Nude lipsticks are in shades that are close to the colour of your skin, hence the name. They’re often in muted hues, ranging from creamy peachy pinks and soft mauves to chocolate tones. However, the challenge with rocking these subtle tones is that they often totter on the thin line between flattering and pale.
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 on how to wear 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
A nude lipstick should lend just the right amount of colour to brighten your face – certainly not make you look like you’ve just come out of the freezer.
Finding the right nudes to match your skin tone helps, but there are also other ways to help you 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 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 celebrity makeup artist Troy Surratt calls “mannequin mouth” – a pale and lifeless lip that doesn’t liven your skin tone.
The 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 bluish undertones can go for a cooler shade of nude, whereas those with warm skin and yellow or golden undertones can get a lipstick that has warmer hues.
Not sure what your undertones are? Take this simple quiz to find out!
2. Use a lip liner to line 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 an eyeshadow in the same shade as the nude lipstick that you’re wearing. You can also sweep on heavier blush or bronzer to warm up your overall complexion.
You don’t always have to go for a “no makeup” makeup look with nude lipsticks too. 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 a playful twist on an everyday nude lip look.
4. Balance the natural and bold
There are 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 glam.
Or, you can use a natural nude tone to dial down a vibrant, graphic eyeshadow, making your look instantly more wearable.
5. Tone down your natural lip shade
Sometimes the problem with nude lipstick isn’t looking washed out, but it’s the struggle 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 adore.
How to wear a nude lip: A step-by-step guide
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 a nude lipstick, these steps are what most people swear by when they want to look au naturale.
1. Prep your lips
First, hydrate your lips with a clear lip balm. This will ensure 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.
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 looks seamless.
For a natural gradient lip, 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 S$22 on Amazon.
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 routine with a wash of lip gloss for an irresistible shine.
Otherwise, you can also go with nude lipsticks that have sheer or glossy finishes.
Best nude lipsticks for fair skin
Have lighter skin? Think pink. Pinkish nude shades go beautifully with fair skin, lending soft but rosy hues to brighten up the complexion.
Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist in Baby
The Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist in Baby is a rosy shade that enhances the lips for a “my lips but better” pout, and it has some shimmer to make your lips pop that little bit more.
This nude lipstick is also more of a tinted balm than opaque lipstick, so it glides onto the lips with a glossy shine. That makes it easier for you to get your nude lips right without looking ghostly too.
Shop Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist in Baby for S$61 on Strawberrynet.
Milani Classic Color Statement Lipstick in Nude Crème
Since fair skin can look pasty and washed out quickly, it’s best to stay away from beige or “milk tea” nudes and go for rosy hues instead. This creamy nude lipstick is a soft, peachy pink that will bring a nice wash of colour to your face.
Shop Milani Classic Color Statement Lipstick in Nude Crème for S$18.50 at Amazon.
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 peachy nude shade that leaves a glossy glow on your pout.
Shop Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny in Makeout Break for S$36 on Sephora.
Hera Sensual Spicy Nude Volume Matte in Etiquette
Who says nude can’t be spicy? The Hera Sensual Spicy Nude Volume Matte range boasts an array of natural but bold nudes, from light, cream tones to deeper butterscotch hues to lend your lips a 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.
Best 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 S$50 on Sephora.
Rare Beauty Lip Soufflé Matte Lip Cream in Courage
With an air-whipped mousse texture that glides on effortlessly, the Rare Beauty Lip Soufflé Matte 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 S$32 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 a coffee-inspired smokey eye look.
Shop Nudestix Magnetic Matte Lip Color in Boho for S$42 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 S$27.90 on Lazada.
Best 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 lipsticks or ones with berry undertones that look amazing 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 add dimension and 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. With a satin finish, this nude lipstick is the one you need for a gradient lip – 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 S$50 on Sephora.
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 to line 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 S$22 on Amazon.
NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss in Ginger Snap
A glossy nude lipstick will give your lips texture and dimension, 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 NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss in Ginger Snap for S$8.54 on Amazon.