Certain lipstick shades have big personalities. Red requires little more than a precise application technique to look smashing. Hot pink or coral–similar va-va-va-voom factor, similar ease. The same, however, can’t be said for nude lipstick, which I’ve always considered the most difficult hue to pull off. The wrong nude lip can make some of us look tired and washed out. What’s more: it isn’t always easy to achieve the delicate balance between a nude lip and the makeup on the rest of your face.
To help pull off the nude trend that’s sweeping the Internet, makeup artist Jennifer Trotter at Lip Service is here to offer solid advice on how to create an amazing, flattering nude lip look that will make you look ethereal… not exhausted.
SHEfinds: What are some of your best nude lipstick application tips?
Jennifer Trotter: Here are three:
1. Exfoliate first. Lighter colors really highlight any dryness, so be sure to exfoliate lips with a sugar scrub (I like Fresh Brown Sugar) or even a rough washcloth to remove flakes, then coat lips with a moisturizing lip treatment (I like Joeur’s version). Let the moisture soak in while you’re doing the rest of your makeup, then blot any excess before applying lip color.
2. Use lip liner. Line and then fill in lips with a nude lip pencil similar to the color you’re using. This will give your lip color extra staying power and it won’t bleed into any fine lines.
3. Choose color carefully. This is crucial to a fab nude lip. Get it wrong and you’ll look like an extra from The Walking Dead. My rule of thumb: choose a nude with a rosy undertone instead of a flat beige, particularly if you have a lighter skin tone. That slight rosy undertone will keep your nude lip neutral and fresh with just enough warmth to not make you look washed out. If you have a lot of natural color in your skin (think Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez–the pinnacle of nude lip wearers), you can go more beige-nude.
SF: What specific nude lipsticks do you recommend?
When you consider a nude lip shade, avoid shades with flat brown or taupe undertones. They may be trendy, but they’re easy to get wrong and can suck the natural color right out of your complexion.
SF: Should nude lips be matte or glossy?
JT: I prefer my nudes on the glossier side–too matte can look dry and aging. A nude gloss looks great on top of any lipcolor, and can neutralize the shade a bit. Nude glosses to try: Butter London Lippy in Tea with the Queen and L’Oreal in Barely Nude.
SF: How should you adjust the rest of your makeup to suit the look of nude lipstick?
JT: Add a bit more blush for warmth, and ensure your foundation is flawless. Without the contrast of a brighter lip, any skin issues will be more obvious. You can’t go wrong with the classic combo of a smoky eye and a nude lip. Go super smoky with shades of carbon, charcoal and bronze paired with a nude lip. Add fluttery lashes and this sexy look is tough to beat, yet not too over the top.
SF: Should your clothing choices change when you wear a nude lip?
JT: Be sure that you’re choosing an outfit in your most flattering colors when you rock a nude lip to avoid looking washed out. If ivory makes you look pale, then pairing an ivory sweater with nude lip will have friends asking if you have the flu. Choose colors that make you feel strong and powerful… cobalt, red, charcoal, black, white. Nude lip looks are fab against all white on darker skinned ladies–see: Beyonce and JLo again.
For more beauty tips, check out Hack: How to turn eyeshadow into lipstick and How to apply lip color so that it stays put all day long.