We Tested Hundreds of Nude Lipsticks—These Are the 12 Most Flattering for Every Skin Tone

Want to find the perfect lipstick shade for your specific tone? Look no further.

Photo: Getty Images

In the world of makeup, few products are quite as transformative as lipstick. One swipe and you can instantly feel polished and put together, even if the rest of your face is bare. And while we're all about a classic red lip or a trendy, bold shade, when it comes to versatility and wearability, nude lipstick is where it's at. With just enough color to enhance your lips, these subtle hues work anytime, anywhere, with any outfit or makeup look. The only caveat? As is the case with nude nail polish or even nude-colored clothing, choosing the most flattering option is largely dependent on your skin tone. Since all nudes are most definitely not created equal, we did the hard work for you, rounding up 12 gorgeous nude lipsticks that complement every complexion.

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For Light Skin: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk

If we could only use one lipstick for the rest of our lives, this would be it. The tawny-nude-pink is, in a word, perfect. While it's especially flattering on lighter skin, it truly works on everyone. So it should come as no surprise that one of these is sold every two seconds, and there's even a #pillowtalklipstick hashtag with thousands of posts. (Take a look at those and you'll see just how universally flattering the shade is.) The cult-classic even inspired the brand's Pillow Talk blush and eyeshadow palettes. And let's not forget to mention just how creamy and luscious the formula is, with a matte—though never chalky—finish.

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For Light Skin: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick Balm in Nude Lavalliere

lipstick ysl

Minimalists will appreciate the wisp of barely-there beige color this delivers, though you can also layer on more coats for more impact. And because it's a balm hybrid—infused with a mix of good-for-your-pout oils and butters—it also packs a heavy hit of hydration, but doesn't feel greasy.

03 of 12

For Light Skin: Nudestix Cream Lip+Cheek Pencil in Whisper

Nudestix Cream Lip+Cheek Pencil in Whisper

Multi-tasking for the win. Use this warm pinky beige pencil to line your lips and/or fill them in for all-over color. True to the name, you can even dab some onto the apples of your cheeks in lieu of traditional blush. And unlike many other pencils, this one is nice and creamy, so it won't tug on lips or skin.

04 of 12

For Light Skin: L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Ultra Matte Highly Pigmented Nude Lipstick in Utmost Taupe

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Ultra Matte Highly Pigmented Nude Lipstick in Utmost Taupe

In our experience, any "ultra matte" lippie most likely isn't going to feel particularly comfortable, but that's certainly not the case here. Oils create its hydrating base, while a special light-diffusing gel makes lips look smooth, flawless, and perfectly matte. There are 16 nude shades to choose from in the line, but we're partial to this one, which has just enough color to not totally disappear against fair skin.

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For Medium Skin: Chanel Rouge Allure Liquid Powder in Evocation

lipstick chanel

The brand calls this a 'sheer matte stain,' so let us explain. The color goes on sheer and wet, but quickly dries down (and sets) to a velvety, matte finish. Also nice: You can use the sponge-tip applicator to dab it on more of a subdued stain effect, or swipe it on and layer it for more complete coverage. Either way, you won't be able to get enough of the warm pink hue.

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For Medium Skin: Maybelline New York Superstay Ink Crayon in Enjoy the View

Maybelline New York Superstay Ink Crayon in Enjoy the View

A dusty rose, this nude is ideal for that no-makeup makeup look, enhancing the natural color of your lips without coming across as lipstick. And the formula is truly one of the most long-wearing, budge-proof ones we've tried to date, so go ahead and feel free to eat, drink, and kiss away to your heart's content—it's not going anywhere.

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For Medium Skin: Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Caramello

lipstick stila

All 12 shades of this lippie are gorgeous and wearable, though this true nude is beyond flattering on medium skin tones. In true liquid lipstick fashion, it packs a powerful punch of long-lasting pigment, though still feels comfortable and hydrating (credit the addition of avocado oil and vitamin E). FYI, for the best results, let it set and dry for five minutes or so.

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For Medium Skin: Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipstick in One Day

Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipstick in One Day

With the slightest hint of mauve, this nude pink has just the right amount of pop to it. But you can also easily swap it out and experiment with different shades, thanks to the refillable gold applicator. (Speaking of, we have yet to see a lipstick tube more chic than this one.) Plus, the small and contoured tip on the bullet makes precise application easier than ever.

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For Dark Skin: Revlon Ultra HD Vinyl Lip Lacquer Vinyl Gloss in Date Night

revlon lipstick

An angled applicator with a reservoir tip hugs your lips and delivers the exact amount of color you need for complete coverage in one swipe. In this case it's a deep, cool-toned taupe that looks stunning against dark skin. Bonus points for the high-shine texture and the yummy vanilla scent, too.

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For Dark Skin: Giorgio Armani Ecstasy Shine Lipstick in Fatale

lipstick armani

While browns and caramel tones are gorgeous on deeper complexions, if you prefer something slightly warmer, this rosy cranberry hue is perfect. Not sure if it's right for you? The brand's website features a virtual try-on feature, where you can upload or take a photo and see exactly what any shade will look like on you. Color aside, we love how the formula has the creamy consistency of a balm and the shine of a gloss, all with the traditional color of a lipstick.

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For Dark Skin: Urban Decay Cosmetics Vice Lipstick Comfort Matte in 1993

lipstick urban decay

This full-coverage brown tone is an ideal nude for those with dark skin. Made with aloe vera, jojoba, and avocado butters, it not only hydrates, but glides on seamlessly.

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For Dark Skin: Glossier Play Vinylic Lip in Pony

Glossier Play Vinylic Lip in Pony

A purplish taupe, this reads as nude on deeper complexions but still works on lighter skin, too. Cushiony and comfortable, the color is also buildable, and while some lacquers ultimately lose their shiny finish, the sheen on this one lasts…and lasts.

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