Here's how to find nude lipsticks for your skin tone
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A nude lip is a great addition to your beauty routine for “no-makeup makeup” looks or when you want to add some color to your face without using a bold, bright lippy. But finding the perfect nude lipstick or gloss for your skin tone is difficult for many makeup lovers. A nude lipstick that is too light ends up looking like concealer on your lips and drains the warmth and color from your face. One that is too dark may look too bold and not achieve the “your lips but better” subtle tint you want.
Your ideal nude lipstick will compliment your skin's undertone and add warmth to your face as well as be a complementary shade no matter what you’re wearing. Here’s what you need to know if you’re on the hunt for a product that’ll give you a pretty pout.
How do you find your perfect nude lipstick shade?
Tip 1: To find a flattering shade of nude lipstick, you have to first identify what your skin tone and undertones are. Most cosmetic lines label skin tones as fair, light, medium, and deep. Undertones are usually categorized as “cool,” meaning you have blue and purple undertones in your complexion; “warm,” meaning your undertones are more peach or yellow; and “neutral,” referring to your undertone as not leaning very warm or cool. Once you identify your skin tone and undertone, you should shop for colors that have those same undertones—this isn’t an exact science, but you can tell from swatching the lipstick on your skin if it leans cool or warm in color. If a nude shade has gray undertones, it’s cool and if it has brown, it’s warm. The cosmetics companies may provide guidance on the tones of their products. Some online retailers also offer virtual try-on options where you can upload a picture of yourself and see how the lipstick might look before purchasing.
Tip 2: You can opt for a lipstick that matches your natural lip color or that is one shade deeper. Playing it safe in this way ensures that it’ll compliment your overall complexion—it shouldn’t wash you out or look too bold.
If you’re not finding a color that matches well, you can choose a hue that's slightly lighter than your natural lip and pair it with a lip liner that’s darker. This will help contour your lips and ensure that they don't match your skin tone and “disappear” from your face.
Tip 3: If you want a nude lipstick that has some depth and color, you can opt for a “deep nude” look by choosing a shade that is at least two shades darker than your natural lip color or complexion. If the natural pigment of your lips is two-toned or uneven, choosing a shade of lipstick that matches the darkest tone will help to make your lips appear even all over.
1. For warm and deep complexions: Mented Cosmetics
Mented centers its nude lip line around makeup lovers with darker complexions who often can’t find their shades in beauty lines. Still, it has options that’ll suit lighter skin tones, too. After all, the company was created to help every woman “find herself in the world of beauty, no matter her skin tone.” Shoppers can visit the site and use the “shade finder” tool or take a short quiz to be matched with their “perfect nude” shade in any product on the site, including any of its lipsticks. Mented carries all shades in a wide range of formula options, including glosses, liquid lipsticks, semi-matte, and matte lipsticks. There’s even a collection of lip liners available for purchase singularly or in matte or semi-matte duos that include a lip liner and matte lipstick in the same shade to create a nude lip combination that’s ideal for you.
One Amazon reviewer writes: “The color of this matte lipstick is delightful! I was looking for something new in a lip color. This has a rich color that gives me just the right lift. It is also very smooth when applied and does not dry my lips during the day. Even though we are all wearing masks right now, wearing this under my mask is like having a secret smile.”
2. For an affordable match: Milani Color Statement Lipstick
Milani’s Color Statement lipstick line offers 40 shades, including pinks, rich browns, deep purples, reds, and oranges with about 15 hues that could be considered nudes. These cream lipsticks also include vitamins A and C to moisturize your lips.
One Amazon reviewer writes: “This lip is beautiful, long lasting and the price is great. I received many compliments on the days I have used it, definitely buying it in other colors. It does not dry lips or stain, it is just the color it shows in the image.”
3. For a matte-yet - creamy formula: Pat McGrath Labs Matterance Collection
Well known editorial and runway makeup artist, Pat McGrath, created her namesake beauty line in 2015. The brand offers 11 nude lipsticks in it's Matterance collection that has a range of mauve pinks and browns with red and pink undertones. The lipsticks are ultra-pigmented with a creamy, buildable texture and a matte finish. The line also has matching waterproof lip pencils for each shade.
One Sephora reviewer raves: “This is one of my most favorite matte lipstick. The texture of this product is everything! It’s super soft and as smooth as butter when applied. The color is super pigmented and very long lasting. The formula is very comfortable to wear and doesn’t dry out or make my lip look cracked.”
4. For the largest selection of undertones: Mac Cosmetics
Mac Cosmetics is famed for its broad offerings, and it's lip hues don't disappoint, with lipsticks and glosses from the palest pinks to the richest browns, all available in different undertones. The matte nude lipsticks have shades like “Bronx,” a muted golden taupe brown; “Act Natural,” a light gray-nude with gold undertones; “Honeylove,” a light beige, rosy tone; and “Consensual,” a deep brown with gold undertones. You’ll find these same undertones in Mac's lip pencils to create a flattering pairing for your skin tone. Despite drying down matte, reviewers say these are comfortable to wear on the lips and will last you all day.
One Mac Cosmetics reviewer writes: “This lipstick has a lush texture and a bold color payoff. The wear is extremely comfortable. I love the deeply pigmented, full-coverage color. The finish is truly matte.”
5. For liquid lipsticks that are non-drying: Nyx Lip Lingerie
Nyx’s Lip Lingerie line offers a broad range of 24 matte liquid lipsticks at a drugstore makeup price. These lippies include brown shades with purple, olive, yellow, and red undertones, as well as pink and peach nude shades, so you'll find the nude-lip look you're going for. The liquid lipsticks contain ingredients like vitamin E to moisturize but they dry down to a comfortable matte finish.
One Amazon reviewer exclaims: “Great, great, great liquid lipstick. Fabulous longevity, fabulous applicator, fabulous colors. Generally, I’m on the search for the perfect product, but I have been buying this for years and I highly recommend this as a staple. It’s an absolute go-to for me!”
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.