“Your/My lips, but better” — a phase taken out of the 21st century beauty lexicon which you’ve probably read about a million times these days. The premise of it is straightforward; secure a pinkish-nude lipstick a shade or two darker than your own lips, slick it on, and — wala! — you’ve got your perfect ‘MLBB’ shade to nail that effortless no-makeup-makeup-look.
There’s no better way to achieve this au naturel finish than with a skin-tone lipstick. Sienna-toned cinnamon shades, cool-toned cocoas, and soft, neutral salmons are adorning lips left and right, and we’re loving just how flattering this color can be on a range of skin tones.
Thankfully, the pale iteration of this trend is no more; as anyone who wore concealer-coated lips in the early noughties can attest. If you want to look chic and dodge that whole ‘zombie-fied’ vibe, here are the best nude lipsticks we’ve tried for you to choose from.
Colour: This pulls off as a medium toned brown with a slight tinge of rosy undertones. It’s the go-to choice for those looking a super 90s’ nude lippie — a creamy matte true brown. Urban Decay’s 1993 is one of the most flattering brown lipsticks I own; it’s a slightly darker nude on me (I’m a medium neutral with yellow-undertones) and the warm rosy hue renders the shade super wearable and suitable for everyday use. I can imagine this being the perfect nude shade for darker skin tones.
Texture and Pigmentation: Just one swipe of this lipstick lays down a load of pigment. It has a creamy buttery texture which glides effortlessly on the lips, without tugging or skipping, and feels hydrating on the lips (none of that cracked, prune—like pouts for us, thank you very much!). Though we’d refer to the formula as satin since it doesn’t dry to an unbudgeable finish, the lipstick pulls off as a velvety matte as it does not have a sheen to it. It fades evenly throughout the day without any patchiness and requires a quick touch-up after a meal.
Colour: Described as a ‘blushing nude’ on the Fenty Beauty (read our review on Fenty Beauty’s other products here) site, this shade is a light beige with slight peachy-orange undertones. The colour is beautiful; unique from all the other boilerplate nudes you’ll find in the market. This will look really flattering on lighter complexions — be it warm or cool-toned, but may wash-out those with darker, tanned skin.
Texture and Pigmentation: First of all, I think it’s great that the lipstick comes in such a slim design — it’s so much easier to define the lips without going over the line. It feels smooth and lightweight, but despite its balmy, soft texture, packs a whole punch of intense pigment on the lips. Pigmented lipsticks are usually either too drying or have a satin sheen to them, but this lipstick has completely changed the game by offering us the best of both worlds: a high colour payoff and a flat matte finish. It does feel tacky on the lips even after drying down but on the bright side, its longevity is one to beat; this lipstick stayed on my lips the entire day, even after a meal which starred lipsticks’ worst enemy: a bowl of ramen.
Colour: Similar to Fenty Beauty’s Single, Tarte’s new Rainforest of The Sea lipstick in the shade Colada swatches as a more muted iteration of the former lippie. It’s a toasty peanut-butter beige and is a more subtle alternative for those who prefer an au naturel finish. Upon application, it appeared as though the lipstick was the exact same shade as my lips. But after closer inspection, I found that it gave my pout a nice creamy wash of colour.
Texture and Pigmentation: This is one of Tarte’s most hydrating bullet lipstick formulas yet. It’s great for moisturising your lips while delivering a full coverage finish. The lipstick smooths over the fine lines in my lips and feels comfortable, almost like a chap stick— zero stickiness involved. It does require some reapplying after eating, as it is a water-based lipstick.
Colour: Described as a dusty rose, this shade pulls off more as a warm coral-toned nude, great for those who tend to veer towards vibrant peachy-pinks. It looks especially flattering on warm-toned asian skin, and gives a beautiful flush of a ‘sheer, orangey pink’ tint that’s popular in K-beauty now.
Texture and Pigmentation: This chunky jumbo crayon is saturated with rich pigments and glides on the lips smoothly for an even, creamy application. The design gives it the precision tip of a lip liner, while the formula delivers an opaque coverage of a matte bullet lipstick. It has a velvety texture, is super long lasting (this shade lasted about 7 hours on me), and doesn’t transfer when blotted.
Colour: Maybelline’s new matte lipstick in the shade Toasted Brown brings to mind raw sandalwood; it is a medium-toned brown with warm terracotta undertones. This shade will look universally flattering on all skin tones, it’s a barely-there colour with depth and a subtle reddish-hue to brighten up your face.
Texture and Pigmentation: When I first tried this lipstick, I was instantly floored. It dries down to a powdery matte finish — when I pressed or rubbed my lips together, it felt as if I had set my lips with superfine powder. It wears comfortably on the lips and is mostly kiss-proof (it leaves a faint, sheer mark on the back of my hand when I tested it out). As for longevity, it stays on throughout the day, though it does tend to get streaky after a meal.
Colour: The shade ‘Seduction’ is a warm mahogany or a reddish-brown nude that will complement all skin tones. It dries down as a medium to medium-dark shade and is a gorgeous subdued option for those who tend to stick to classic red lipsticks. It can be a perfect ‘my lips but better’ kind of a shade for those with darker skin tones.
Texture and Pigmentation: This actually takes a while to set, and the consistency felt almost like a lip cream more than a liquid lipstick. It completely dries down to a matte finish and is transfer-proof. One layer of application leaves a patchy result, but layering on more product does help to give it a more even, pigmented finish. It feels dry on my lips and tends to wear on the inner rim of my lips after I’ve had a meal, so it does not fare too well on the long-lasting scale.
Colour: One of Kat Von D’s most popular liquid lipstick shades, Lolita is described as a chestnut rose with a matte finish. On my lips, this appeared to be a mid-tone mauve with rosy, neutral undertones. It’s an edgy color to wear without looking pulling off too bold and vampy.
Texture and Pigmentation: It’s a fan favourite for a reason. This liquid lipstick glides on very smoothly, and begins to dry under a minute after application, which makes it easy to apply. It feels light on the lips although the formula is a bit drying (it is matte, of course) — but not to the extent that my already-dry lips start to crack or wrinkle. All in all, it coats the lips with an even layer of colour-rich pigments and lasts all day long.