On the long list of black girl beauty struggles, finding a "nude" lipstick that doesn't make you look like an ashy hospice patient ranks somewhere up there with shopping for foundation for the first time and trying to do your own bantu knots.
But don't give up, my dear sisters. Celebrity makeup artist Tatiana Ward, aka Beat Face Honey, gave us the tea on how brown girls can get the "nude," or natural, lip look.
We found that colors that are actually marketed as nude are usually more fitting for white women than they are for women with brown skin tones. But, when we tried colors with brown names, like “java” and “coffee,” we had significantly better results.
Nude: Ward applied Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick in Nude Delight.
Model Feedback: "I don't like this at all. I look like those street artist statues... but no one would tip me for this."
For Look 1: Ward applied a matte lipstick, Black Opal's In The Buff. For women with a lighter skin tone, going one to two shades darker than a brand's nude can create the effect in a very flattering way.
Model Feedback: "I normally don't do nudes, lips that is (wink, wink), but I like this! It's very subtle and so pretty."
For Look 2: The model is wearing Black Opal's Nude Scene gloss on top of In the Buff for a lasting effect and sultry shine. Nudes by brands that cater to skin tones of color, like Black Opal, are usually a good match for brown women.
Model Feedback: "This is closer to the lipsticks I normally wear. I love my lips looking big and shiny, and the gloss gives me the perfect amount of plump!"
For Look 3: A more defined lip was created by lining the lips, and then applying Black Opal's Hint of Pink lipstick. To give your lip a more structured finish, trace the outer lines with brown pencil.
Model Feedback: "I'm a huge fan of the ombre lip. It reminds me of the days when women used black eyeliner to line their lips, but this just modernized it. It looks very sophisticated."
Nude: Ward applied Wet 'n Wild Megaslicks Balm Stain Moisturizing Lip Color in Nudist Colony.
Model Feedback: "Ewww! My lips look sick, and not in the cool, hip sense of the word. I mean literally sick, as in dying."
For Look 1: Ward applied Maybelline Touchable Taupe from the Color Sensational The Buffs collection. For women with skin tones in the middle, nude collections specifically made to include a variety of complexions are probably the best bet.
Model Feedback: "Much, much better than the first look! Personally, I would go with something a little more visible, but I do like the softness of this. The dramatic eye is everything, and it really takes center stage here."
For Look 2: If you're not really into lipsticks, or if they dry out your lips, just wearing gloss is a great option. Here, the model is wearing Black Opal Color Splurge Patent Lips in Uptown Brown.
Model Feedback: "Ooh wee! My lips look cinnamon-kissed. The real MVP of the bunch and definitely my fave! *Singing, Feelin' myself, feelin myself, I'm feelin' my, feelin' my.*"
For Look 3: The makeup artist lined the model's lips and then filled them in with a lip pencil before applying Wet 'n Wild Megaslicks Moisturizing Lip Color in Caffeine Fix. Filling in the lips with liner first makes the color appear richer and gives a longer wear.
Model Feedback: "Yassss to this color! This was a very close second for me. Loved the rich, deep, and luscious hue."
Nude: Ward applied Rimmel London Lasting Finish lipstick from the Kate Moss collection in 113, the signature line's only available nude shade in store.
Model Feedback: "So in case you can't tell by the overkill of joy in my face, I hate this. It looks like I took one of those jumbo pastel pink pieces of sidewalk chalk that you use to draw hopscotch and went. to. towwwwn on my lips."
For Look 1: For women with darker skin tones, we suggest brands that specialize in cosmetics for women of color because they have more products that compliment brown complexions. Ward used CoverGirl Queen Collection lipstick in Javalicious.
Model Feedback: "I love the orange undertone to this color! I would definitely wear this as an everyday [look], without question."
For Look 2: So when you want a little shine, but a lot of pigment (and your clutch can only fit one product), a cream lipstick is the answer. The model is wearing Black Opal Color Splurge Creme Lipstick in Bon Bon.
Model Feedback: "This darker nude is glossy, sultry, and so very sexy. And paired with this blue eye? Perfect for a night out, honey!"
For Look 3: Line your lips with a lighter color than your lip for more dimension. Ward gave the model CoverGirl Queen Collection lipstick in Mocha Locha, and applied a little Black Opal gloss in Caramel Mousse on top.
Model Feedback: "I love that the outer rim of my lip is slightly darker from the lip liner, creating an ombre effect. This is my favorite of all three colors. I could wear it for any and all occasions."