Beauty Demystified: Choosing the Right Nude Lip Colour For You

Nude lipstick can be a tricky divil. Wear the wrong one for your skin tone and you can instantly look like you're channeling '90s supermodels with brown lipstick (in a bad way) or so washed out that you have a blood disorder. Mostly, that's not the look you'll want to go for.

Choosing the right nude lip for you is actually - and I mean this literally - the easiest makeup skill there is. And that's without exception. It does, however, involve the letting go of illusions - the nude you like the look of most isn't necessarily the one that looks best on you, so you have to let it go.

It took me years to learn this. I'd see a beige or peachy nude on someone and just love the way it looked. So I'd buy it and wear it even though it just didn't work for me. A nude that you don't particularly like in the bullet can look just beautiful on the lips, so try to keep an open mind.

Here is how you choose the perfect nude lipstick for you.

Step one

  • Look in the mirror in daylight, and take note of the natural colour of your lips.

That's it. Your perfect shade of nude. In a way it's a pity. We always admire on others what we don't have ourselves, so my favourite nude shades are the browny peach ones that look radiant on olive skin. If I try to wear them myself, though, I just don't look right!

The nude lip which will look best on you one hundred per cent of the time is a lipstick as close as possible to your natural lip colour. When you're shopping around, either swatch a bunch of possible candidates on your hand and hold them to your lips, or hold the bullet near your lips for comparison. Don't actually apply testers straight to your lips, though. Hygiene. Bleugh!

That's all there is to it. Your 'natural' colour in a lipstick will bring out your lips, make them look more structured, and perfectly compliment your skin tone every time. Of course the rules change if you're wearing tan, in which case you have to wear something suited to the skin tone you're sporting that day. Au natural, though, your natural colour - or something close - is always what looks most at home.

Here are some real beauties to test out next time you're on the lookout for your perfect nude!


  • Charlotte Tilbury's sumptuous makeup collection is new to Brown Thomas, and we're very glad to have it on our shores. Nude Kate (above left), €30, is a divine nude pink for those with paler skins and lips.
  • Cruising from Nars (€26) is one of my all time favourites for naturally pink lips with a slightly blue undertone. It is more of a neutral pink beige than it looks in the above image, and compliments fairer, pink based skins perfectly.



  • The Balm's lipstick in Mai Billsbepaid (€14.50) is my Holy Grail nude lipstick, and I only discovered it a week ago! My own lips are naturally a bit pinker than I'd like them to be, but this lipstick is the best match I've ever found. Even though I wish I had a more beige undertone to my natural lip colour, this is the lipstick that looks best, hands down.
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Canotier (€31) is a lipstick to fawn over. It's just so pretty, and the sheer glossy finish looks great on everyone. If you have slightly more olive but still fairish skin, odds are that your lips will have a little more of a naturally warm or brownish hue to them. This is the one for you!


  • Another offering from the Queen of Makeup, Charlotte Tilbury, Penelope Pink (€30) is perfect for anyone with a slightly deeper pink hue to their natural lips.



  • Not to forget those more definitely olive-toned peeps (you lucky things!) can get away with a beiger nude. Myth from Mac (€19.50), top left, is a glorious sandy peach that looks great on more Hispanic or Mocha-hued skin.
  • Finally, for those with deeper skin tones, Fresh Brew (€19.50), also from Mac, will give naturally deep lips the most beautiful sculpted finish and light sheen.

So that's it; the secret's out! Your best nude is the one that's already sitting on your face!


Does anyone disagree? What are your ultimate nude colours? Share in the comments and maybe we can all add to our nude repertoire (that sounds wrong, but you know what I mean. I'm not talking about playing the accordion in the nip or anything.)

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