For years, pinks and reds were the favored tints to paint a pout with, but now red carpets and runways are flooded with neutral lipsticks. Simple yet sexy, nude lips pair perfectly with a dramatic smoky eye or an understated natural look—and the effect can even give the illusion of having larger lips. But finding the right color can be more difficult than selecting the correct foundation! Which is why when RGB released a collection of nude foundation-inspired polishes there were four hues—an option that worked for every skin tone. The pigment on your lips contains several different shades (often darker around the outside or uneven throughout), and choosing complementary undertones is essential to avoid looking like you have a chapped (or worse, corpse's) mouth. We chatted with celebrity makeup artist Adam Breuchaud (clients include Elizabeth Olsen, Garcelle Beauvais, and Bryce Dallas Howard) to better understand the art of finding the perfect nude hue for any complexion.
"A lot of women tend to avoid a nude lip because they feel it will wash them out," says Adam. Yes, it's true the wrong shade can cause this effect on your complexion, however, Adam has a good trick for avoiding the dreaded dead girl look. "Test the hue by swiping it on the underside of your wrist, at the bottom of the palm of your hand. The color should be one or two shades darker than the skin there." What does he mean by darker? Just like the palms of our hands have darker undertones, so should your nude lipstick. Fair-skinned women should go for sandy pink undertones, medium or olive-skinned ladies can opt for rose-beige undertones, and darker-skinned gals should try bronze tints.
Another trick for mastering the pale pout? "Stay away from beige tones altogether," suggests Adam. "Instead, try a pale pink or peach tint. These hues will still allow you to achieve the nude lip, and you will find that compared to beige options they look warmer and brighter." Plus, no matter what your lip undertone is, peach color-corrects and neutralizes darker lip pigments. This correcting color trick also works when you layer a sheer peach gloss on top of your chosen nude lipstick. Remember, Beauties, this peach shade should still complement your natural undertones.
"If you have a strong lip color naturally, use a thin layer of your concealer under your lipstick to tone it down," says Adam. "Also, stay away from cooler nude colors with gray undertones because they can make you look dull and pale."
Bonus: Before you hit the makeup counters, Adam selects a few of his favorite nude shades so you have an easy starting point.