Fifteen years ago, “nude” was sort of a lobster bisque color. A pale pinky beige, or beigy pink. Somewhere between linen, raffia, and paper left in the sun.
It was a color that was supposed to resemble the color of a bare leg. However, the bare leg in question belonged to a white lady.
These days, we've come to understand that nude doesn't refer to just one shade; it refers to a spectrum of shades that varies from person to person. To help take out some of the guesswork in finding your version of nude in makeup, we asked 20 Black beauty enthusiasts:
What is your perfect nude lip color?
"Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Liner in Cool Brown and Dragun Beauty Liquid Lipstick in Whorechata topped in Fenty Clear Gloss Bomb. Truly UNMATCHED — the best combo ever!"
"MAC Lipstick in Taupe with MAC Lip Pencil in Chestnut. Chefs kiss."
"I tend to ditch lipstick for a gloss these days. My favorite staple is the Ami Colé Treatment Oil, which has the perfect universal hue. It doubles as an everyday gloss and as an amazing treatment to wear to sleep."
“My favorite is Dope Taupe by Mented Cosmetics. It pairs well with deep complexions because it has the perfect balance of warm/neutral undertones.”
“My favorite nude is from the Barbie Color Pop collection. The shade is called Golden Beach.”
“The perfect nude lip starts with a good lip liner or cream base, blend, set with blush, and top with your favorite gloss. My lip combo goes: Mehron Cream Blend in Sable Brown as a liner, blended and set with blush from Blinc in Ambitious, and top with Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb in Hot Chocolit. Gloss is always optional."
"Personally, I love the shade Ginger Snap and Angel Food Cake for NYX Butter Gloss! Ginger Snap is really good for the outer corners of my lips, while Angel Food Cake helps pronounce the pink on the inner parts of my lips! It's a Black-friendly shade that doesn't look TOOOO light or make my lips look too weird like other pink shades."
"Gucci's Rouge à Lèvres in Mona Leslie Cameo is an instant luxury I keep rebuying—the lipstick is a sumptuous, moisturizing matte brown that gives my face a quick swipe of sophistication, even for the most snooze-y Zoom meetings. It's soft, fluffy brown that's a touch deeper than my skin tone, which adds a bit of dimension without making too much of a statement. We need that some days!"
"I would say I like a rosy nude pink, like MAC Lipstick in Crème Cup. Pink nudes are better."
“My go-to lip combo is MAC Chestnut Lip Liner and Buxom Hot Toddy Lip Cream! it’s the perfect rosy-brown color for my skin tone, and the plumping effect in the lip gloss gives my lips a nice juicy sheen.”
"I have three — Maybelline Superstay Ink Crayon in Accept a Dare, NARS Air Matte Lip Color in Power Trip, and NYX Butter Gloss in Creme Brulee."
"My fave is Ami Colé Treatment Oil! It's moisturizing and is a great universal shade for all darker skin colors. I love it when I'm not feeling like wearing makeup but still want to look a little put together."
“NYX Lip Gloss in Ginger Snap. This is great over a dark lip or with lip liner!”
“The best lip product for me is I’ve Been by Hourglass. Hourglass manages to have brown hues in their lip products that go really well with my orange undertone. On days when you want to feel extra, regardless of the mask, I use ‘Pat McGrath Labs Gloss in Flesh 6. I have no words to describe how well this little product makes you stand out in the room.”
“Deep Thoughts Always On Lipstick by Smashbox. Never fails.”
"I love NYX Butter Glosses because they have so many nude shade options for different skin tones. I also love the subtle fragrance and the formula. I use the shade Madeleine."
“I’m never giving a true nude because I look like death warmed over with true browns, so I go with pinky nudes. Whirl by MAC is perfect, and NYX’s Ever is a great dupe for my frugal nature.”
“I am a sucker for nudes and mauve shades. So my current favorite lip shades are UOMA Beauty BadAss Icon Lipstick in Eartha and Hug Me by MAC Cosmetics. And of course, I have to have a brown lip liner, and Chestnut is always my go-to."
“My secret to the perfect nude color is finding a lip color that’s around your concealer shade and pairing it with a brown liner that’s around your contour/bronzer shade. That’s why I love the Buttercake Lip Kit from Pretty Perfect Experience. You get a 2-for-1 combo.”
“I love the NYX Lip Liner in Downtown Beauty with the Made by Mitchell Blursh in Peach Sugar in the center, topped with Fenty Clear Gloss Bomb — my PERFECT lip shade.”
What have we learned here? When it comes to melanin-complimenting nude lip colors:
- A brown liner goes a long way to help meld the color into your lips.
- Sheer colors, like Ami Colé Treatment Oil or the Fenty Gloss Bomb, are universally flattering.
- NYX Butter Glosses were also mentioned by several folx! They come in a wide array of complementary tones for less than five bucks. Score.