Trends will come and go but if there is one constant, it’s a nude lip. There is no easier shortcut to looking sleek, sexy and sophisticated with the least amount of fuss possible. And neither do we know of many other makeup tricks that make your complexion look flawlessly luminous, while getting the rest of your features (especially the eyes!) to really pop.
Too bad then that skipping the bright pout 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 lip 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.
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.
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 Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté in Nude Beige, bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Be Free, Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Coquette and Clinique Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick in Creamy Nude.
Warm undertones: Look for warm colours – from peachy pinks to rich golds – like Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Liar, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture in Golden Copper, L’Oréal Colour Riche Lipcolour in Brazil Nut and Benefit Lipstick in Sweet Torte.
Neutral undertones: You would look good in any hue but a neutral beige shade like Tom Ford Lip Color in Sable Smoke, Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo in No 4, Lancôme L’Absolu Nu in Beige Silk and Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Barely Brown would totally rock.
Still not sure? Peachy nudes tend tend to be universally flattering, while any shade with a tray undertone can make anyone look pale and dull.
Whatever your undertone, don’t go lighter than the natural colour of your bare lips. Even going two shades lighter will wash you out and make your complexion look motley.
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 through the hours.
Since nude lips look best when they are creamy and glossy, keep them scrubbed and moisturised to create the perfect canvas. And apply a thin layer of foundation before layering on the colour – since nude lipsticks are usually quite sheer, your natural lip colour 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. Don’t forget your cheeks: add a healthy glow with a soft, neutral pink or coral blush.
What do you think? Would you introduce nude to your colour palette?