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What’s the perfect nude for you?

'Nude' is a misleading term - by very definition, what one person thinks when they think 'nude' is most likely completely different from the next person's imagining - which is why we've selected a spectrum of naked {lip} colours to flatter an array of skin tones.

Make up artist {Troy Surratt} says that the 'best nudes are quite sheer and have the same finish as lips - neither shiny nor matte, think, just-licked' - while the latest addition to our 'Hall of Fame' strives to reinvent outmoded attitudes to what can be a controversial concept:

Founder of Nude Envie Isabel Madison was inspired to create a 'wardrobe' of nude lipsticks so that "every woman, no matter her ethnicity or {complexion}, [can] embrace her natural allure and enhance her features not cheapen them.

"Nude allows women to showcase their skin tone while not overpowering their other defining features", say Isabel. "It allows you to glow, not your lipstick", a sentiment #TeamCB echo eagerly...

If you're {fair skinned}

You can pull off that slightly 'rubbed out' '60s look by almost matching your lip colour to you complexion (but not quite). Nudestix {Lip & Cheek Pencil} in 'Flesh' is a pale peachy shade - just apply balm on top for an 'I'm with the band' vibe.

For something more appropriate for everyday, take a good look at your bare lip colour. If they're naturally pale, select a beige-rose shade that won't leave you looking washed out - Surratt's {Lipslique} in 'Chuchoter' (it means 'whisper' in French) is perfect, while Nude Envie's {Radiate} shade is a warm, petal tone with an apricot drop to lend kisses a smooth, honeyed hue.

Or, if your lips look flushed with a pink-red tone, enhance their youthful {plumpness} with a corresponding rosy shade. BY TERRY's {Hyaluronic Sheer Nude} in 'Nude Pulp' is gorgeous for a dewy, 'your lips but better' look.

If you've a {medium skin tone}

Don't think you can't go 'pale and interesting' with your lipstick. As long as you choose something satin-textured, you'll avoid looking overly made up. Choose a sheer beige - Too Faced's Natural Nude Lipstick in 'Overexposed' looks stunning against olive complexions.

Alternatively, choose a golden 'nude' that neutralise pink tones and enhances skin's caramel colour. Something with a subtle fleck of shimmer is incredibly complimentary - Pixi's {Liplift Max} in 'Honey Sheen' is a gorgeous lip-plumping gloss, or try Charlotte Tilbury's {K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick} in shade 'Hepburn Honey' - it's a beautiful beige with a creamy texture.

And if your lip perimeter is naturally darker than the centre, choosing the right nude can prove tricky. In this case, opt for something semi-matte to help even things out, with a flattering, warm tawny-pink hue; try Jouer's best-loved {Long-Wear Lip} in 'Crème Brulee'.

If you have {dark skin}

A rich chocolate-berry will look stunning. If it's got a slight shimmer - even better. Jouer's new Long-Wear Lip Crème in 'Clove' - a deep, burgundy brown with a foil-effect finish. Or go 'au naturel' and gild lips with Surratt's {Lip Lustre} in 'Etoile' - a clear gloss that's laced with gold flecks to augment while imparting a chic vinyl shine.

Or try a creamy, rosy brown like Nude Envie's Envie de Lèvres in shade 'Attitude', or Huda Beauty's {Liquid Matte} in shade 'Vixen'. The latter's velvety-matte, long-lasting finish feels comfortable while looking wonderfully sumptuous.

And if you want to neutralise red tones so lips appear more 'nude', track down a lipstick with a slightly yellow tone - this won't translate as 'yellow' when applied. NYX Professional Makeup's {Lip Lingerie} in the shade 'Teddy' is a suede-effect matte formula, while BY TERRY's {Baume de Rose Nutri-Couleur} in 'Toffee Cream' is sheer, shiny and infinitely versatile.


Verity Douglas
Verity Douglas Writer and expert
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...

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