Wearing nudes is a risky business as a redhead I find, as there’s a fine line between rocking a chic nude lip that’s the perfect foil for a smokey eye, and looking like you’ve just been exhumed.
And that’s before you factor in that I’m 43 and have noticed that my lip line is definitely losing definition and that my lips are decidedly thinner than they were in my twenties..so choice of lip colour and finish has become really important now.
I’ve spent many an hour faffing around on Instagram and Pinterest and trawling the shelves of Sephora and Mecca, researching and swatching a myriad of nudes. And watching Lisa Eldridge videos by the bucket load – which isn’t a hardship let’s be honest – as she coaches us through the right choices for our skin type. And I reckon I’ve finally nailed it and get what works for me. And that meant firstly coming to terms with the fact that the true beige nudes that look so effortless on the likes of Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham (wearing their Charlotte Tilbury namesakes) just don’t work for me. As much as I want them to. In fact they drain me of colour and make me look horrendous. I’m a red head with fair skin (used to be porcelain but have chipped away at that after 13 years in the Aussie sun, picking up pigmentation and freckles on the way) but fundamentally I’ve got a fair bit of pink in my skin so cool tones typically work best on me.
So for me nude is more a flush of pink and definitely more rose than caramel.
Here are my ‘go tos’ and hopefully there’s something for everybody in here. And I apologise in advance that they’re all pretty high end but they’re just the ones that work best for me.
Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream
A true skincare classic and a bit of a cheat as it’s technically a lip balm. Well not even that, it’s a multi functional protectant that can be used anywhere on the body to soothe dry skin but I think it’s a corker of a lip balm and it gives that high end glossy look that looks great on a ‘no make up’ day.
Dior Addict Lip Glow
I’ve talked about this before as I can’t quite make my mind up on whether I love it or it’s a bit style over substance. And I really should work that out at $49 a pop. It’s got quite a strong smell which I’m sure will put some off, but I quite like it. And I love the texture and that I can swipe it on without a mirror if I’m being lazy, which let’s be honest is 95% of the time. It’s a clever little thing that has some funky technology that brings out your lips’ natural colour so theoretically it’ll look very different on you than me and that’s the crux of the matter I guess. On me, it’s a palish bluey pink that can verge on gumball particularly if I layer it up so I find I reach for it most when I’m doing a super quick glowy skinned look with a touch of mascara and pop of pink cream blush. Then it works particularly well, particularly when I dial down the candyfloss hue with a nudey lipliner.
Urban Decay Ex Girlfriend
This hit the Mecca counter as part of the Gwen Stefani collaboration last year (I think) and I snapped it up..matching lipliner as well obvs..and didn’t regret it. It’s super creamy and comfortable to wear and although the most brown of all of these picks, the fact that it’s sheer and with an almost imperceptible shimmer means that it reads – on me anyway – as a very natural peachy nude that goes beautifully with a darker eye. It’s now part of the permanent Vice lipstick range – with its whopping 100 shades – which is a relief as I finished off my first bullet at record speed.
But for the days when it’s too nude, I pull out my Urban Decay Sheer Liar which is a sheer dusty pink and one of those shades that literally looks good on everyone. And at $28 you really can’t go wrong can you?!
Switching up the gears and if you’re looking for more of a matte finish, I’m a big fan of Nars Tolede which is a satiny matte pink rose. It’s lovely to wear and adds that little bit of polish, so I’m a big fan of this for work meetings when I’m going for a polished but natural look. This pairs nicely with their Rosebud lipliner.
And before I move on from Nars, I just have to mention their Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita as I bloody love it! I’ve already gone through one – which is quite the feat with my stupidly large lipstick collection – and it’s just the perfect dusty rose. And I love the lipstick version too..which reminds me, I don’t have it any more so should pop it on my things to buy list..!
Talking of matte shades, I have to mention my current frenemy; Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk. The iconic lippie that she made to answer the prayers of all the Pillow Talk lipliner enthusiasts out there. I am a massive Charlotte Tilbury fan and I want to love this..and don’t get me wrong some days I do, but it’s not an easy pick or a throw on and walk out of the door shade for me. It requires work and a full face of makeup with a bit happening on the eye to balance it out. And the matching lipliner to put things back in proportion.
And finally and a particular fave of mine is Charlotte Tilbury’s Walk of Shame which is a deeper, almost vintage rose which I reach for when I want to take my nude up a notch. It’s gorgeous and I’ve already bought a back up as I love it so much.