Get the Look – Nude Lips for Dark Skin


Finding anything ‘nude’ coloured when you’re darker of skin can be a huge challenge. At my school, we were supposed to wear skin coloured tights; a requirement that lead to me either wearing orangey fake tan nylons or stockings that made me look as though I’d been dipped in sickly beige paint. When it comes to rocking the nude lip trend, this dilemma becomes even more serious. Unlike our lighter skinned sisters, the melanin gifted cannot simply swipe on colours called ‘honey beige’, ‘barely there’ and ‘lingerie’. We must look out for the coffees, the chocolates and the brick tones. The colours that will work as nudes on us will not be branded as such. And so, a quick guide to the hidden au natural lipsticks out there…

The inspiration:


Get the Look:

Firstly, you’re going to have to determine what colour a nude lip should be for you. Cover your lips in Vaseline, dip one finger in a jar of brown sugar, then exfoliate your lips firmly but gently in a circular motion. After giving your lips a wipe, take a good look at their natural, scrubbed colour and take note, or snap a photo. This is the colour you’re going to try to match (or at least, compliment) as you search. If your lips are naturally two-toned, choose the colour you like the most, then cover lips in a light layer of foundation before applying.

Olive and medium toned ladies can get away with lighter and peachier pink tones, while darker complexions should seek out heavier browns, terracotta shades and almost always, lip liner.

Revlon HD Ultra Snapdragon nude lipstick darker skintones medium olive skin

Revlon’s Ultra HD lipstick comes in a glossy brown shade called Snapdragon that is just sheer enough for buildable colour on all hues.

MAC colours like Taupe, Touch and Fresh Brew will work beautifully against medium-dark skin, but may need a little hand from chocolate brown lip liners. Try lightly dabbing on MAC’s Tabla or Antique Velvet if you have a richer complexion. The latter may seem terrifyingly deep, but its reddish tones will beautifully compliment berry -toned skin.

A great trick for integrating too light nudes into your colour is to use a lip liner one shade darker than your skin. To take away the ashy harshness, line and fill your lips with MAC’s Cork or Chestnut, or Natural Collection’s Espresso, then apply the nude into the centre of your lip before easing it outwards.

NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Creams in Abu Dhabi and London are great for this look.

Nars Morocco and NYX Cocoa lip liners make great lipsticks on their own, largely due to their creamy and pigmented formulas. Moisturise, then apply a generous layer for a nude matte finish.

affordable nude lipstick topshop lip bullet motel review how to

Topshop’s Lip Bullet in Motel was a surprise find. A satin blend of pink and coffee brown, the result is a pretty rosewood shade that will compliment bronzed skin perfectly.

charlotte tilbury birkin brown nude lipstick darker skintones.jpg

Charlotte Tilbury’s Birkin Brown is a personal favourite. A deep cacao with touches of clay red, the lipstick was inspired by Jane Birkin and is described as a ‘timelessly elegant soft chocolate cream for Naomi Campbell’. If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.

Pat and blot Birkin Brown lightly with medium skin tones, or apply liberally if you find it matches your skin colour.




Fashion Journalist and Beauty Blogger from London

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