Why We Love Nude Lips

Woman with nude lipstick
If you go back, way back, before the days of Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum, before the days of Kate Moss and Miranda Kerr, back to when Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner were mere sparks in the eyes of their parents, there was Twiggy.

In the 1960’s, Twiggy was the Princess of All That Was Mod, the epitome of fashion in knee-high platform boots, psychedelic stockings, velvet miniskirts, and fur Nehru jackets. Girls risked life and limb to emulate her signature look in clothes as well as makeup. Twiggy set a new standard for eyewear, taking thick black liquid eyeliner and never-ending black lashes to new levels. And to make sure the eyes were the focus, lips were designated a less prevalent role. In keeping with the fashion, some women applied foundation to their lips to make them blend in with the skin on their face, while the modest of the mod daringly employed white lipstick for a similar effect. A makeup tip advised women to, “Embrace the beauty of the subtle 1960’s with a warm, nude lipstick. For a little more pizzazz, chose a metallic finish. Skip lip liner for a less defined lip shape.”

Times may have changed, but when something’s not broken, why fix it? Now, in 2016, the nude lipstick look is still serving us well. Here are some more modern ways to achieve it.

Slight exfoliation is the key to prepping lips for the nude look. Follow that by dabbing on a rich balm and letting it soak in while you do the rest of your make-up, blotting off the excess before you continue. If you are going to use a creamy, opaque lipstick, apply a little foundation around the outside of the lips and over the lipline using a damp sponge. This will give you a canvas that will ensure your lipstick will last. If you prefer a sheer look, skip the foundation.

Woman applying lip linerLiner
Some things never change. Cosmeticians are still advising us to skip the lipliner. Celebrity cosmetician Deborah Nasrat says, “When I am creating a sheer, nude lip, I try to avoid using lip liner.” If you are worried about keeping the color from leaking, she advises a reverse liner outside the hipline

Look for a palette with some beiges, browns, and pinks. Nasrat says, “People always ask me what nudes my clients are wearing, but honestly, its always more than one.” If you have a fair to medium skin tone, look for light pinks and golds, while brown based and caramel neutrals will favor a medium or deep complexion.

Skin Tones

  • Pale to Fair (think Gwyneth Paltrow or Sophie Turner): If your complexion is fair, you will probably find rosy shades of pink to be most flattering, but you may want to experiment with some creamy beige tones, providing they have a pink undertone that is just slightly darker than your complexion. Keep the undertone cool to neutral.
  • Medium (think Jessica Alba and Lea Michelle): If your skin has a medium or olive tone, consider yourself a swinger. Nasrat says, “Those with medium or olive skin tones can really go either way.” Medium toned skin can sport both cool and warm tones, so play the field!
  • Dark to Deep (think Samira Wiley or Lupita Nyong’o): Nasrat goes for warm golden browns for her darker skinned celebrity clients, steering away from anything too beige or cool. “Golden browns look rich and luscious on darker skin tones,” she says.

If you are thinking of going nude this season, we would love to hear of your bold adventures. Please chime in with your comments and suggestions!


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