Is there anything more satisfying than finding your nude lipstick? As a Black woman, this journey has not been smooth sailing. There has been ashiness and some rather horrible mishaps that should never be made public. Alas, I have made it. The quest to find my nude lipstick has come to an end, and I can confirm it’s a good place to be.
A nude lipstick is what the little black dress is to your wardrobe—it’s a staple, a classic and always the right choice. The trick in picking a nude that works for you is " that we choose a shade that's subtle but at the same time harmonises the skin," says Sasha Ghodstinat, Code8 global makeup artist. Find a shade that works with your undertones. As a rule of thumb, if you’re on the warmer end of the spectrum, opt for a warm-toned nude, and if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, go for a cooler-toned pink. The key is to find a colour that is effortless and essentially blends with your natural lip colour.
There is a nude for everyone, and in a bid to make that hunt a little easier, we’ve asked 14 nude-lipstick aficionados what their favourite nude lipstick is. As for me, my number one nude lipstick is the Glossier Ultralip in Cachet. My lips are quite pigmented, and a lot of nude lipsticks tend to wash me out, but this sheer, buildable formula works amazingly on my lips, and the colour is a gorgeous natural brown shade.
Keep scrolling for more amazing nude lipsticks.
Emma Spedding, editor of Who What Wear, says: "Okay, I'm going to be honest. At first, I thought the best thing about this lipstick was the name. I first got this lipstick in 2016, and I am now on my fifth tube, as I wear it every day and truly believe this is the best lipstick out there. It's not drying at all, and I find the subtle shimmer makes it a great pick-me-up, which means it works for formal events just as much as a Monday morning in the office. It is peach-toned and has a slight orange undertone which makes lips look defined. Emily Ratajkowski, Zoe Saldaña and Sienna Miller are also fans."
Anyaa Dev, art director, says: "My go-to shade for a basic, classic nude-ish lip is the MAC Half Red liner. I use that all over with a little bit of ChapStick on top. It's a little nudey, redy and a little purpley, which is a great nude-but-better shade for brown skin."
Lamisa Khan, co-founder of the Muslim Sisterhood collective, says:"For me, I like the way lip liners add a natural/'90s style gradient rather than a solid nude pigmentation. I like minimal effort makeup and can't be bothered to layer up loads of lippies to get the perfect colour."
Nana Acheampong, fashion and celebrity stylist, says: "I pretty much only ever wear lip gloss, but in recent years, I've fallen in love with a nude matte lip. It always has to be matte. My absolute favourite is the Nudestix Intense Matte Lip and Cheek in Fringe. Although, I also own another four nudes shades from them that I also love. It has great pigmentation, is waterproof and literally doesn't budge for the whole day—winning!"
Grace Day, beauty editor, says: "I consider myself a connoisseur of nude lipsticks. I've worn hundreds over the years, and I'm super-duper picky. It can't be too pink or too brown, too matte or too shiny, too liquidy or too shimmery. As soon as I swiped on Victoria Beckham Beauty's Posh Lipstick in Twist, I knew I'd hit gold. It's the perfect balance of pink and brown, and it's sheer in a 'stained-on' way, so it gives lips that coveted 'my lips but better' effect. The texture is light and creamy, so you can't really feel it on, but I'm always surprised when I glance in the mirror three hours, two coffees and a croissant later, and it's still there."
Fatima Mohamed, model and founder of The Que Scarves, says: "My personal favourite nude lipstick has to be the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Medium. The Pillow Talk originally is iconic for obvious reasons, but for me, it was slightly too light. I was so overjoyed when the Medium was launched. Same gorgeous colouring but slighter deeper—perfect for me—it complements my skin tone, and I don't need a lip liner."
Zaynah Aziz, influencer and founder of Ikhtiyare London, says: "Nude lipsticks are always my go-to! They're subtle, cute and always complete a makeup look. I feel like I've finally found the right shade of nude that complements my skin tone, and honestly, I can't get enough of it. I wear the shade Whirl by MAC, and when I feel like adding that extra bit of shine, I finish it off with a Nyx gloss in Milk & Hunny."
Remi Afolabi, video content creator at Who What Wear, says: "As a woman with dark skin, it's not easy finding a nude that works well against my complexion, but I've found joy in using MAC's Matte Lipstick in Taupe for many years now! It's described as a 'muted reddish-taupe brown,' which is definitely true, and I think it looks perfect paired with a dark-brown lip liner."
Georgia Meramo, digital creator, says: "When I wear a nude lip, I love to go for something with a pinky undertone. This is Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk. It's a cult classic for a reason! It really does look so good on so many different skin tones and just makes your makeup look more 'finished,' in my opinion."
Aisha Ibrahim, influencer, says: "It's almost impossible to go wrong with a classic pink-nude. I see it as an extension of my personality, something that is chic, feminine and elegant. My favourite has got to be MAC Taupe. It's the ultimate subtle pink with muted hues of medium brown. A perfect match for my skin tone and it has been my go-to for years!"
Farrah Gray, freelance beauty PR, says: "It's luxury sustainability beauty at its best! It is refillable in the most beautiful packaging, it's clean, vegan and the perfect silk-finish matte nude, which totally complements my olive skin tone. It's a luxury lipstick I want to use every day and in a reusable case I'll keep forever."
Sasha Ghodstinat, Code8 global makeup artist, says: "West Village from our line of Glazé Lip Lacquers is my favourite nude shade from the range. It's a beautiful brown shade with a warm undertone that doesn't flatten or dull down the skin tone. As lacquers, shades from the Glazé range have a glossy, hydrating finish, in turn giving the skin a fresher look."
Maxine Eggenberger, acting assistant editor at Who What Wear, says: "My teeth are naturally quite dark (regardless of the fact that I don't go near red wine or coffee). While this is something I've made my peace with over the years, I still find myself swerving on 99% of nude lipsticks—particularly those with warm undertones, which only enhance the yellow tint of my teeth. Instead, I opt for pinkier nudes—shades just a smidgen off from my actual lip colour. With the slightest haze of taupe, I've found my lipstick soulmate in Very Victoria by Charlotte Tilbury. Apparently, this shade was inspired by Victoria Beckham and is, in turn, slightly less saturated than its iconic sister shade, Pillow Talk. Coupled with a velvety formula that enriches my lips instead of drying them out, this is a lipstick I know I’ll wear for the rest of my life—nothing can surpass it."
Shannon Lawlor, freelance beauty editor, says: "I have seriously dry lips all year round, so I usually favour balms over drying lipsticks. With this stuff, however, you get the best of both. Hyaluronic acid delivers the plumping and hydrating effects of a balm, while the nude pigments come off creamy and rich. To be honest, there isn't really a nude in the collection that I don't like, but personally, I find Dare to Bare is the most wearable, as it's virtually the same colour as my natural lips. My skin is relatively fair but olive with yellow undertones, and my lips have quite a naturally strong red pigment. I spent my life reaching for cool-toned nudes and lighter, tinted balms to soften my makeup looks, as I found my red-tinted lips jarring, but the deep, rosy-brown shade of this lipstick has encouraged me to enhance my natural lip shade rather than hide it."
Next up, the makeup trends we love for spring/summer 2022.