As the sunshine comes out and the weather warms, everything seems to be about minimalism. Clothes strip down to skinny straps and short hems, hair relaxes into natural waves and simple braids, and makeup washes away to reveal sunkissed skin and freckled cheeks. What better time than spring to really bare it all with a natural nude lip color?
A general rule of thumb when it comes to a naked pout is to stick to a creamy or sheer formula in a color that falls within of one or two shades from your natural lip color. The tricky part is finding the right shade for your skin tone. While fairer complexions look lovely in versions with pink or peachy undertones—anything too yellow will look washed out or sickly—golden skin tones are enhanced by warm flesh tones and beige buffs. Olive-skinned ladies tend to wear most any nude well, but will find rose-tinted and tan colors are particularly flattering. Darker complexions look stunning in sheer bronzes and earthy caramels.
Once you’ve found your perfect shade, prep your lips with a gentle exfoliator and a moisturizing balm. Chapped, dry lips are a beauty nudist’s worst enemy! Pair your pucker with a rosy cheek and lush lashes for a demure daytime look, or go all out sultry for evening with a smoky cat eye.
Find the nude lipstick that's perfect for you!
One of MAC's most popular nude lip colors—and perhaps the standard against which all others are measured—Creme d'Nude is the ultimate neutral. Neither peachy pink, nor tawny brown, this lipstick is as close to naked as you can get. Though it may be a perfect fleshy tone if you have light to golden skin, darker complexions may find it a bit pale.
(MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Creme d’Nude, $15, maccosmetics.com)
This hydrating formula goes on smooth and keeps lips soft and supple—a must when going nude. The shade 'Naked Dolly' is a pale peach-pink, perfect for fair skin tones.
(Too Faced La Crème Lipstick in Naked Dolly, $21, sephora.com)
A cult favorite among nude lip lovers, NARS Lip Lacquer in Chelsea Girls is a creamy not-too-beige, not-too-pink shade that pairs perfectly with a Bardot-esque smoky eye.
(NARS Lip Lacquer in Chelsea Girls, $25, narscosmetics.com)
This drugstore staple is a regular on beauty blogs and cosmetic dupe lists. The color Bare it All is a great (and affordable!) neutral—bare enough to look natural, rich enough to not look washed out.
(Wet 'n Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Bare it All, $1.99, drugstore.com)
If the glamorous gold tube doesn't already have you enamored with this lipstick from Yves Saint Laurent, one swipe of the luxurious rosy taupe color will have you hooked.
(YSL Rouge Volupté in Sensual Silk, $34, yslbeautyus.com)
If standard flesh-colored nudes leave you feeling washed out or sickly, try this earthy terracotta lip cream called Abu Dhabi by NYX cosmetics. The velvety texture of the soft matte formula leaves lips feeling natural without looking chalky.
(NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi, $6, nyxcosmetics.com)
This shade of Revlon's popular Lip Butters is a sheer bronzed tan with a slight shimmer to it. The warm nude is a great option for those with olive or golden complexions.
(Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Crème Brûlée, $7.49, drugstore.com)
From the tube the color Barbarella may seem a bright peachy coral, but the sheer formula goes on as a light honey pink for that sexy ingenue look that is just begging for bedhead hair and a cat eye.
(NARS Sheer Lipstick in Barbarella, $26, narscosmetics.com)
A perfect gloss for summer, N.Y.C.'s Liquid Lip Shine in Nude York City is a sandy nude with a slight shimmer. This yummy gloss is just sheer enough to make it great for layering or swipe it on by itself for a sexy, au naturel sheen.
(NYC Liquid Lip Shine in Nude York City, $2.36, drugstore.com)
Tom Ford's Sable Smoke is one of those chameleonic shades that magically adapts to look divine on all skin tones. On fairer complexions the color appears as a milky rose beige, while warmer skin tones bring out the lipstick's peachy caramel side.
(Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color in Sable Smoke, $48, neimanmarcus.com)
Often compared to some of the most popular neutral lip colors from MAC and NARS, Rimmel's Nude Delight is a versatile, neutral hue of buff that flatters most skin tones.
(Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick in Nude Delight, $6.99, ulta.com)
For those glossy, seductive, Kim Kardashian lips, treat your kisser with MAC's Cremesheen Glass in Boy Bait. The milky gloss is a pale flesh pink for a look that is sultry in that sweet, innocent, first crush kind of way.
(MAC Cremesheen Glass in Boy Bait, $20, maccosmetics.com)