Awards season red carpets usually spell an onslaught of glamorous reds and vampy plums. Not so much this year. Right now, matte nudes are everywhere. From subtle beige to deep toffee, the lighter and more neutral the shade, the chicer. We love! There’s only one issue, here. When makeup companies say “nude,” they mean “white woman nude”—which is usually far too light for brown skin. If your complexion is darker, you need a deeper nude that matches your skin tone (seems so obvious, right?). The great news? These shades do exist. You just need to know where to look! Creamy caramel tones with gold, yellow, or orange-y undertones are the thing—pinkier neutrals can make skin look ashy. Here, we figured it out all for you! Check out our three favorite nudes for light, medium, and dark brown skin.
MAC Lipstick in FreckleTone | $16
MAC Lipstick in FreckleTone sounds exactly like what it is—a hue that’s basically the same shade as a light brown, peachy-tawny freckle! Lush and honey-sunny, this shade is just fair enough for light complexions, but not wash-you-out pale.
Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Totally Toffee | $7.50
A creamy, deep caramel with golden undertones, it’s so pretty on deeply tanned complexions! Plus, you can take it from sheer to high-drama opaque, depending on how much you layer on.
Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Hazelnut | $4.77
A luscious mocha hue, it looks way too fancy to be under five dollars! Not only is it a seamless nude for mahogany skin, it’s spiked with a hint of plum, which gives a surprising pop of richness. (Note: this shade is officially discontinued, but if you google it you’ll still find it available around the web.)
Photo: LuminaStock | all prices approximate and may vary
Tia Williams has been a beauty editor for 15 years, at publications like Elle, Glamour, Lucky, and Essence.com. Back in 2005, Tia created one of the first beauty blogs, Shake Your Beauty, where she wove her love of products through hilarious vignettes from her life as a beauty expert and mom living in Brooklyn. She’s also written several books, including the best-selling novel The Accidental Diva and supermodel Iman’s The Beauty of Color. Follow Tia on Twitter @shakeyourbeauty.