Mysteries of Life: Getting the Perfect Nude Lip

By | June 18 2009 | 18 Comments

nude lips

D’you ever look at a nude lipstick and think, “ah, isn’t that lovely? That’d be only gorgeous now with some smokey eyes and a wash of my lovely sheeny MAC Mineralize Skin Finish?”  So then you try it on thinking you’ll be the belle of the ball.

Instead, the result looking back at you in the mirror can only be described as cadaver-fresh. Ain’t nothing like a nude to make you look like the Crypt Keeper. A tired, wan Crypt Keeper, at that.

Forget red, nude lipstick is seriously one of the hardest shades to get right. Far too many of them contain a lot of grey pigment which sucks the life out of your skin and makes lips resemble chalky slugs. Unless you’re going for a very stylised look (like a Bardot or 60s thang), it’s actually much more flattering to mimic the natural shade of your own lips, and try to stay within one or two shades of that.

As a rule, head for nudes with pink or apricot tones as opposed to flat industrial-looking beiges, as they’ll be more lifelike, and therefore, far more flattering.

And for the love of god, avoid extremes: matte nudes are very flat and dull looking, and pearlised finishes should be shunned unless you want to look like a Golden Girl. Not a bad thing in itself, of course, but if you’re in your 20s, Blanche Devereaux should probably not be your style icon.

Look for a satin finish lipstick, is my advice. Queen of subtlety, Bobbi Brown, of course has a solution in the form of her Perfect Match service at counters, which aims to identify the natural shade of your pout and then provides you with a suite of shades that’ll suit. Smart – but is anyone else offering similar? Yep, beauty brand Prescriptives will be rolling out a suite of creamy nudes in the autumn for all skin colours, so they’re definitely worth looking out for.

If Bobbi Brown isn’t your cup of tea and you can’t wait for Prescriptives, Bourjois Effet 3d Les Nudes are terrific in the gloss scheme of tings; I am also partial to Shiseido’s new Perfect Rouge lipstick line which contains several really good options as well.

Lips, Tutorials

18 Replies to "Mysteries of Life: Getting the Perfect Nude Lip"

  • Polly says:

    I think it’s about time I headed to the Bobbi Brown counter – my lipstick collection is full of Clinque bonus time freebies that I fear don’t suit me but I wear anyway!

  • MontyC says:

    I think Bobbi Brown are one of the best for the natural/nude/not-wearing-make-up make up look.

  • Hannah says:

    Had the BB perfect match done recently and its really good – its so easy to pick the wrong shade cos it looks okay in the shop. Got the nicest nudey-pink lippy and a gorgeous gloss and already have her Pink Buff lippy and other pinky-beigey glosses…definitely the best for nudes.

  • cathyfly says:

    Bee-yooriful image there Kirstie :)

    Hmmm I usually go with a gloss if I want a nudey lip – I was scared off by a BB nude lipstick seeking consultation where they sold me one that is distinctly orangey and makes my pearly whites look yellow!

    I like the look of those Bourjois ones…

  • Atomic_Blonde says:

    Ive tried to pull of the nude lips look sooo many times. I just dont think blondes can pull it off at all.
    My friend who has black hair and slightly olive skin can so it brilliantly!

  • dublinista says:

    I love the Maybelline ‘Pinky Beige’ lipstick – it gives me a grand pout and doesn’t highlight the yellowness of my teeth!

  • Glitterkitty says:

    well, i’m blonde w green eyes and v pale skin
    i wear nude, pink based glosses all the time!

    nars turkish delight, illamasqua rouse – both are fab
    sheer glosses w a hint of pale pink, both have great textures that glide onto lips..

    great for when i really want to do up my eyes in a really bright block colour or v dark and smokey, goes w both!

  • MontyC says:

    Atomic – I’m blonde and it can be done!

    For the Nude Lip, I match my lippy as closely as I can to my natural lip colour. Easiest and niceset way to do it (well for me anyway).

    Also, don’t go matte. Awful. Go for creamy (if that makes sense).

  • Glamazon says:

    Mmmmm I think a lot of people think Nude means pale concealer type colour when in fact its almost the same shade as your lips. Agree with Glitter that it definitely makes your eyes stand out more.

  • Atomic_Blonde says:

    Hmmm maybe its just my skin type so cause i just cant pull it off at all. I use the Loreal nude collection lipsticks, but they have a hint of colour to them…there not bad actually.

  • BLUE_Eyes says:

    funny this post came up today- i went on a nude lipstick hunt in BTs last saturday- bobbi brown didnt do the lip match service but the girl found me a lovely pinky one called Pale Mauve and the MAC one in pattisserie (cant read SA’s writing!!) wasn’t bad either!

    I just wear my MAC just a pinch gel on my lips these days- love the barely there colour!

  • SJP's Missing Mole says:

    I have a nightmare with this because I’m as pink as a piglet. Most nudes are for more sallow ladies.

    I found a good MAC one, called Modesty. And there was a Clinique one called Sweet Honey that I used to love years ago. Only reason I stopped was because the staying power wasn’t great.

    I’m obsessed with Bourjois lip glosses though. The best nude one is called “Rose or Chic” which is a great one for work. And there’s one called “Rose Emblematic” which is more of a prettier, wedding-y one. Both taste gorgeous. Like Love Hearts sweets.

  • legalyblonde says:

    Nude lips for red heads…

    Serious fan of the taste of Bourjois lip-glosses SJP’s Missing Mole – in their Effet 3D range of glosses they have a lovely nude colour called “brun poétic”… Its a pinky-beige with just the teeniest hint of sparkle, not glitter just sheeny-lovelieness! And even though I’m a very pink-cheeked redhead, it still looks nice on me!

  • Kerry says:

    Mac has a new product called “Erase Paste”, it’s like a concealer for your lips, but feels like a lip balm on. You can wear it alone for a nude lip look, or use it under a nude lipstick to ensure the natural lip colour doesn’t shine through.

  • Princess Lisa says:

    Cliniques tenderheart lipgloss has always been in my makeup for as long as I can remember!

  • Vanessa says:

    Kerry- Isn’t Erase Paste an orange toned concealer for the undereyes?

    My favourite right now is Bare Escentuals nude lip kit which can be purchased at Sephora. It contains a nude liptsick, lipgloss and lipliner. I find it is pinky enough to avoid that cadaver un-chic look you humorously mentioned, while still being classified a nude. Has anyone tried this? What do the girls think?

    I’m Canadian, but I’m sure you can purchase this at a Sephora just about anywhere in the world. No doubt we be seeing it on the planet mars one day.

    Erin Go Bragh!

  • Becs says:

    Found a perfect nude lippy from Givenchy in my drawer the other day, it’s called Lip Lip Lip 203 Tea-time Beige. You can buy it from Strawberry Net for £13. LOVE it.

  • MiamiMortimer says:

    My favourite new nude is Catrice’s RougeSatin lipstick in 170 Endless Dream-gorgeous! I like my nudes to have a bit of colour in them, I’m not into the washed out types, and this is gorgeously tinted and quite sheer for buildable colour! I’d buy it even if it wasn’t so inexpensive-it only costs around the 3 euro mark!
    Also amazing is L’Oreal’s Colour Riche lipstick in Aiswarya Rai, which has a browny pink colour and is lovely and sheer.

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