At first glance, nude makeup seems easy. It’s barely-there and just mimics your natural skin right? But, there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s about picking shades for your eyes and lips that are nude—but also won’t wash you out and still add some dimension to your look. Here’s how to wear nude makeup.
What exactly is nude makeup?
Nude makeup looks are characterized by skin-tone inspired shades, leaning into a more natural makeup look and offering subtle shadow and light instead of overly strobed or contoured faces. But, don’t confuse a nude makeup look for one that can be slapped together without thought. Learning how to wear nude makeup and putting a bit of effort into choosing the right shades makes all the difference.
How to determine your nude shade
It’s not as easy as it seems to find your perfect nude makeup shades. With lips, picking the wrong shade or nude lipstick can completely ruin the more natural look you’re going for. For example, picking a shade too light will make you look ghostly, while picking one too dark will be more of a look that you want. For eyes, going too dark will lean more towards a smokey eye (not a nude makeup look) while something too light will barely register. Here’s how to pick shades for both your eyes and lips that suit you.
A nude lipstick shade that’s perfect for you
Picking a nude shade for your lips is all about thinking about your skin tone. Everyone’s nude is different, but it’s largely determined by how dark or fair you are. For example, alabaster or pale complexions should pick nude lipstick shades that have a touch of pink in them like L’Oréal Paris Ultra Matte by Colour Riche in Rebel Rouge, or else they risk being completely washed out. Definitely don’t pick a nude lipstick shade that’s lighter than your skin tone. If you have a warmer undertone (your veins are more green than blue) you can look for warmer pinkish shades. While if you have cooler undertones (your veins and more blue than green) you want to stick with cooler shades of nude.
If your skin tone is olive, or medium-toned, you have a lot of room to play. Warmer shades are usually best for medium skin tones, so look for makeup colours that lean more towards caramel, or more rosy pinks like L’Oréal Paris Ultra Matte by Colour Riche in Passionate Pink or L’Oréal Paris Ultra Matte by Colour Riche in All Out Pout. The key for medium skin tones is to stick with something either slightly lighter or slightly darker than your natural skin tone—but to not deviate too much beyond that.
For dark skin tones, look for shades that are just a touch lighter than your natural skin tone, but that have a little something extra—whether that’s a touch of pink, peach or orange is up to your own preference—but opting for a bit of pigment with your nude lipstick is always going to be flattering. Try L’Oréal Paris Ultra Matte by Colour Riche in Bold Mauve or L’Oréal Paris Ultra Matte by Colour Riche in Berry Extreme.
A nude shade for your eyes
A good rule of thumb when picking nude makeup shades for your eyes is to pick colours that are one or two shades darker than your skin tone. When it comes to your eyes, yes you want to think about your skin tone, but you also want to consider your eye colour too. But, start with skin tone. If you have a darker skin tone, pigment in makeup is definitely going to be your friend. Opt for shades that are more opaque and think about colours that have just a touch of warmth to them like peachy browns or mauvey darks. If you have a medium skin tone, stick to bronzey browns or warm beiges. And if you are fair, opt for more sheer shades that lean peachy when choosing a makeup shade.
If you’re interested in upping the ante of your nude eye look, think about your eye colour too. You can still pick a more nude makeup shade that suits your skin tone, but thinking about shades that also complement your eye colour will make your eyes pop. Blue and green-eyed beauties should look for nude shades that have more pink, red or rose gold in them, which offers a contrast to your light eyes. Green and hazel-eyed gals should think about bronze—many people with these eye shades have flecks of gold in them, and picking a bronze-nude shade will help pull out that sparkle. Dark-eyed babes are lucky because so many shades are flattering, but looking for nude shades that are cooler and have a touch of mauve to them lends a nice contrast.
Complete the look with the right complexion shades
Don’t forget to opt for the right foundation, blush and bronzer to complete your nude makeup look. The key with complexion is to choose shades that are restrained and subtle. This means finding the exact match to your skin tone for your foundation, and opting to blush or bronzer that isn’t super pigmented. Think sheer shades that provide a lit-from-within finish. Instead of opting for contour or highlight, gently sculpt your cheekbones with a blush or bronzer that’s only slightly darker than your natural skin tone.