In 1962 Crayola changed the name of their “Flesh” crayon to “Peach”, out of respect for the then-burgeoning civil rights movement. The crayon company’s cultural sensitivity memo apparently never trickled down to some typically female-oriented industries. You can hit up any department store and find an array of foundation garments labelled “nude.” But if your skin color is anything darker than beige, you’re fresh outta luck for finding a pair of control panties that exactly match you. And the same thing goes for makeup. Most specifically, lipstick.
As spring turns to summer every year, the magazines all start sounding the trumpet. Nude makeup is back! Get that hot nude look! And with reason — it makes for a very glam, very feminine, eternally fresh look. When done right, a nude lip doesn’t make you look washed out or corpse-like, au contraire. A smokey eye and a nude lip, so timeless, so gorgeous.
But guess what — nude isn’t a universal shade (according to my experience, at any rate. The Sephora bloggers have been convinced otherwise. I’ll have to do some research and get back to you on that one).
Lipsticks called “nude” frequently look just plain crazy on me. Consider some of the hottest options available online. Yves Saint Laurent Sparkling Touch For Lips in Sparkling Nude would be too pink, Philosophy Big Mouth lip sheer in nude, too peach. L’Oreal Endless Kissable Lipcolor in Shamelessly Nude 870 is too light, and I don’t know whose skintone Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipstick in Nude Blush is supposed to match. Even my palest friends might have a hard time with a pink that wan and opaque.
The point is, the typical nude probably isn’t my nude. And most of the time, the products called “nude” are made for a very limited and narrow-minded perspective of what “nude” is. Does that mean that the look doesn’t work for women of color? No siree — it just means you gotta look a little harder for the right nude for you.
The perfect nude should match your skin tone almost perfectly, covering over any slight discoloration your lips may have. A touch of shimmer or gloss amps up the look, but subtle beauty is the watchword. How can you tell that you’ve found your perfect nude? If you try it on the back of your hand, it should almost completely disappear, leaving only slight, pretty shine to let you know where it is.
The perfect “nude” lippie for a brown skinned bella might be a warm rose pink, it might be bronze, it might even be a plum or berry, or a deep, fabulous brown. Valana Minerals Sweet Spice collection has a gorgeous range of deep browns that could work wonderfully for my dark skinned bellas. Cordial Spice is a deep berry, and Nutmeg Spice is deep, dark, delicious brown with gold highlights. Layered under some Carol’s Daughter Candy Paint Lip Gloss in Bubbling Brown Sugar — oh, honey. Don’t hurt ‘em!
Philosophy the supernatural lip gloss in neutral is a great, very universal slightly-sheer warm pinky-brown lipgloss that would work great for many brown skinned bellas.
The standout nude lipstick for me is Cover Girl Queen Collection in Shiny Cinnamon. It’s a warm, creamy pinky brown that is incredibly subtle and stunning on me. When I put it on, I feel liberated to go with really bold eye makeup — a nude lip sets off bangin’ eye drama like nothing else. I love this look for outdoorsy days – it’s very clean, very fresh, and it goes perfectly with my happy spring wardrobe!
Do you rock the nude look, bellas? Or have you not found your perfect shade yet?
Sites That Link to this Post
- Afrobella: When Is “Nude” Not Nude? | Pop + Politics | April 23, 2009
- Makeup Muses at the MET | afrobella | May 8, 2009
- Nude Lip Colors for Black Women « Makeup 4 Black Women | January 11, 2010
- M·A·C Nude Lipstick Collections « Cosmetics Authority | February 20, 2012
- Nude Lip Colors for Black Women | Makeup 4 Black Women | March 29, 2013