Nude lipstick isn’t just the most universally flattering variety of lipstick on the market. It’s also the most versatile. Whether you want to go bold or soft, a nude lip can take you from day to night and make even the simplest outfit feel like an instant transformation. But finding the right nude can be tricky.
There are so many shades and finishes out there that it’s hard to tell which one is right for you without trying them all!
So we’ve put together our ultimate list of everything you need to know about nude lipsticks: what they are, what colors go best with your skin tone and undertones, when to wear each one, plus all of our favorite brands and shades, and how to find the right long-lasting nude lipstick.
Why Natural Shade Lipstick Flatters
Nude lipstick is a classic beauty product that can be worn by anyone at any time. It’s not only flattering on all skin tones, but it also has the power to make your face look brighter and more awake. The most important thing to remember when choosing nude lipsticks is that they’re meant to enhance your natural lip color.
That means you need to take a long look at both the skin on your face and your lips. Then, opt for a nude that is closest in tone and shade to your lips’ tones.
Nude Lipstick Shades Guide
If you’re a makeup newbie, or don’t have a love of lippies, then you may not realize there is a ton of variety in nude lipstick shades.
Nude lipsticks are actually very diverse and when you’re standing in front of a display, or perusing shades online, it can be hard to know what you should choose.
Some common varieties of nude lipstick include:
- Pink-toned nude
- Brown or beige-toned nude
- Peach-toned nude
- Neutral-toned nude (true nudes)
There are also matte and glossy nude finishes of nude lipsticks to contend with, too.
Now let’s go over some basic information about the different types of nudes available on the market today, so you can put this knowledge into practice before you go on the hunt for the perfect nude lipstick.
Pink Nude Lipstick
Some nude lipsticks have an undertone that is more pinkish in nature. The classic “nudes” were once the only kind of nude available on the market when beauty was seen as a much more one-size fits all (aka – white-centric) place. Thankfully, today’s brands offer many inclusive shades and plenty of pink-toned nudes that exist for a wide variety of skin tones.
Still, if you have a fair complexion, you may find yourself gravitating towards more pink-toned nudes. That’s because they highlight and flatter pale undertones and appear natural on the lip compared to cooler-toned options.
Best for: Subtle looks and fair-skinned lipstick lovers.
Matte Nude Lipstick
You don’t always want a glossy look to your lips, and one look that has been trendy for a few years now is matte nude lipstick. The nude matte lipstick is the essence of no-makeup makeup. It can be a dramatic, gloss-free look that has become increasingly popular over the last few years.
Matte nude lipsticks often come in liquid formats that can take you from morning to midnight. However, they can dry on the lips and exaggerate fine lines, so make sure to exfoliate before applying them! This type of shade comes in many different shades ranging from light to dark, depending on your preference for natural shades or bolder colors.
Matte lipsticks are also easy to apply and don’t necessarily need the use of a lip liner to make them more long-lasting and bleed-proof. Just remember that they sometimes dry super quickly compared to bullet or cream nude lipsticks, so go easy, which means mistakes can be harder to correct than when using traditional formulas.
Best for: Long wear, nights out, and layering with other lip products.
Brown Nude Lipstick
Another common nude lipstick undertone is browns and beiges. Nude brown lipsticks are another common undertone. These shades are a great way to pull off the “no makeup, makeup look” for medium and deep skin tones.
This family of shades is rich, and many of them remind us of a warm latte. It’s a trend that is re-emerging from the 90s – when women were looking for something less harsh than red or brighter orangey pinks. So you could say the brown-nude mood has been lingering on our lips for years now, and if you want an everyday lipstick color that will look good with everything in your wardrobe and still feel modern, try a brown-tone nude lipstick.
Best for: Medium and deep skin tones and those who want a versatile look.
Neutral Nude Lipstick
When you want to be truly nude and neutral, this is the shade for all. Considered almost universally flattering, this kind of lipstick is perfect for painting with just about anything – day or night, light or dark!
They look great on just about any skin tone and give off a natural yet polished look, but you can probably guess that neutral skin tones can benefit from this hue of nude lipsticks best. A truly neutral skin tone is not warm or cool. Typically, it means you can get away with wearing silver and gold jewelry. Look for a neutral nude lipstick that has the same flexibility and showcases your neutral undertones.
Best for: Neutral skin tones and creating versatile makeup looks.
Glossy Nude Lipstick
Everyone loves a good gloss once and a while, and if you’re trying to decide on one shade of glossy lipstick to have in your collection, make it a glossy nude lipstick. A great choice for summer, a gloss gives you that extra pop you need to look polished and put-together and gives your lips a more pouty, full appearance. It’s the perfect thing to throw in your bag for a daytime pick-me-up on your lips.
Many glosses offer a buttery, hydrating formula that enhances your natural lip color and gives you a nice shine. Depending on what kind of look you’re after, a glossy nude lipstick can be worn both by itself or over other lipsticks to create a dimensional look. Just remember glosses are often the least long wearing of lip products, especially when compared to a matte liquid nude lipstick, so you’ll want to keep your tube handy for touch-ups throughout the day.
Best for: Daytime looks, adding as a topper to deeper shades for more dimension.
Best Nude Lipsticks for Every Skin Tone
Depending on your skin tone, there’s a nude lipstick for you. And while it can feel like a mammoth task, finding the right shade can take your look to a whole new level! A lipstick shade that accentuates your complexion is all about knowing your skin’s undertone — and knowing your undertone makes finding the perfect lipstick shade much easier. There are three general categories of skin undertones.
The three categories to consider before buying nude lipsticks are:
There are a few super easy ways to figure out which undertone you have for pairing nude lipsticks, as outlined below.
|Undertone Test||How it Works|
|Jewelry Test||Gold jewelry looks better on warm-toned skin, while silver jewelry looks better on cool-toned skin.|
|Paper Test||Use white paper. In bright, natural light, hold the item up to your face. If your skin looks pink or rosy, you have a cool undertone. If your face looks yellow, you have a warm undertone.|
|Vein Test||Using natural light, look at the veins in your wrist. If your veins appear slightly green, you have warm undertones. Your undertones are cool if your veins have more of a blue hue or even a hint of purple. If you see both colors, you may have neutral undertones.|
Best Nude Lipstick for Fair Skin: L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Lipstick in Fairest Nude
Zohna Rating: 4.5/5
Why We Love It: It’s the perfect drugstore nude lipstick that’s practical for everyday wear that offers a ton of flattering shade options.
We know that nude lipsticks with flatter fair skin tones have a pinkish, rosy hue, but you don’t even need to know that to find the right shade of this nude lipstick! L’Oréal’s Color Riche line offers a perfect nude for every skin tone wrapped up in a soft, buttery satin and affordable formula that reviewers (and our editorial team) love.
We love keeping this product in our bags because no matter what you’re wearing or what the situation is – work, a night out, a date – swiping this lippie on gives you a wash of gentle nude color that flatters your skin tone. The shade Fairest Nude perfectly complements fair skin tones.
One thing worth noting is this isn’t a matte, long-wear formula meant to pass the “burger test” (aka, how well the lipstick lasts through eating a messy burger). It’s a much more satiny finish that will need a few re-applications throughout the day.
Best Nude Lipstick for Medium Skin: Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Daringly Nude
Zohna Rating: 4/5
Why We Love It: The price point is fabulous for the rich color payoff and amount of shade options available.
The berry-adjacent or mauve-based nudes work well with medium and olive skin tones, and this budget-friendly option from Maybelline fits the bill. With a slew of options for a range of skin tones, this line is packed with nude lipstick options you’re going to love, and as we found when we tried this out for ourselves, it’s creamy, rich, smooth, and comfortable to wear and leaves a soft matte finish.
For the price, this lipstick is almost unbeatable, and while it does have a bit of a crayon-y smell that some drugstore lipsticks tend to have, we found that it didn’t linger and didn’t take away from the overall experience along the way.
Best Nude Lipstick for Deep Skin: Huda Beauty’s Power Bullet Matte Lipstick in Board Meeting
Zohna Rating: 4.5/5
Why We Love It: This long-wear lipstick still manages to be hydrating, rich, and creamy.
For deep, dimensional skin tones, choosing a nude that has warm undertones like yellow or red will be most flattering and stop your lips from looking dry or ashy. That’s why we suggest avoiding nude lipsticks that are too cool or lean too pale – and opting for a warm, rich shade like this one from Huda Beauty.
We love the rich, velvety smooth-soft finish this gorgeous shade range offers, and there are a slew of other gorgeous shades to choose from if you’re looking for options. Just keep this lippie’s $25 price point in mind. If you’re looking for a budget option, this may not be it.
Best Universally Flattering Nude Lipstick: Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution in Pillowtalk
Zohna Rating: 4.5/5
Why We Love It: Not only is this shade to die for, but we love the chiseled tip of the bullet that makes application precise
While it’s hard to capture and flatter all skin tones, there are some lipsticks that seem to look good on almost all skin tones and lips. Typically, a less pigmented, softer, more pink-nude can be a flattering option, and this option from Charlotte Tilbury has been lauded by celebs, influencers, and regular girlies alike.
Now you can purchase this shade in both the original and several varied shades so you can find an option that flatters your skin tone! Whether you have deep skin tones, lighter, or somewhere in between, the soft, velvety application makes for gorgeous long-wearing color.
One thing that came up from reviewers that’s worth noting is the price point. As much as this is a great color and formula, be prepared to spend more than you would on drugstore lipstick and even some other high-end lipsticks.
Whether you’re new to choosing the right nude lipstick or an old pro – we all have questions about selecting, using, and wearing these products. We’re going to answer a few of the most burning questions for you here, so you can be armed with the information you need to be a nude lipstick pro.
If you're not in possession of some nude long-lasting lipstick, try blotting your lips with some translucent setting powder. Place a tissue over your lips, load some powder onto your brush and gently press the powder into the tissue and your lips for a mattified, long-lasting look.
What Is the Best Nude Long Lasting Lipstick?
We all want long-wearing products in our cabinets. From long work days where you’re trying to keep your pout fresh past lunchtime to special occasions where you want to look your absolute most flawless, a nudist long-lasting lipstick needs to pull its weight in the wear department.
When you’re shopping for a nude long-lasting lipstick, look for terms like the ones listed below on the packaging:
- All day wear
- 12-hour wear
- Long lasting
- Lip stain
Unlike traditional lipsticks, long-lasting lipsticks stay in place throughout the day and have little to no transfer onto cups, straws or other surfaces.
Some of the best affordable long-wearing nude lipsticks are liquid lipsticks, including a few of our favorites:
How to Apply Nude Lipstick?
Even the best nude lipsticks can go awry if you don’t have the right application process. Once you nail a perfect application, you can walk away from your mirror feeling good about the lasting power of your lipstick.
Follow the steps below to achieve a flawless nude lipstick application:
Nude Lipstick Application Step Description Step 1 Start by exfoliating your lips. This will help get rid of any dryness and make the rest of this process go smoother. Step 2 Apply a hydrating balm and let it penetrate into your lips before applying lipstick. If you have particularly chapped lips, regularly applying a lip mask while you sleep can help keep your lips dry without interfering with your product’s finish and lasting power. Step 3 Line around the outside of your lip with a nude pencil a shade or two darker than your lipstick, similar to the tone of your skin around the lips. Then, fill in from the outside using small strokes to ensure even application and blend out the edges. Step 4 If you’re using bullet-style nude lipstick, start from the inside of your lips and apply outward, concentrating your application in the center to create a more even look.
If you’re using a liquid nude lipstick, start from the edges and work your way towards the center, using the brush to trace the outline of your lips like a lip liner.
Step 5 Touch up the edges of your lip look with some concealer and a small brush. Step 6 Gently blot your lips on a tissue to avoid smudging and smearing.
Now that you know the steps to apply nude lipstick keep the following tips in mind for a more even, long-lasting application:
- If you feel the bullet lipsticks are too cumbersome, a pointed brush can offer you more precision when you are applying them. Just be sure to use a clean brush to avoid mixing colors and spreading bacteria
- Remember: less is more when it comes to applying nude lipsticks. You can always add more, but in the case of especially liquid lipsticks, it can be hard to take them off.
- If you’re layering products like matte nude lipstick and a nude gloss, blot and then wait for the lipstick to set fully before applying a secondary product.
How Do I Find the Right Shade of Nude Lipstick?
As we mentioned above, your specific skin is especially important to nailing a natural-looking nude lipstick look.
This includes considering the following when choosing a nude lipstick:
- Your skin tone
- Your undertone
- Finish of lipstick
- Additional benefits (hydration, plumping, smoothing)
Once you have both your shade in mind, as well as how you want the finish to appear, you can narrow down your selection and get applying!
As you can see, nude lipsticks come in a variety of shades, finishes, and formulations. There are so many options available that you’re sure to find a shade that suits your skin tone perfectly – and if you have trouble choosing which lipstick color is right for you, try swatching some options in-store before you buy so you don’t end up with (nude lipstick) buyer’s remorse.