A nude lipstick is one of make-up’s holy grails and deserves a spot in everybody’s kit.
Just like the perfect foundation, lash-lengthening mascara and foolproof red lippie, nude shades are ideal for wearing every day, pairing with statement eyeshadow looks and complementing your complexion.
However, finding the right one can be like finding a needle in a haystack, and it’s often an even harder process for deeper and darker skin tones. Too pale and it leaves lips looking chalky, too dark and it can look more like a statement lip than a neutral shade.
We’ve spent nearly two months putting as many nude lipsticks we could get our hands on to the test and have narrowed it down to the top nine, spanning a range of budgets, skin tones, textures and finishes.
Whether you want matte, satin or gloss, we’ve got you covered in our guide to the best nude lipsticks money can buy.
The best nude lipsticks for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Chanel rouge coco bloom in “112 opportunity”: £29.70, Boots.com
- Best for dark skin – Pat McGrath Labs mattetrance lipstick in “omi”: £35, Selfridges.com
- Best for pale skin – Nyx Professional Makeup power puff in “best buds”: £9, Superdrug.com
- Best for warm undertones – Vieve modern matte lipstick in “power suit”: £19, Cultbeauty.co.uk
- Best budget option – The Body Shop matte lipstick in “sienna rose”: £8, Thebodyshop.com
- Best matte nude lipstick – Uoma Beauty badass icon matte lipstick in “Tracy”: £21.50, Beautybay.com
- Best nude gloss – Westman Atelier squeaky clean liquid lip balm in “nana”: £35, Cultbeauty.co.uk
- Best for brown skin – Emolyne lipstick in “mali”: £23, Emolyne.com
- Best for olive skin – Charlotte Tilbury look of love lipstick in “nude romance”: £28, Cultbeauty.co.uk
Chanel rouge coco bloom in “112 opportunity"
If you love the texture of a lip balm with the pigmentation of a full coverage lipstick, this Chanel nude lipstick is the one for you – it’s creamy and soft but has an impressive staying power that lasts all day. With a glossy, oil-like finish, it’s ideal if you want to steer clear of matte shades and keep your lips hydrated and plump while wearing lipstick. We paired it with a copper shimmer eyeshadow, but it would also work well with a smokey eye, eyeliner flick and lashings of mascara. The tube is nice and compact, embossed with Chanel’s famous double C logo, and fits easily into a pocket and small handbag in case you want to touch up after dinner. A great all-rounder.
Pat McGrath Labs mattetrance lipstick in “omi"
Best: For dark skin
Pat McGrath DBE is one of the most venerated make-up artists in the industry and since creating her eponymous line of luxury make-up in 2017, it has quickly risen to become a bestselling brand among make-up aficianados. “Omi” is part of the mattetrance lipstick collection, rich in pigment with excellent staying power that held up through multiple cups of coffee and even a spaghetti dinner. A brilliant option for darker skin tones, it’s not drying in the slightest, nor does it leave lips feeling tight and uncomfortable. It can also be easily built-up in layers for a more vivid colour payoff. On Caucasian skin it delivers a darker rosy pink that’s still very flattering. Across eight hours of wear, our lips still felt soft and comfortable and if the formula isn’t enough to sway you, the ultra chic packaging of a black casing with gold detailing surely will be.
Nyx Professional makeup power puff in “best buds"
Best: For pale skin
We love the soft-focus effect this lipstick delivers and while it’s matte, it’s not dry at all. Although it won’t last hours on end, it’s fantastic for topping up on the go, with the cushion applicator being much easier to use than it looks. The texture is akin to a creamy mousse and it’s easy to blend with your finger. We enjoyed wearing it on its own as well as layering a gloss on top for added texture. Think of it as a modern matte formula; it won’t make lips feel overly dry and is so lightweight you’ll barely notice you’re wearing anything.
Vieve modern matte lipstick in "power suit”
Best: For warm undertones
In November 2020, make-up artist turned influencer Jamie Genevieve launched her own brand, Vieve, with an eyeshadow palette and five nude lipstick shades. Since then it’s expanded into complexion products, eyeshadow sticks and false lashes, but ‘power suit’ is a creamy matte shade we keep going back to. The packaging is very Tom Ford-esque, so if you don’t have the budget, but still want a luxury lipstick, this is perfect. Beautifully lightweight and soft on skin, it has an orange undertone that gives it a 70s feel and is very on trend.
The Body Shop matte lipstick in “sienna rose"
Best: Budget option
If you’re shopping on a budget, head to The Body Shop. While better known for its luscious body butters and face masks, its lipsticks are an underrated gem. As one of the best dupes for Mac’s famous “velvet teddy” lipstick, this pink-undertoned nude isn’t super rich in pigment, so you will need to apply a couple of coats to fully cover lips, but this isn’t a bad thing as it allows you to build up the colour intensity at your own pace. It’s a vegetarian formula made with sustainably sourced Community Fairtrade Brazil nut oil and beeswax. It’s not drying, but if you did want to ensure your lips stay smooth and hydrated, we’d recommend applying a lip balm underneath.
Uoma Beauty badass icon matte lipstick in “Tracy"
Best: Matte nude lipstick
This is your classic matte, budge-proof, transfer-proof lipstick that once applied, isn’t going anywhere. “Tracy” is a deep brown shade that’s beautiful on deeper skin tones. It’s so rich in pigment that with one coat you can instantly complete your make-up look and it has a creamy texture that glides over skin and doesn’t dry out. Nothing held up like this shade beneath a face covering or when at brunch, so if you love a matte finish, this is hard to beat.
Westman Atelier squeaky clean liquid lip balm in “nana"
Best: Nude lip gloss
Founded by make-up artist Gucci Westman, Westman Atelier is a high-end brand worth splurging on if you have a bigger budget. Its latest launch is a new line of lip balms that are a sheer gloss that adds a wash of colour to skin. Creamy but not sticky, it’s lovely and lightweight with all the hydrating benefits of a balm but with the high-shine finish of gloss. The doe foot applicator is straight with a rounded edge which makes applying an even coat easy and feels like an oil when it first hits skin, thanks to a formula rich in jojoba, almond and argan oils. It comes with a small canvas pouch too, perfect for bringing with you on the go.
Emolyne lipstick in "mali”
Best: For brown skin
Founded by Emolyne Ramlov, Emolyne is a newer beauty brand on the scene that offers 15 nude lipsticks to suit every skin tone and 15 red lipsticks to suit every undertone, all with corresponding nail polishes. It’s smart, sleek and well worth trying if you’re in need of either product. “Mali” is part of its matte lipstick range and is a beautiful choice for darker skin tones. The packaging is an ombre glitter-covered push-up tube that feels just as luxurious as you would expect for the price tag. The lipstick itself is creamy and richly pigmented, just one coat was enough to deliver an opaque colour. With a semi-matte finish, it’s the most comfortable matte lipstick we’ve tried and has none of the dryness that is commonly found in traditional matte formulas.
Charlotte Tilbury look of love lipstick in "nude romance”
Best: For olive skin
One of the newer additions to Charlotte Tilbury’s K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick range is “nude romance” a peachy, brown-based nude that has a balmy, creamy texture. We loved the decadent rose gold packaging that’s embellished with silver crystals for the Hollywood feel that the brand is known for. It has a satin finish that gives a subtle glow to lips without it looking dated, and we noticed very little transfer when eating and drinking.
The verdict: Nude lipsticks
If you’re loyal to a matte formula, or want to spend less than £10, the Nyx Professional Makeup power puff in “best buds” gives a modern, soft-focus finish thanks to its sponge-tip applicator.
But overall we loved the creamy, balmy texture of Chanel rouge coco bloom in “112 opportunity” – it was speedy to apply and left lips with a subtle shine that looked like a gloss with all the comfort of a lip balm.
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