can color-match three different nude shades to our skin tones, since nude polish is not a one-shade-fits-all and everyone's nude polish preference is different. Before our appointment, we visited Orlycolorlabs.com and submitted the color we wanted either by uploading a picture or picking from one of their pictures. We were able to adjust that selected color before checking out. Then we met with Riyah, our Orly mixologist.

Riyah Martin: This is the only place out, especially in, like, Los Angeles area, that does custom nail polish where people can come in and, you know, create specific colors. Who would like to go first? Who's, you know, just ready and eager?

Nico Reyes: I'll go first! [laughs] 
Caroline: Nico loves nail polish.
Nico: I'm a nail polish freak. Like, I have so much nail polish it's crazy, but I really am so excited to do this. I think I tend to go for nudes that are very slightly lighter and a little more rosier than my skin tone. I think that I'm more of a yellow-toned person, but I like the rosier colors. I feel like if it's too close to my skin, it looks a little strange to me. I'm like, it looks like my skin never stopped and it's just, like, over my nails. So I like it to look a little different than my actual skin color.
Riyah: This shade is going to be quite a few different colors to try to get a good, like, neutral, medium-toned color. So I'm going to be adding some orange. I'm going to also add yellow. I'm going to add fuchsia.
All: Ooh!
Riyah: I'm gonna add nude. I'll be adding a little bit of black. All of this is going to make something really cool. It just always sounds like it's like some bizarre mixing, but neutral shades actually have quite a bit of color in them. Nico: Wow, I never knew that.
Riyah: And that all goes with the undertones and things like that. So, we have some neon pink, hot pink, and I'm also going to add some white.
Nico: I love this color so far. It kind of looks like my lip gloss, but it's a little darker.
Riyah: Yes,it's such a pretty color on its own.
Nico: So, let's try to make it, like, probably a little bit closer to my actual skin tone, I would say.
Riyah: OK, so that's what I'll do here. I'm going to lighten it up just a tad. I'm going to add some white, peach, and nude to it.
Nico: Oh, my God. It's like, it made such a difference. Is there a way for us to, like, neutralize it a bit more so it's not so rosy?
Riyah: Yes, there is a way that I can mute the pinkness down.
Nico: How are you muting it?
Riyah: I am adding black, actually. And black just kind of takes, like, we can have a really neon color that goes more into a neutral by adding black. But this is where I would say, like, OK, if you want to lighten it now from this point, the undertone is changed a bit.
Nico: Yeah, I think this undertone is perfect. I would just lighten it, but oh, my God, we're so close. We're so close! Riyah: Yeah, so that's the process, for sure. And you have to understand too, with nudes, it's like, it's going to be a process to get it there. So if it's just done in two steps, that's amazing, but I typically look for nudes to take a little bit more time, because it is like, you know, gonna be matched to you. So, yeah, I'm going to lighten it now. I'm going to add some nude again, some white, and I'm going to actually add a little bit of pastel pink.
Nico: I think I like this one and I want to stop here.
Riyah: What was it that you wanted to name it?
Nico: Let's keep it Nico's Nude. It's possessive. It's my nude.

Marisa Palmer: I do like the darker colors, like darker than my skin tone. I feel like that is its own vibe. But most of the time I do get the lighter nude, because I am hesitant, like what Nico said, of it matching too perfectly. And when it looks like the skin is overlaying the nails, that's just weird. So I play around with it, you know?
Riyah: So, I'm going to start off with adding some yellow. I'm going to put some black, and I'm going to add your orange. It's going to be a lot more orange.
Marisa: Wow, that's really pretty though. It is like a chocolate bar.
Riyah: So, this is just a good starting point here.
Marisa: Oh, I want to bite into it. I think it is a little dark, but I really love the color. I'm trying to see in my camera now. Maybe if, like, we kind of did something like what Nico did in step three, where it is...
Riyah: Like, muted it a little bit?
Marisa: Yes. And then lightened slightly. I think I'm gonna end with something maybe a little bit darker but not exactly my skin tone, if that makes sense. So like a little lighter than this chocolate, but I want to see what the darker version of a nude could look like.
Riyah: So, what I'm going to do is add some nude into the color, and I'm going to add a little bit of peach to kind of keep it within the undertone, because we used so much orange to create this tone.
Marisa: [gasps] I think so. I think I can go with this, and it's going to look really good. [laughs]
Riyah: Perfect! So, did you want to add anything into yours, or you want me to keep it natural cream finish?
Marisa: Could we see maybe what a little dash of the bronze looks like? I feel like that would be really pretty. Caroline: I see a little bit.
Nico: I see a little glimmer every time you move.
Marisa: I mean, I truly put a lot of trust in you. Like, if you think I can add a little bit more and you're right there in person, let's add a little bit more.
Riyah: It's still in the shade. It's not, it hasn't changed here.
Marisa: I see it! I see the shimmers! Let's do it. Let's bottle it.
Riyah: All right, and then when did you name yours? Marisa: Oh, my God, it was so cheesy. An ode to Beyoncé. It was Brown Eyed Girl.
Riyah: Oh, yes, I did see that. OK. And here is Brown Eyed Girl.
Caroline: Wow.
Marisa: Beyoncé.
Nico: Oh, my God, I love it.
Marisa: So cool! Thank you!

Riyah: So, for yours, I'm going to be using peach. I'm going to start off with peach. It's going to be a lot more peach. Caroline: Oh, yeah. Nico: It's like...[laughing]
Marisa: All the peach.
Riyah: A little bit of fuchsia, just a tiny bit of fuchsia, and I'm going to use a little bit of orange. Not too much. Also going to use the tiniest bit of yellow, and then I'm going to use some black.
Caroline: Wow.
Marisa: This is perfect, Caroline! What the heck?
Caroline: I know. I, like, don't even want to change it.
Riyah: I think the undertone is there, for sure. And then it's just a matter of, like, if you want to mess with it being a little bit more neutral or not.
Caroline: Yeah, let's add, like, one pump of nude and see where that goes. And since I'm, like, a nude newbie, I don't think I've ever had a nude on, so I'm like, maybe let me try, like, the most safest, or like the basic to my skin. And then I'll explore from there.

Caroline: Each nail polish is shipped to your home and arrives a few business days later in this super-cute package. I can't wait to see the colors in person on your nails. So, I want Nico, you go first. Reveal your nail polish to us. Marisa: Scooch up, get a little close.
Caroline: Dun dun dun!
Nico: Are you ready? [gasping]
Marisa: Wow!
Caroline: Wow!
Nico: I went the lighter route with this one, and it is more rosy, 'cause I do think I'm more yellow in my skin tone. One thing I will say, it's actually a lot peachier and pink than I thought it was going to be, because when we were doing it and she swatched it on the paper towel, it looked kind of darker. I don't know if it was because, like, the room was just a bit darker and natural lighting is -- it's, like, a lot of factors. Marisa: Virtual living we're in. Nico: Yeah, it's just the world we live in now, but the color was definitely, like, more peachy than I anticipated. But I think next to my skin tone, I feel like it's really cute. It's flattering, and it's just a really pretty nail polish.

Caroline: Let me see.
Nico: Get close to -- ooh, it looks shiny already!
Caroline: Wait, I love it.
Marisa: I don't know if it was the bronze shimmer or some of the other colors she mixed together, but it did come off more orange in person than it did over, you know, the Zoom call. But I really like it. This is a different type of nude. I don't think I would ever gravitate towards a darker version of a nude, but I really like it. I think it's very mature. That was my biggest takeaway.
Caroline: So, I definitely think the bronze really translates more on the nails than it did on screen. 'Cause we were like, "Let's add more, let's add more." And she was like, "I think it's good." You know, like, I think she knew what she was saying when she was like, "You don't want to add more." And we were like, "Well, we can't see it!" Marisa: [laughing] Yeah, she knows her stuff.


Caroline: Dun dun dun dun dun! It's very, very, like, close.
Nico: It's close, but it's enough where I know you're wearing nail polish.
Caroline: I usually wear gel. And I usually wear, like, you know, the brighter colors that you can see. But I think for if I were to leave my nails bare with nothing on it, this would kind of be like maybe what I would do. 'Cause it's close to my bare nail, and it's close to, like, that calm feeling of looking at clean, bare nails, you know? I can kind of tell the difference, and it is very, very, very close. So I really like it. I think it was good. They're all nude, but they're all, like, yours is more pink, yours has a little bit more shimmer. So everyone has their own different shade of nude.
Marisa: Nude is hard.
Caroline: Nude is hard.

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