Nude lipsticks are in shades that are close to the colour of your skin. They’re often in more muted hues, ranging from gorgeous creamy pink-peaches, soft mauves, to milk chocolate tones. However, the challenge with flaunting these subtle tones is that they often totter on the thin line between subtle, minimal, or pale and pasty.
If you’re avoiding nude lipsticks because you’re worried about looking ghostly, now’s the time to finally give them a shot. Ahead, we share useful tips for wearing a nude lip without looking washed out, along with the best nude lipsticks for every skin tone!
Tips for wearing a nude lip without looking washed out
The tricky part of wearing a nude lip is doing so without looking like your lips are too pale or pasty.
Even though nude, the lipstick should lend just the right amount of colour to brighten your face – certainly not make you look like you’ve just walked out of the freezer.
Finding the right nudes to match your skin tone helps, but there are also other ways that you can play around with your nude shades to achieve everything from a beautiful, natural no-makeup makeup look to a deeper, more romantic style.
Here are some tips for wearing a nude lip!
1. Keep your nude shade contrasting
While a nude lipstick is called nude because it’s usually in a colour similar to your skin tone, you should never get one that’s the same shade as your skin.
The nude shade will blend right in with the rest of your face and give you – what Troy Surratt in The New York Times referred to as – “mannequin mouth”, a pale and lifeless lip that doesn’t rosy your skin tone.
The golden rule of thumb is to choose a nude shade that goes with your skin’s undertone. Identify the undertone of your skin – whether it’s warm, cool, or neutral – and pick a nude shade with an undertone that follows it.
For example, people with cool skin and pinkish or bluish undertones can go for a cool shade of nude, whereas those with warm skin and yellow or golden undertones can get a lipstick that has warm hues.
2. Use a lip liner to outline your lips
Another way that you can create contrast between your skin and nude lipstick is to use a lip liner to line or overline your lips.
This way, you’ll be able to flaunt a nude shade while keeping your lips full and popping.
3. Bring colour to other parts of your face
Besides the lips, focus on the other parts of your face to brighten your complexion with a wash of colour and bring the makeup look together.
This will also allow you to experiment with more nude shades, whether with hues that are deeper than you’re normally used to or ones that are more mauve than pink, while still keeping your makeup style intentional.
An easy way to complete your makeup look is to use the same shade of eyeshadow as the nude lipstick that you’re wearing. You can also sweep on heavier blush or bronzer for an extra-vibrant flush of colour on the face, that’ll make up for the subtle tones on your lips.
You don’t always have to wear a no-makeup makeup style with nude lipsticks too. To make a stunning statement, why not try a darker nude shade that isn’t typically complementary to your skin tone? Play up the deeper shade on your lips with chunky, coloured mascara, for instance, for a teasing twist on an everyday nude lip look.
4. Balance the natural and bold
For typical subtle nude shades, there are yet other ways that you can create a balance between bold and natural in your makeup.
Pair an understated nude lipstick with smokier, dark-rimmed eyes, for instance, to up the ante on the glam.
Or, on the contrary, you can use a natural nude tone to dial down a vibrant, graphic eyeshadow to transform your style from over-the-top to everyday wearable.
5. Tone down your natural lip shade
Sometimes the problem with nude lipsticks isn’t looking washed out, but is struggling to make a shade that you love work on you. If you’ve got a nude colour that you adore but doesn’t seem to look great on your lips, then try first creating a neutral ‘canvas’ for the lipstick.
You can tone down your natural lip colour using a concealer or nude lip pencil. With a lighter base, you’re more likely to succeed in wearing the nude lipstick that you’re pining after.
Steps to wearing a nude lip
If you’re clueless about how to apply these understated shades, we’ve got you covered too. While there are many ways to put on nude lipsticks, these steps are what most people swear by when bringing au natural to their pout.
1. Prep your lips
The basic way to wear nude lipstick is to first hydrate your lips with a clear lip balm – ensuring that your lips stay nourished throughout the day.
2. Line or overline, it’s up to you
The next step is to line your lips with a lip liner.
To flaunt plumper and juicier-looking lips, you can overline the top of the lips, near the cupid’s bow, and the bottom of the lips, also in the middle, then regular line the rest of the lips.
If a bold, overlined lip is what you’re looking for, then you can also choose to overline the entire lips – it’s completely up to you.
3. Sweep on your nude hues
Once you’ve traced your lips with a lip liner, it’s time to fill in your lips with the nude lipstick shade of your choice. Glide the nude lipstick over the lips, and blend the lip line with your finger so that it washes out nicely.
For a natural, gradient lip style, you can even add another nude shade right in the middle area of the lips.
Take your cue from @alissajanay1 on TikTok, who does her nude lips by applying the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Chai Genius (not available in Singapore) that’s a coffee brown shade, then finishing the look with Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Loyalist, a lighter pinkish nude hue that gives a dynamic pop to her lips.
Shop Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Loyalist for RM45.09 on ASOS.
4. Apply lip gloss for an irresistible shine
Leave this step out if you want to achieve a matte nude lip style. However, if you’re hoping to boast luscious lips, then complete your nude lips regimen with a wash of lip gloss that will give your lips an irresistible shine.
Otherwise, you can also go with nude lipsticks that have sheer or glossy finishes right from the start.
The best nude lipsticks for every skin tone
Nude lipsticks for fair skin
Have lighter skin? Think pink, pink, pink. Nude pinkish shades go beautifully with fair skin, lending soft but rosy hues to brighten up the complexion.
Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny in Makeout Break
Fair complexions do best with a sheer, rather than opaque, lipstick that keeps the face looking fresh and youthful, without looking washed out. Fenty Beauty’s Slip Shine Sheer Shiny in Makeout Break is a beautiful light peachy nude shade that leaves a glossy glow on your irresistible pout – yum.
Shop Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny in Makeout Break for RM108 on Sephora.
Hera Sensual Spicy Nude Volume Matte in Etiquette
Who says nude can’t be spicy? The Hera Sensual Spicy Nude Volume Matte boasts an array of natural but bold nudes, from light, cream tones to deeper butterscotch hues to lend your lips an extra-delicious wash of colour.
Etiquette is a beautiful rosy pink that looks gorgeous on fair skin. The nude lipstick also uses Hera’s special Water-Drop Core technology to plump and add sensual volume to the lips, so you feel your best all day.
Shop Hera Sensual Spicy Nude Volume Matte in Etiquette for RM93 on Shopee.
Nude lipsticks for medium skin
Medium, tanned skin doesn’t always equal warm undertones. Those who have medium skin with cool undertones can explore berry-toned mauves or darker nude-pink shades, whereas skin that has warm undertones (think: golden, olive skin) can choose shades like peachy or rich brown nudes to mimic the warmth in their skin.
Pink with peach undertones and deeper mauves like wine tones or nude-burgundies are also gorgeous on warm medium skin.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Luminous Modern-Matte Lipstick in Pillow Talk
Warm medium skin tones could use a blush-pink nude like Charlotte Tilbury’s Revolution Luminous Modern-Matte Lipstick in Pillow Talk – the iconic creamy matte lipstick shade from the brand that so many adore. This nude lipstick is a tantalising match for skin that has golden, brown undertones, especially when paired with a similar rosy pink eyeshadow or brown eye makeup.
Shop Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Luminous Modern-Matte Lipstick in Pillow Talk for RM230 on Zalora.
Rare Beauty Lip Soufflé Matte Lip Cream in Courage
With an air-whipped mousse texture that glides on effortlessly, the Rare Beauty Lip Soufflé Matt Lip Cream feels ultra weightless and comfortable on the lips. Courage is a nude mauve shade that looks extra beautiful on cool skin tones – and it’s a fresh alternative to the peachy, pink nudes that you’re used to.
Shop Rare Beauty Lip Soufflé Matte Lip Cream in Courage for RM98 on Sephora.
Nudestix Magnetic Matte Lip Color in Boho
It’s called Magnetic Matte Lip Color because the creamy formula sticks like a magnet on your lips and takes you easily from day to night. This nude lipstick is a three-in-one lip colour, lip stain, and lip liner that’s extra transfer-proof, so you don’t have to worry about your pout even with a mask on.
Emit chic girl-boss energy with Boho, a neutral nude brown that looks especially arresting when paired with lots of warm bronzer, and coffee colour inspired smokey eye look.
Shop Nudestix Magnetic Matte Lip Color in Boho for RM114 on Sephora.
Honest Beauty Demi-Matte Lip Crayon in Melon
Remember that your nude lipstick should be a shade darker than your skin. The Honest Beauty Demi-Matte Lip Crayon in Melon is pink with berry undertones that complement medium skin for a fresh and youthful vibe. Made with Jojoba seed oil and Shea butter, this buttery-smooth nude lipstick also keeps your lips hydrated all day.
Shop Honest Beauty Demi-Matte Lip Crayon in Melon for RM99 on Shopee.
Nude lipsticks for dark skin
Milky and dark brown shades go well with dark skin. Besides chocolate hues, you can also consider going lighter with beige nude lipsticks or ones with berry undertones that measure stunningly against your complexion.
To make your lips stand out more, you can go in with your nude lipstick, such as a warm chocolate brown, then bring your lips to life with a beige gloss that’ll lighten the tone plus add shine.
Another trick is to line your lips with a darker brown liner, followed by a light brown lip liner just along the inside of the first outline. Fill in the middle section of your pout with a lighter nude lipstick, and – voila – your lips will show up in a gorgeous dynamic gradient!
Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Yes Honey
We’re going straight in with a light peach nude shade from Charlotte Tilbury’s K.I.S.S.I.N.G collection, Yes Honey. Giving a satin finish, this nude lipstick is the one you need for a gradient lip look – pair it with a dark brown lip outline or over a dark brown base, and you’ll get your beautiful nude lip in no time.
Shop Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Yes Honey for £26 (approximately RM120.39) on Selfridges.
Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Het Loo
A rich brown shade with slight brick undertones is what you get with the Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Het Loo. This creamy nude lip liner is super hydrating on the lips – you can use this lip pencil either to outline your lips then fill in the middle with a beige nude shade, or you can rock the warm hues by filling in your entire pout with this satin-smooth formula!
Shop Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Het Loo for RM133.50 on Lazada.
NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss in Ginger Snap
A nude lipstick with shine will give your lips texture and differentiate them from the rest of your face, which is especially important if you’re wearing a shade that’s close to the colour of your skin. The NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss in Ginger Snap is a milky chocolate brown shade that’s also decadently glossy – it’ll leave a delicious glaze for ultra-kissable lips.
Shop this nude lipstick for RM30 on Shopee.