12 Best Nude Lipsticks 2022 and Complementing Liners for Every Skin Tone
Discovering the best nude lipsticks is quite an undertaking. What’s nude for one person isn’t always the same for the next as there are endless skin tones and undertones to account for. Because the term is so nuanced, it’s clear why so many of us struggle to find the right shade.
“The most popular industry definition for a nude lip is one shade above your natural lip tone; this is how you avoid looking washed-out and choosing a shade that is too pale for you,” says Aleena Khan, cofounder of Ctzn Cosmetics—the beauty brand founded by a trio of sisters who sought to create products inclusive to people of color, inspired by their own South Asian heritage. She continues that beyond understanding your complexion and undertones, you must take your lip tone into consideration. “Our chief creative officer, Sir John, refers to a nude lip as a ‘lip enhancing neutral’!”
However, picking the primary lip product is only half the battle. Although you can certainly choose a sole shade that perfectly matches your lip tone, you may find that it makes your makeup seem flat or one-dimensional—especially for lipsticks and stains. To solve this, makeup artist Erika La’ Pearl, the pro behind Cardi B’s glam, adds a liner to amp up the lip, recommending a shade slightly darker than the lipstick shade. “It also helps define the lips,” she says. Khan agrees: “Adding a liner really completes and seals the look by adding definition, creating a plumper lip appearance if you blend a darker lip liner with a paler nude lipstick, and allows cleaner application within the lines.” If that’s not enough, a liner pairing can make your lip makeup last longer.
With this guidance in mind, we’ve curated this list of the best nude lipsticks and complementing liners for a classic, complexion-enhancing look for any skin type.
Soft pinks and light rose shades will do well for fair complexions. For a dusty rose with cool undertones, try Ctzn’s liner in the shade Deux—or for something a bit warmer, consider MAC’s liner in shade Oak for a soft brown. To achieve what makeup artist Tae René describes as “a touch of luminous color” to complement neutral undertones, wear Tom Ford’s shimmering lip balm. Otherwise, Lancôme’s creamy pigment in shade Tendre Mirage is a classic cool-warm pink.