Nude Lipstick For Every Skin Tone & Undertone

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By December 11, 2017 2 Comments
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Nude Lipstick For Every Skin Tone & Undertone

“I believe that the best nude lipstick for any person is the shade that sinks into their face and accentuates their skin tone. This can be tricky to pinpoint because sometimes one’s eye can tell that there is something off about the color that one has just applied, but with nudes being so close to skin tone, it can look more like a subtle moire than a hard clash of tones.

Here are some tips that help guide me when I’m choosing a shade for my clients:

What creates the biggest difference between any two lipstick shades is the base tone of the pigment used. Some have a lot more blue to them, which in lighter nude shades reads as more pink and are what we consider to be cool-toned; others have more red or brown and in lighter nudes read as rose tones and are considered warm. So when I look at any two lipsticks, I’m looking for what may read as pinky-blue, or rosy-brown depending on who is going to be wearing that color.

Fair with warm undertones
This means that your skin has more yellow than pink (not to be confused with redness from underneath the skin). For this skin, I would go with a soft rosy nude like Honeycomb by Bite Beauty ($26), or Rouge Ingenue 168 by Chanel ($37).

Fair with cool undertones
Ilia makes a great nude for cool and fair skin called Madam Mina ($26). You can also try Nude Kate by Charlotte Tilbury ($34).

Light with warm undertones
On someone with light skin and yellow undertones, I would choose a color like Tolede from Nars ($28), or Maybelline Color Sensational creamy matte lipstick in Clay Crush ($8).

Light with cool undertones
One of my favorite lipsticks for light skinned people with pink undertones is Hushed Tones by Shiseido ($24). Another good option is Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in Pink Beige ($22).

Medium with warm undertones
This person has the kind of skin that may have some pink to it when they are pale (say, mid-winter), but can tan and take on some color which brings out the warm yellow and tan tones in their skin. A great nude lipstick shade for them would be Realness by Pat McGrath Labs ($38), or Dior Addict Lipstick in Incognito ($35).

Medium with cool undertones
This skin tone has a soft deepness, with more peach or pink to it, but doesn’t necessarily tan easily. A recent favorite lip color that matches well with these undertones is called Smile by Giorgio Armani Beauty You can also try Retro Lipstick Satin by MAC ($18).

Now, as we move into darker skin tones, things change a bit. Medium-dark, or tan-toned people have either yellow (cool) or red-orange (warm) undertones. This can change completely when the person is tan or pale, and so the best tones to pick also change: Yellow skin tones look better with more brown, plum, mauve nudes, and red-orange skin tones look better with rosy, flushed-with-blood, terracotta nude tones. The one truth is that whatever lip color they choose needs to have a rich base color (read: no beige).

Medium/Dark with warm undertones
Two great nude lipstick options for people with medium/dark skin and warm undertones are Secret Salma by Charlotte Tilbury ($34) and Porcini by Bite Beauty ($13).

Medium/Dark with cool undertones undertones
One of my favorite lip colors is Toasted Almond ($18) by MAC, and it works perfectly on medium/dark skin with cool undertones. Very Victoria by Charlotte Tilbury ($34), too.

Dark with warm undertones
The same rules apply here for skin tones: yellow = cool; red = warm. And for dark skin with warm tones, I love to use Nars’ Audacious Lipstick in Deborah ($34). Another good one is Make Up For Ever in M104 ($22).

Dark with cool undertones
Surratt beauty created a wonderful formula they call Lipslique Lipstick that comes in a beautiful shade called Club Sept ($34), a deep nude, and it looks great on dark skin with cool tones.

The deepest skin also has differing tones from the lighter shades. Deep dark skin with red undertones is warm, and deep dark skin with blue/brown tones is cool. In this case, one should go with the same undertone as their skin for the best match. So warm-toned people should go for red based plums and browns for their nudes, and cool-toned people should choose more browns with hints of cool tones, like you see in nature, a la blackberry or eggplant.

Deep with warm undertones
Romy by Tom Ford ($36) is a beautiful red-brown that would be perfect on this tone of skin. You can also try Cocoa Pout by Laura Mercier ($24).

Deep with cool undertones
Au Courant by Surratt Beauty ($34), a sheer blackberry color, is beautiful on deep dark skin with cool tones. You can also try Black Up Lipstick in Satin Seal Brown, 11 ($23).”

–Celebrity makeup artist William Bob Scott, whose clients include, Ashley Graham, Cindy Crawford, and Padma Lakshmi

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  • Really interesting…

  • alisha johnson

    Thank you for sharing such an informative and helpful article. All these nude lipsticks are looking very interesting. But I have fair skin tone so I would go with Ilia. Essential Makeup Tips

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