Times, trends, years and decades may come and go but if there’s one constant, it’s a nude lip. There’s a reason everyone from Victoria Beckham to Lisa Elridge is launching lip collections based solely on nude lipsticks: There’s no easier shortcut to looking sleek, sexy and sophisticated with the least amount of fuss possible!
Too bad then that a nude lip often makes you look more washed out than wow.
After all, so many things can go wrong with nude lipstick: It can make lips look dry and lifeless, it can go on cake-y, it can completely erase your lips, it can make you look like a zombie… need I go on?
Time to breathe easy. It so happens that the key to making a nude lipstick work lies in a few really simple details. Namely, how to choose the perfect nude for your lips and the correct way to apply it. And that’s not easier said than done, as this 60-second plan reveals.
Uncover your undertone
For years, I have wanted to whack people who’ve blithely talked about matching a lipstick to your ‘undertone’. That’s because for years I had no idea how to find this elusive creature.
Till a makeup artist explained it in the simplest way possible: If the veins that show through the skin on the inside of your wrist look blue, you have cool undertones; and if they have a slightly greenish hue, you’re warm.
Not sure? You seem to have neutral undertones (that’s me!).
Now comes the second hurdle. How do you figure out which nude lipstick has cool undertones and which has warm ones. Once again, worry not. Here’s a quick primer.
Cool undertones: Stay with rosy pink nudes like Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G in Nude Kate, Fenty Plush Matte in Freckle Fiesta, MAC Satin in Paramount, Ilia Madam Mina and NARS Audacious in Barbara.
Warm undertones: Look for warm colours – from peachy pinks to rich golds – like Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Honeycomb, Laura Mercier Velour Lovers in Cocoa Pout, Tom Ford in Sable Smoke, Pat McGrath Luxe Trance in Realness, Maybelline Color Sensational in Clay Crush and Chanel Rouge Allure in Ingenue.
Neutral undertones: You would look good in any hue but lipsticks with a neutral beige shade or peachy undertones will totally rock. Some to try: Victoria Beckham’s Bitten Lip Tint, Lisa Elridge’s True Velvet in Velvet Muse, Buxom Full Force Plumping in Boss, Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in Chai, Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G in Penelope Pink and Live Tinted Huestick in Found.
Whatever your undertone, don’t go lighter than the natural color of your bare lips. Even going two shades lighter will wash you out and make your complexion look motley.
View this post on Instagram
Time for texture
Texture is important when you want to pull off a nude lip – mattes are ageing and zombie-fying, while frosty or glittery shades can make your lips look grey.
Instead, opt for a creamy formula that will keep your lips looking supple and kissable. To maintain the moist look, keep topping up with gloss.
Since nude lips look best when they are creamy and glossy, keep them scrubbed and moisturised to create the perfect canvas. Apply a thin layer of foundation before layering on the color – nude lipsticks are usually quite sheer, so your natural lip color would show through otherwise and distort the shade.
And DON’T skip the liner with this one. Not only does it give the lipstick more staying power, without it nude lips can look undone – as if you simply forgot to put on your lipstick. Apply a liner in the same shade as your lips for a plumper, defined and more polished effect.
Pair it right
It’s all about contrasts – for the perfect effect, pair your nude lip with dark eyes. Some great options: A smoky eye shadow, a cat’s eye or a deeply pigmented liner with at least two coats of mascara. And don’t forget your cheeks – add a healthy glow with a soft, neutral pink or coral blush.
What do you think? Is there a favorite nude lipstick in your color palette?