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Stop Searching for the Perfect Nude Lipstick for Your Dark Skin—We Found It

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Nothing completes a soft glam or no-makeup makeup look quite like the perfect nude lipstick—but what does “nude” mean anyway? According to some makeup brands, nude has long been synonymous with soft pink or beige, leaving those with more melanated skin out of the equation (and with regretfully chalky looking lips).

Today, there are more flesh-hued lipstick pigments than ever that cater to a diverse range of skin tones and complement dark skin tones beautifully. We know that finding the ultimate your-lips-but-better shade can take a bit of trial and error, so we’ve done the work for you with the help of Renée Loiz, celebrity makeup artist and curator of Color May Vary. Renée says, “I like nudes to have a brownish-pink color because it looks more natural on lips and doesn’t leave you looking sickly.” No ashy shades here! Keep reading for the best creamy, satin, and matte nude lipsticks for deep skin tones—including some from our favorite minority and Black-owned brands.

About the Expert:
Renée Loiz is an LA-based makeup artist and beauty brand expert with over 20 years of experience. Her love for research helped her develop her latest project, Color May Vary: the ultimate guide to top-quality, Black-owned brands for beauty enthusiasts that features over 900 brands and is still growing.

1. Best Brown: FENTY BEAUTY Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick in Bubble Rum

FENTY BEAUTY Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick in Bubble Rum
Courtesy of FENTY BEAUTY

This effortlessly sexy shade delivers a sultry, carefree glow that warms up any complexion for day or play. Loiz cites it as one of the best nude lipsticks darker skin tones, saying that this shade looks “absolutely stunning on darker skin tones. This color is chocolate brown with bronze undertones.” Plus, the formula is super nourishing and lightweight. Looking for a lighter nude? Opt for “Makeout Break”.

Loiz recommends choosing a lip liner “One to two shades darker than your nude lipstick. Apply the lip liner first and blend in with a lip brush or your ring finger. Then apply your nude lipstick lightly on top and blend in.” 

2. Best Semi-Matte: MENTED COSMETICS Dope Taupe Semi-Matte Lipstick

MENTED COSMETICS Dope Taupe Semi-Matte Lipstick

You’ll want to do a double take after applying this hydrating lip color. Not only does it go on creamy like a balm but lasts like a matte, it is the most perfect blend of brown and pink for dark skin. It’s my personal go-to for my medium-brown complexion when I want to rock a femine and flirty nude without going for a peach tone.

3. Best Smudge-Proof: BEAUTY BAKERIE Cake D’Ivoire Matte Whip

BEAUTY BAKERIE Cake D’Ivoire Matte Whip

When we say that this smudge-proof liquid lipstick lasts all day, we mean it. The caramel-colored matte lip is the perfect milk chocolate nude to add to your collection when you want to apply your lip color and forget about it all evening. It’s inspired by the tan sands of the Ivory Coast, so enjoy the natural yet standout pigment.

4. Best for Deep Complexions: HUDA BEAUTY Power Bullet Cream Glow Lipstick 

HUDA BEAUTY Power Bullet Cream Glow Lipstick
Courtesy of HUDA BEAUTY

This rich, pinky-brown looks amazing as a romantic chocolate shade on any complexion, but it really shines as the perfect nude for very deep skin tones. It has just a hint of purple to add a bit of depth and make it pop from your complexion. 

4. Best for Light to Medium Brown Skin: PROPA BEAUTY Finesse

Courtesy of PROPA BEAUTY

Even what is considered light or medium-toned brown skin is often still not a match for pale pinks and light beiges. Loiz refers to this neutral taupe as one of her go-to’s. She says, “The color is a mauvey hue and works beautifully with medium skin tones without washing them out.” 

6. Best Budget: L.A GIRL Pretty & Plumping Lipstick in Sweet Tea

L.A GIRL Pretty & Plumping Lipstick in Sweet Tea
Courtesy of L.A GIRL

You don’t have to break the bank to find a nude lipstick you’re crazy about. This plumping formula increases circulation in your lips for a fuller pout and the cocoa color looks amazing on darker skin tones. To ensure you’ve found your most perfect nude lipstick, consider your undertone. According to Loiz, “The easiest way to find your undertone is to try on silver and gold jewelry. If your skin looks good in gold, you have a warmer undertone. If silver looks better, then you have more of a cool undertone. If both silver and gold look good on your skin tone, then you’re a neutral undertone. For those with warmer undertones, go for more peachy brown nude lips, while cooler red or blue undertones can lean towards pinkish browns. Neutral undertones can go either way!”

7. Best Pink: PAT MCGRATH LABS Mattetrance Lipstick in ‘Venus in Furs’

PAT MCGRATH LABS Mattetrance Lipstick in ‘Venus in Furs’

Finally, a pink for dark skin tones that doesn’t cause a chalky contrast! The lightweight color has a matte finish and delivers a rosy pigment that you’ll go to time and time again for a romantic look. 

8. Best Gloss: EM COSMETICS True Gloss in Caramel Glaze

EM COSMETICS True Gloss in Caramel Glaze
Courtesy of EM COSMETICS

Gloss is back and it’s better than ever! This creamy gloss has all of the shine without the sticky texture. The advanced gel base delivers shine long after application and it also has a slight plumping effect so enjoy the tingle. And of course, the sheer warm brown is a great nude for dark skin.

9. Best for Cool Undertones: BOBBI BROWN COSMETICS Crushed Lip Color in Cocoa

BOBBI BROWN COSMETICS Crushed Lip Color in Cocoa

Meet the hydrating satin matte lippie of your dreams. The Cocoa shade comes from the Real Nudes Collection and is the perfect cool brown to complement darker skin tones while nourishing your lips with vitamins E & C. 

10. Best Peach: JUVIA'S PLACE The Nude Velvety Matte Lipstick in Libra

JUVIA'S PLACE The Nude Velvety Matte Lipstick in Libra
Courtesy of JUVIA'S PLACE

This rosy peach nude has found the sweet spot between the perfect nude for every occasion and the hint of color that you're craving. The highly pigmented rosy peach was made with brown skin in mind, so you can play up the color without an unflattering contrast.

11. Best Liquid: DOSE OF COLORS Liquid Matte Lipstick in Cork

DOSE OF COLORS Liquid Matte Lipstick in Cork
Courtesy of DOSE OF COLORS

Introducing your new favorite liquid lipstick. The rich color dries to an ultra comfortable matte finish and the warm golden brown gives golden hour vibes no matter the time of day. Can’t get enough of it? Get the set that features the matte lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss and velvet mousse. 

12. Best Long Wear: TOO FACED Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Makin’ Moves 

TOO FACED Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Makin’ Moves
Courtesy of TOO FACED

This matte lipstick has the staying power of a stain with all of the color intensity of a liquid lipstick. This unique shade is like a nude, but better—with a brick-colored tint that adds a sultry confidence to your look.

13. Best Mauve: DIOR Rouge Dior ‘Saint Germain’

DIOR Rouge Dior ‘Saint Germain’
Courtesy of DIOR

Mauve is such a sought after shade in the nude color family, but it can be difficult to accomplish with deeper skin. This creamy satin lipstick is the answer! Enjoy the intense pigment and 16hr comfortable wear. 

14. Best Plumping: Buxom Full Force Plumping Lipstick in Triple Threat

Buxom Full Force Plumping Lipstick in Triple Threat
Courtesy of BUXOM

This creamy, deep nude shade delivers a warm rosy color that is great for day or night. The hydrating formula visibly plumps your lips while the full coverage delivers a high pigment you won’t miss.

15. Best Vegan: KVD Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick in Bow N Arrow

KVD Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick in Bow N Arrow

This satin-matte fawn nude is the perfect creamy hue that delivers tan pigment without washing out your skin. Users say that it’s surprisingly long lasting for a crème lipstick, plus you can enjoy it without worrying if it harmed our furry friends. 

Ready to see what other new beauty finds you can incorporate into your routine?Take our Beauty Quiz now to get in on all the IPSY Glam bag fun. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Kindra Moné
Kindra Moné is a writer and content creator who works with brands and magazines to create culturally relevant fashion and beauty content. She is also the founder of The Moné Edit: a community and podcast at the intersection of style and wellness.
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Article Last Updated June 12, 2021 12:00 AM