How do I pull off the nude lip look?

Nude lips can make you look chic, sophisticated and sexy.

Celebrities, from reality-television star Kim Kardashian to singer Jennifer Lopez to Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki, turn to nude lips as part of their signature make-up look.

But when nude lips are done wrongly, you end up looking sickly.

Here is how to do it right.


1 The rest of your make-up matters.

Because the nude lip is so subtle, you have to play up the rest of your features.

A defined brow and lined eyes with full lashes are necessary. Smoky eye make-up looks great with a barely-there lip shade too.

A flawless and healthy-looking complexion to balance the neutral lip shade is also essential, so blend on the foundation, concealer, highlighter, blusher and bronzer.

2 Care for your lips. Naked-looking lips must look soft, smooth and plump. Piling nude lipstick onto cracked, flaky and rough lips is a disaster.

Exfoliate your puckers and keep them moisturised. The lip colour will go on more smoothly and last longer.

Bliss' Fabulips Set ($75) contains all you need for healthier-looking lips: foaming lip cleanser, sugar scrub, lip plumper and balm.

Fresh's Sugar Lip Polish ($33, left), a gentle exfoliator, is a cult favourite.

Complement it with the brand's anti-ageing Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy ($36) and Sugar Advanced Therapy Balm ($58).

To keep lips clean and healthy, use a lip cleanser to get rid of stains from long-lasting lipsticks. Sephora's Ultimate Oil-In-Gel Lipstick Remover ($13) does the job.


3 Prime your lips.

To get a true nude shade, especially if you have a naturally bright pink pout or lips that are uneven in colour, line lips and fill them with a nude lip pencil first.

Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in Naked (beige with a pink undertone, $30) and Naked 2 (beige with a brown undertone, above, $32), as well as Marc Jacobs' (P)outliner Longwear Lip Pencil ($34) in 300 (Nude)ist (a brownish pink-beige) are good options. They blend easily and help lipstick to last longer.

An alternative: After applying liquid foundation with a face brush, apply the bit left on the brush onto your lips.

But if you like, it is fine to pick a nude shade that goes with your natural lip colour.

If you have problems with bleeding lipsticks, apply Sephora's waterproof and colourless Universal Lip Liner ($13) on the outside of lips.

4 Pick the right texture and shade.

For fuller-looking lips, go for high-shine ones or layer a complementary gloss over matte lipstick for the same effect.

Matte lipsticks lend a classy finish to the overall make-up look. But stay away from them if you have thin lips - the texture will make your lips disappear.

Also, stay away from frosty shades that can look tacky.

When choosing the right nudes for your skin tone, stick to these rules:

1. Nude lips should look like lips, they should not blend into the rest of your face. So the lip colour should always be at least two shades darker than your skin tone. Nude shades that are lighter than your skin tone are unflattering.

2. The prettiest nudes match the undertone of your skin. Generally, if you have fair skin, go with a beige with pink undertones so you do not look washed out.

If you have darker skin, a nude with brown undertones would work.

This season, nude lips are a staple in the line-up of beauty brands.

Here are my picks.

Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel ($42 each) in 110 Role Play, a rosy pink-beige with a satin finish; and 106 Moody Margot (top), a sheer and glossy light pink that also tones down the natural lip colour.

Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss Lip Lacquer ($36) in 101 Light Beige, a sheer beige gloss with iridescent flecks. Wear it alone or over an opaque nude shade.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick ($32) in 02 Dolce, a glossy honey shade with gold flecks that flatters darker skin tones.

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon ($21) in 405 Sedona Sands, a sheer matte pink-beige that plays up the natural lip colour.

Too Faced Melted Sugar Liquified Long Wear Lipstick ($30) in Melted Chihuahua, a matte and opaque apricot beige best for warm skin tones.

Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint ($36) in Glitzy, a sheer dusky pink-beige shade with iridescent flecks that looks best on olive skin.

Sephora Rouge Infusion The Neutrals ($22) in 15 Rosebud, a long-lasting, opaque glossy and pretty pink-beige.

Urban Decay High Colour Lipgloss ($32 each) in Liar (right), a dusky pink-beige suited for darker skin tones, and Kinky, a fresh pink- beige for fairer skin tones. The colours are opaque, glossy and sexy.

Take the Sephora Naked Truth Quiz at masterkiss.sephora to find out what your signature nude lipstick shade is.

All products are available in Sephora stores.


This article was first published on May 22, 2015.
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