Lovely Look: In the Nude

by Sonja on January 23, 2009

Yesterday I wrote about red lips. I love the glamour of red. But on an everyday basis, I go nude. It’s been so long now that it’s hard to remember when nude lips came into vogue. But once I went nude, I never looked back. I adore the look and never grow tired of it. It’s so chic and doesn’t need to be boring, because there are so many wonderful nudes to choose from these days. I also love it, because I tend to be a lip licker so when my lipstick wears off, I don’t look naked when I work it with strong eye makeup. It’s a look that works day or night.  For added drama at night, I simply go for a deeper or shimmery shade.

To get some tips on how to create the perfect nude lip and choose the right colors, I spoke with Victoria Luburich, an expert makeup artist in the San Francisco Bay Area with twenty-five years experience. She studied fashion and makeup in Europe and has done makeup for the covers of high-profile fashion magazines and makeup ads. She knows nude. She created Wallet Cosmetics, a line of lip colors with an excellent array of nudes and shades for everyone. She describes her line as “nudes with a twist and lots of pigment.”

Terrific Tips

Victoria says, “You can never go wrong with a nude lip.” I couldn’t agree more. She shared several great tips with me on how to create the perfect nude lip…

Pro Prep
Exfoliate. Start by exfoliating lips to remove dry, flaky skin. She recommends scrubbing gently with a pea-size portion of Sara Happ Lip Scrub for 30 seconds. Wipe off with a damp cloth. You don’t need to do this every time you put on lip color. I find that once or twice a week works well. I use this regularly. It works wonders.
Prime. Fill in lines, plump up lips, and help everything stay put with a plumping primer. She goes for Benefit Lip Plump.
Even things out. Make sure your face looks even with a base, even if it’s just a tinted powder, to avoid looking blotchy. She says if skin isn’t even, a nude looks all wrong. Apply just a touch of concealer or foundation on the lips before applying color to start with an even canvas. I always keep concealer on hand when I’m trying on lipsticks at a store, so that I start with a neutral palette and can see what a shade truly looks like.

Choosing a shade. Go for a shade darker than your natural lip color and skin tone so that you don’t look washed out and unhealthy (yeah, I’m not into looking sickly even if I’m sick). If you’re blonde, avoid neutral beigy nudes. On her website, there are color guides for blondes, brunettes, and redheads.
Liner. Before you apply a lipstick or gloss, apply a matching lip pencil and fill in the entire lip to avoid a tell-tale line and double how long your colors lasts. Sketch on pencil with soft, feathery strokes. A nude lip pencil combined with a touch of gloss is easy, breezy and very pretty.
Lip brush. Apply color with a lip brush to help it last longer.
Gloss. If you choose to wear a gloss, apply it to the center of the lower lip only for a sexy pout that doesn’t make you look like you’re headed to a disco (of course, if you are going to a disco or just want to look like it, feel free to apply more). The gloss will work its way up to your upper lip but look subtle and do a better job staying put.

The Overall Look
Don’t skip blush. She says we still need a bit of color on the cheeks to keep the look “soft, pretty, and healthy.” Even a little makes a difference.
Smoky eyes. Play up eyes with a soft or dramatic smoky eye to draw attention to the eyes and keep the look balanced. But don’t go for dark eyes and lips, because it will make you look “like you’re trying too hard.”

Recommended Colors

Victoria shared what some of her favorite Wallet colors are and sent me some samples to try…

Versatile. Victoria recommends a pinky beige shimmer like Bare anytime of day. She says she lives in this color. I also found this to be an ideal color for my light complexion and dark hair, and found myself wearing it all the time.
Soft and Natural. For a very soft, natural look, try a pinky nude like Sheer Natural. She says this is especially good for redheads.
Deep Nude. I like the soft beigy brown Sheer Mocha for a deeper, neutral nude. It looks like creamy cappuccino.
Dramatic Nude. For evening, I like the drama of deep nude with a kiss of berry like Exotic Plum. She says this works best for brunettes. This nude has a lot of impact so I play down  cheeks and eyes.
Perfect Pencils. I consider Dune to be the perfect lip liner. I use it to line and fill in my entire lip before applying a nude or just about any other color, even reds, because it gives me a beautiful neutral base. To create a very natural looking lip, I line with Dune and then fill in with Cameo liner, which has more pink.

What’s Up with Wallet

Wallet has released five new plumping glosses. Right now Victoria is working on a new line of eco-chic lip colors that she’s expecting to launch this spring. Wallet lip goodies are available in 50 stores nationwide and expanding into Europe this spring.

Do Tell

So do tell. Do you love to go nude? Do you remember the days when it was almost impossible to find a good nude? What shades do you love? Have any tips to share?

P.S. Check out our regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some fantastic beauty deals, from companies like Benefit,, and Origins.

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apricot tea. January 23, 2009 at 9:55 am

Oh wow; this helps me so much! I’ve been trying to find the perfect nude shade, but didn’t know where to start. Thank you immensely! :]

WendyB January 23, 2009 at 10:52 am

I’ve never found a nude lipstick that I love for every day. I feel so washed out, most likely because I don’t have the patience to do my eyes more to compensate for the lips.

K-Line January 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I tend to go with dark berry shades - and I do a bit of colour combining by using a few diff lipsticks throughout the day. It’s never quite the same twice. I am totally not into the nude lip because it makes me look dead. I have nice lips that are lost without colour but which really stand out when the lipstick is on.

Sonja January 23, 2009 at 12:28 pm

❤ Apricot Tea, I’m so glad that you found this helpful!
❤ K-Line, perhaps the nudes you’re trying are too close to your skin tone. If the color isn’t a shade or two darker then it will look awful. I love to combine colors, too. I do that all the time. :)

AnNa January 24, 2009 at 2:02 am

still I am going for the red, yet I think nude shades are beautiful (on others). thing for me, it is very hard to dress with lipstick. I tend to wear mainly black clothes when I put on red lipstick, because my other favourite clothes color is red (which, to me does not really match with the lipstick). Nude shades I only put on for professional dates, as they do not (to me) have the sexy connotation of red lipstick. thanks for the new shades, I’ll try to find them over here. :)

What The Pros Do January 24, 2009 at 11:23 am

Great post! I am going to have to try the Sara Happ lip scrub.

I have done quite a bit of bridal which often requires a nude lip and find Hug Me by MAC look great on just about everyone. :)

Sonja January 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm

❤ AnNa, I know what you mean. Red is definitely very sexy. You might want to try the darker nude shades that have a bit of pink in them to add some color. I also just read today that Dick Page designed some lipsticks for Shiseido that all have a touch of red in them, even the nude. Maybe that would work well for you.
❤ What The Pros Do, definitely try her scrub. It works really well. Thanks for the tip about that shade. I’ll have to give it a try.

LauraKitty January 26, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Ahhh, I love nude lips! Narsmakes my favourites- Belle de Jour, Barbarella, Honolulu Honey- but I’ll have to check these ones out.

Sigrún January 27, 2009 at 2:17 am

yay .. i’ve always had problem with lipsticks, this helped! x

Sonja January 28, 2009 at 11:54 am

❤ LauraKitty, you’re so right. Nars makes many fabulous shades, including nudes. It’s hard to keep up! Thanks for letting me know about those shades. I’ll have to check them out.
❤ Sigrun, I’m so happy to hear that this helped!

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