Nude lipstick is hard to navigate. The right one complements your skin tone, pairs perfectly with a dramatic smoky eye or flick of black liner, and makes you look Kate Moss-esque. The wrong one, on the other hand, makes you look like an extra on the set of The Walking Dead. Knowing this, we asked our team of editors to share the one nude lipstick they’ve deemed their Holy Grail—the highest honor bestowed on any beauty product. Keep scrolling to see their picks!
Michelle Plantan, Social Media Director and Content Strategist
Skin Tone: Light, with warm undertones
The Pick: L'Oréal Colour Riche Balm ($8) in Caramel Comfort
The Praise: “I can't remember how or when I found this shade, but I'm glad it made its way into my life. I am a fan of this product for three key reasons: One, it is essentially a pigmented balm in the form of a lipstick bullet, so it's moisturizing and can take the place of lip balm if you're low on purse real estate; two, the shade may be darker than most traditional nudes, but it's forgiving enough that you can easily apply it without a mirror or worrying that it's all over your face and teeth; and three, it's a drugstore find, which means you can apply as liberally as your heart desires because it’s a bargain to replenish.”
Olivia Collins, Associate Social Media Editor
Skin Tone: Fair, with warm undertones
The Pick: Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick ($21) in Melted Nude
The Praise: “The color is beautiful, it’s easy to apply, and it lasts all day long (really!). Also, it makes my small lips look a little more plump than they usually do, which is always a plus!”
Deven Hopp, Editor
Skin Tone: Fair, with cool undertones
The Pick: Tom Ford Lip Color ($50) in Nude Vanille
The Praise: “I love a good nude lip, and by nude I mean nude-nude—nothing rosy or pinky that could be in the nude family, but instead, a true nude. I'm also very fair-skinned, so for every 20 nude lipsticks I swatch, I maybe find one that doesn't make me look, for lack of better word, dead. For years I toted around a broken tube from a brand I'm pretty sure doesn't even exist any more. Not too long ago, I found a shade that made me give up my clearly past-its-prime color: Tom Ford's Nude Vanille.
The formula is incredibly creamy and the color is the perfect cool nude. Cool-toned nudes are hard to find because they can often come across a little gray, but not this one. It's the only nude lipstick I'll wear.”
Faith Xue, Editor
Skin Tone: Light/medium, with warm undertones
The Pick: Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick ($7) in Shade 03
The Praise: “I have a bevy of nude lipsticks that are on constant rotation, but this drugstore gem has made the cut every single time. I picked it up four years ago when I was living in London (aka the height of my Kate Moss obsession), and it was one of the first nude lipsticks I ever tried—and it singlehandedly converted me to #teamnude for life. The formula is rich and creamy, and gives a full coat of pigment in one swipe. I like that the actual lipstick part feels sturdy, like I can press it firmly into my lips without fear of it breaking (which has definitely happened before with other lipsticks).
The color is a pale, pale nude with mostly cool undertones and maybe just the very tiniest hint of peach. It’s definitely a full-on nude-nude, and looks amazing with thick black liner or a smudged smoky eye. The finish result has a slight sheen, lasts all night, and I swear the color changes a bit to suit my skin tone after a few minutes. My only qualm is that the shade sold under the same moniker in the U.S. looks a bit different online, a much warmer, pinker shade of nude. I’m anxious about the day I reach the end of my bullet and will be forced to find out.”
Alina Gonzalez, Editor
Skin Tone: Medium, with olive undertones
The Pick: Charlotte Tilbury Kissing Lipstick ($32) in Nude Kate
The Praise: “The first night I ever wore this lipstick—which was the first time I'd worn a true nude color since high school (my go-to's are always pink)—my boyfriend went out of his way at the event we were at to tell me, "You should wear nude lipstick more often," and that he really, really liked how it looked. When your boyfriend of five years not only notices, but compliments your nude lipstick? You know it's good. He's not really the type to notice something as subtle as a neutral lip color change, so that really made me realize that this lipstick was something special.
I always layer it with the matching nude lip gloss, Blondie, to give a little more depth thanks to those light-reflecting particles that make your lips look plumper and poutier. I think nude lipstick often looks too flat and dead without some gloss on top!”
Keep scrolling to shop all the lipsticks in this story!