The concept of a ‘nude lip’ can feel like a beauty enigma: get it right and you’ll look chic, natural & effortless – but get it wrong and you’ll look… well, a bit sick. Even more confusingly, there are myriad potential nude shades to complement every skin tone. And then there’s subjectivity to consider – a perfectly passable colour just might not float your boat.
So how DO you shop for the perfect nude? The truth is, no-one can tell you exactly WHICH nude to buy. That’s up to you. But I have some easy tips to help you navigate the thousands of options out there to your advantage.
1. the look
Firstly, ask yourself if you want a true beige nude (neutral) or a hue that enhances your own natural lip colour (say a pink, peach or brown). Unsure? Then drop into any makeup counter and ask them to demonstrate the difference or see below for my quick colour guide.
2. density & finish
Are you looking for a sheer, barely-there accent or solid colour? Also think, how good is your skin? Many taupe shades come in matte formulations that, in this colour palette, best complement those with a dewy, radiant & flawless complexion. Avoid looking powdery & pasty by picking a moisturising satin or gloss texture.
Most importantly of all, what’s your own skin colour? The universal rule of thumb is that nude lips look best when the colour is slightly lighter or darker than your complexion, rather than an exact match. Choose a shade that’s too light and you’ll either look washed out or like you’re wearing concealer. Too dark and the look will be more rich & colourful than nude. Too beige… and you’ll be verging on brown (NEVER a good look). But before you even get to shade specifics, it’s useful to have a rough idea of the colour palettes that work best with your skin tone…
nude lip colour guide for the 3 main skin tone groups
fair skin tones
Light taupes such as Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Tantalizing Taupe, £6.99
Pale pink nudes such as the Burberry Beauty Full Kisses in Nude Blush, £24
medium skin tones
dark skin tones
Metallic bronzy brown such as Bobbi Brown Tube Tint in Twilight Shimmer, £17.50
Dusty rose brown such as Topshop Lips in Mink, £8