The Quest for the Perfect Nude

You’ve been lurking at lipstick counters and cosmetic displays for long enough to qualify as a loiterer. You’ve been swatching lipsticks so extensively that you’re starting to look like a walking lipstick palette. Most of all, you just really want to find your perfect nude lip colour, preferably without getting arrested for flashing the public for a quick nipple swatch (Confused? Follow this link: If you nodded in agreement to more than two of the above, then this post is for you.

Why bother with a nude lipstick if it’s just going to look, well… nude?

The purpose of a nude lipstick is not to mimic the natural lip colour, but to enhance it. Every woman’s shade of nude is just as individual as their fingerprint; one woman’s nude can be another’s brown, pink or peach. Don’t go for a colour that looks pretty, go for one that complements you. In this post, I’ve summarised what I personally find are the most important factors when it comes to choosing a nude lipstick (or any lip colour).

  • Skin tone

There are three main classes here; fair, medium and dark. Skin tone is often a great indicator as to the most flattering end of the nude spectrum for you.

Screenshot 2017-06-06 16.26.05.pngMy fair-skinned ladies out there can have fun experimenting with lighter colours like beige, peach and baby pinks.  Finding foundations to suit you can often be a pain, but you truly are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a nude lipstick. Personally, these colours would make me look like a zombie but they would be just right for paler complexions.

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As for those of us who sit more towards the middle of the spectrum, colours like caramel browns, dusty pinks, terracotta and rose gold hues are very flattering. They can look incredible if the lip colour has a touch of shimmer to it – perfect for a summery look. Finish off with a sweep of bronzer.

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Darker-skinned beauties look great with darker browns, mauve and even burgundy shades. I love a dark lipstick, especially when paired with well defined lashes and minimal eye-makeup. Wear with a touch of highlighter on the cheekbones and down the bridge of the nose.


  • Undertones – Cool vs. Warm

You may or may not have heard these words floating around at some point. The essence of it is that we all have naturally cool or warm undertones to our skin. This simply means that we have different base colours to the same skin colour. Cool undertones often carry a blue base colour, whereas warm undertones carry a red/yellow base. Let’s take hair as an example. The ladies in the pictures below are both blonde, but the one on the left is a much ashier (cooler) blonde, whilst the one on the right is a warmer golden blonde.

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How does this relate to lip colours? Simply match the lip colour to your undertone. In general, I have found that ladies with very fair skin are often cool-toned, and those of us with olive or more tanned skin are warm-toned. Note that this is a very broad generalisation, and there are plenty of exceptions. A nifty way of finding out your undertone is to look at the colour of the veins on the underside of your wrist. If they are green, you have warm undertones. If they are blue, you have cool undertones.

Warm lip colours: peach, coral, red-based browns, dusty reds/oranges

Cool lip colours: beige, blue-based pinks, caramel browns, purple, plum

  • Your natural lip colour

Well, it is a nude you’re after, isn’t it? Your natural lip colour is your best guide. Press them together gently to get the blood flow going and take note of your natural colour. Identify the colour that you want to bring out within your natural lip colour and look for a nude accordingly. Eg. if you want to look more bronzed and you have a medium complexion with warm undertones, look for a brown-based nude with some pink in it to bring out that natural warm glow.

  • Texture

The texture/finish of the lip product is worth considering too.

  1. Matte: Very stylish, long wearability. Can crack easily, dry lips will become obvious. Prep with plenty of lip balm beforehand. Looks great with winged eyeliner or well-defined lashes and a touch of blush.
  2.  Satin: My personal favourite – gives a natural finish and applies smoothly. May require frequent touch ups but this can be prevented by using a lip liner and dusting a layer of setting powder over the lip colour. Looks great with a sharp contour and fairly neutral eyes.
  3. Frosted: Brings “retro” to mind but can look great when done well! Moisturise and exfoliate lips before applying, frosted lipsticks work by reflecting lots of light and can highlight chapped lips. Wear with matte, dark eyes and a touch of blush.
  4. Glossy: This may bring back memories of school days where we were all after the latest lip gloss from Claire’s that smelled of strawberries. Invest in a high quality formula that is not sticky or gloopy. For the ultra nude look, simply apply a layer of clear gloss and you’re good to go. Wear with a soft contour and pencil eyeliner with a slick of mascara. Oh, and beware when drinking from a glass.

I hope this has made your hunt for the perfect nude slightly easier, and if not, I hope you’ve had fun trying all the nudes out there for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment! You go girl.

– J



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