With the right lipstick shade, you can rock a nude lip no matter your complexion. Find your match with picks from Marc Jacobs, NARS, and other beauty brands
The Best Nude Lipstick for Every Skin Tone
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If you want to show off your natural beauty, a soft, subdued lip is likely a go-to in your makeup drawer. And while that nearly-neutral hue might seem like it's easy to pull off, in practice, the nude lip isn't exactly a foolproof choice. You have to find the right shade for your skintone, the right finish, and the right combination of other cosmetics to rock it best. (Learn How to Apply Makeup, According to a Makeup Artist.)
Unfortunately, there aren't many one-size-fits-all beauty tips when it comes to the nude lip, says celebrity makeup artist Marni Burton. Instead, you just have to play. "I recommend figuring out which color—pink, orange, white—looks best on you by trying concealers with those undertones," she explains. Once you find a match you like, you're off to the races.
In terms of finish, Burton suggests steering clear of extremes. "Matte, drying nude looks a little morbid, and glossy can be too much," she says. "I chose semi-matte shine for my clients." Keep it pretty and natural. And for the rest of your look? Feel free to consider a nude lip your blank canvas. Use blush or bronzer to give your face some color, up the ante on your eye, add some sparkle, and so forth. 'Highlight, contour, illuminate, define—go for it," says Burton. Ahead, our recs to get your started.
Photo: Corbis Images
For Fair Skin
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Best nude lip: taupe nude
Burton says a subtle taupe nude shade is "flattering and soft" for the most delicate fair skin tones. You can try Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural in N1 ($20; makeupforever.com) for an ultra-effortless effect.
For Light Skin
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Best nude lip: orange nude
Marni says a nude with hints of orange will look great on lighter complexions. "It helps make the lips pop just enough, but not blend into pale skin," she explains. Try NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Floralies ($26; narscosmetics.com) for this look.
For Medium Skin
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Best nude lip: pinky nude
Burton calls pinky nude "sophisticated and flattering all-around," especially for medium skin tones. Dior Addict Lipstick in Spring Ball ($33; nordstrom.com) hits all the right notes. (Want smooth lips? Learn 5 Life-Saving Lip Care Solutions to soothe a parched pout.)
For Olive Skin
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Best nude lip: taupe nude
"A taupe nude makes the skin glow and the whites of eyes shine," says Burton of the best bet for olive complexions. Our pick? Tarte's Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Park Avenue Princess ($17; tartecosmetics.com).
For Tan Skin
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Best nude lip: white nude
For sunkissed complexions, a brighter white nude shade "opens up the face and shows off that tan," says Burton. So for impending summer, take Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Color in Praline Creme ($27; lauramercier.com) for a whirl.
For Dark Skin
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Best nude lip: dark-tan nude
For a slightly off-complexion color that "creates effortless appeal," Burton suggests opting for a dark tan nude shade to highlight gorgeous, rich skin tones. Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel in Moody Margot ($30; sephora.com) is the perfect shade. (Now, check out 10 Lipsticks that Stay on All Day to stash in your makeup drawer.)