Google image "Brigitte Bardot" and then come right back. Did you see how she had that sexpot nude lip down pat? Well, pretty much every makeup artist and Allure editor loves this pick because it's the exact shade of Bardot's lips—"it's a sheer, natural lip tone that always warms up fair skin," says Surratt.
Take a look at your un-made-up lips. (If they're rosy, skip to the next slide.) For those of you with naturally pale lips, "a sheer beige with a hint of pink creates a nude lip that won't wash you out," says Surratt. This one from Dolce & Gabbana is spot-on because it's also a few shades darker than fair skin. Another key: "Avoiding mannequin mouth," Surratt says.
Oh, hi, people with reddish lips. For you lucky few, sheer rose shades look the most natural, and this one is a soft red that also passes the "wet line" test: Pucker up and look at the color at the very center of your lips. Your most flattering nude should match it, says Surratt. Mwah.
Pale nude lips are really sexy on olive skin—if you don't believe us, just take a look at Jennifer Lopez or Kim Kardashian. The trick is to pick a beige that's both sheer and moisturizing, because "if it reflects the light, it won't look makeup-y," says Surratt. This jojoba-oil-packed lip crayon is one of the few shades we've found that gives the perfect soft shine and pale pinky nude color.
A little peachy, a tad golden, and crazy-flattering, this Best of Beauty–winning nude works magic by toning down lips and warming up skin at the same time. "Warm honey shades neutralize rosiness in the lips while bringing out golden undertones in olive skin," says Surratt, who likes pairing golden peaches with bronzer. "Warm nudes and bronzer look amazing together, and the soft, monochromatic look is polished."
If your lips are darkest around the perimeter of your mouth, choosing a nude can be tricky. "Opaque matte nudes even out the color of your lips but often look cadaverous. Tawny pinks are your best bet," says Surratt. We like this Tom Ford lipstick not just because it's the perfect shade—it also has the perfect finish: "creamy, with absolutely no shimmer, which can look frosty and dated," Surratt says.
"Chocolate browns are gorgeous against dark skin," says Surratt. "And as a general rule, the darker your complexion, the darker your lipstick should be." But this Giorgio Armani shade is the rare milk chocolate that's flattering across the board because it's warmed by faint golden flecks. Bonus: By reflecting the light, it also makes lips look naturally fuller and poutier. Isn't that kind of the point?
Too many pinky nudes wind up looking like Pepto against dark skin, but not this rosy brown with faint golden shimmer. It looks pillowy pink on lips, imparts a subtle shine, and even revives chapped skin with grape-seed and safflower oils.
This lipstick is the color of caramel—and it's majorly flattering. "If your lips are naturally rosy, a touch of yellow or ocher can counteract the red tones and make them appear more nude," says Surratt. Don't worry; it won't look the least bit yellow on your lips—just Playmate-worthy hot.
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For every super flattering nude lipstick, there are dozens that look like sidewalk chalk. "The best nudes are sheer and have the same finish as your lips -- not shiny, not matte," says makeup artist Troy Surratt. Here, our all-time favorites for fair, medium, and dark skin.