So…what do you mean by NUDE?

You know those words or phrases that get put on repeat and basically get used to describe EVERYTHING?
Like ‘beachy waves’ for instance. Search beachy waves on Pinterest and you’ll be faced with pretty much every curl/wave/perm/crimp known to man.
It means so many things that it ends up kind of not meaning much of anything at all.
That’s kind of what has happened with the phrase “Nude Lip” it seems like it’s used to pretty much describe any lip that isn’t fuchsia or red.

I thought I’d break down and re-name a few different ‘nude lip’ options so we can all figure out what we want and then, how to achieve it!

OK so let’s start with the Blank Slate Nude.
This one is taking the word Nude to mean skin color. For this look I just used MAC Creme D’Nude and nothing else.
Honestly, it can be pretty dang difficult to pull this baby off. I can’t on my best day without just looking like my lips have completely disappeared. Although, If you have lips that pucker out like crazy similar to Bella’s (our model)it can look really cool and kind of edgy.



Next would be The flushed Nude.
This is taking the word nude to mean bare lips. So a natural looking lip color. Although lips vary widely in color some gals have deep berry naked lips and other have completely colorless ones – like me. I consider this look to be a middle ground soft pinkish neutral.


If your lips have a lot of natural color to them you can just put a soft pink/nude/peach gloss over the top and you’re already there. But for those of us who do not I have an awesome trick up my sleeve (I learned from the VS backstage) to get that look.

Start with a deep pink gloss (I prefer one with a little plumper in it as well like Buxom Juicy Watermelon)


Next I dab off all of the excess gloss with tissue paper and apply a nice coat of cream colored or nude gloss (MAC Underage)or sheer lip color over top.



The final Nudy is my tried and true favorite. Because contouring. This one is more like the neutral nude but with a touch of color and most importantly some shade and light to give it some shape and make your lips stay on your face!



Start with the holy grail of contouring lip pencils. OCC Cosmetics Sebastian. Line the lips on the very outer edge of the lip line.


Next take a nude lip color and a lip brush and a nude lip color (Mac Japanese Maple to fill the lips and blend in the line (make sure there’s no harsh line and use the brush to soften it)


To finish it up take a lighter lipstick or a highlighter and dab your bottom lip in the center and the top lip right at your cupids bow.


Which nude is your favorite!?


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  • Reply
    Madeleine | The Daily Mark
    March 3, 2015 at 4:44 am

    I love the flushed and contoured lips! I agree the basic nude can be a bit tricky to pull off.. x
    Madeleine, The Daily Mark

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 4:49 am

    I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of most “nude” lip looks, (they usually just look weird to me, kind of sickly), but I’m more a fan of your second version, the “natural” lip with the flush of natural color. But aside from that, I’d love to see you do a similar set of “nude” lip looks on several women with a rainbow of different skin shades/tones. Nude means a different thing for different skin colors!
    Waiting anxiously on my order of new and improved IIID foundation set, especially reading all of the good reviews! The customizable, refillable compact is perfect, exactly what I always wanted for my main makeup! Throw this, mascara, eyeliner and my irreplaceable powder concealer into a makeup bag, and I will be set whereever I go!

    • Reply
      Disa Chantel
      March 3, 2015 at 11:10 am

      Came here to make a similar comment. Would love to darker skin tones featured!

      • Reply
        March 4, 2015 at 12:01 am

        You want it, you got it! I do agree that darker skin tones make for a whole different set of nude colors! Thank you so much for the idea! I’ll post it soon!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 6:05 am

    I’m a natural kind of gal, too! I have very fair skin but darker toned lips and nudes make my lips disappear! I typically go with something close to my lip tone-one or two shades in either direction. Great tips, though!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 6:06 am

    Would you recommend the OCC Sebastian and Japanese Maple for someone with light olive/mediterranean skin?

    • Reply
      March 4, 2015 at 12:03 am

      definitely. It’s so perfect for that olive tone! You’d love it!

      • Reply
        March 5, 2015 at 6:02 am

        Thank you!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 6:23 am

    My favourite is definitely the flushed, but I usually turn it up a notch and make it even darker (say MAC’s Plumful) 🙂 It’s the way to go for me!
    xx Maria

    • Reply
      March 4, 2015 at 12:07 am

      LOVE that! I’m big into deep raisin/plums lately too!

  • Reply
    Lisa Scott Provost
    March 3, 2015 at 6:50 am

    I like kind of a combo of the first two; I bought an NYX butter lipstick called Fun Size, that is a barely pink/peach true nude. By itself it was a little too nude and chalky and dead – but when I layer it over a matte balm (Burt’s Bees) or clear gloss (Bath & Body Works mint squeezy tube), it is GREAT. It is pale but with just enough sheer to not be zombieish. Great accidental discovery!

    • Reply
      March 4, 2015 at 12:07 am

      Oh that sounds gorgeous!!!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Kinda tired of the nude look. I’d like to see models with more variation of lip colors.

    • Reply
      March 4, 2015 at 12:08 am

      I hear ya! I promise to work on my nude/pink lip addiction!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 7:42 am

    The contoured nude! Also, I have been looking for a lipstick to give me the perfect flushed nude lip since I saw Jerry Maguire…

  • Reply
    Mocha And Moccasins
    March 3, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I love the contoured nude lip! Also, Bella is stunning! I love her hair!


  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 8:17 am

    I prefer the flushed nude lip. I have a very pale complexion with light golden brown eyes and naturally black hair, if I do a “true” nude I end up looking ghostly but most colored lips make me look like snow white. I usually avoid lip color all together since I can never find the right balance but now I have a template to find the right shade. Thanks!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I adore this post! Nude lips do mean something different to everyone- the break down of this was very good! I think number 2 is my favorite look here.
    Jenny // Mish Mosh Makeup

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 9:26 am

    I love the contoured nude lip! I usually do a casual version of this with a darker nude lip liner and the Baby Lips lip balm in Just Peachy.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 9:51 am

    She looks like Minka Kelly! Gorgeous. Great lip tips!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 9:53 am

    I like the flushed lip. That’s what I think of for nude lips. My skin is so pale, when I have tried #1, I look ghostly.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 10:19 am

    I just bought your new compact and I use a lip brush and the contour shade to line my lips and contour my nose instead of a pencil. Easier, since I use less products and this new stuff blends so nicely. Thanks Cara!

    • Reply
      March 4, 2015 at 12:09 am

      Genius! I just made a video doing that! I seriously love using that one palette for everything because I’m so lazy! haha

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Hey! I’ve been following for a while with the same question tucked in my back pocket and THIS IS THE PERFECT POST TO ASK IT. Hooray!
    So here goes: I have pale skin and pretty dark red lips, too dark for any color besides highly pigmented reds to show up properly, let alone soft, pretty light pinks! Obviously the thing to do is use concealer underneath, but that always makes even freshly-exfoliated lips look dry. Do you have any ideas? Thank you!

    • Reply
      March 3, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Try a clear lip pencil like Urban Decay’s Ozone. It will give you a blank canvas for color (despite being “clear” it does blank out color without looking like concealer, if that makes sense) and a surface for it to stick to without being drying.

      I think one of the drugstore brands makes a clear pencil too but I’m not sure who.

      • Reply
        March 3, 2015 at 8:39 pm

        That sounds amazing! Thank you, I will give that a try. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Hey Cara, I was wondering if you would talk about your opinion on all the new cream contour kits that are coming out. Like Laura mercier and anastasia beverly hils. They have kits with a highlight cream foundation/concealer and a contour. I feel like you’re the pioneer:) I receive my IID foundation today and I am soo excited 🙂

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I like the contoured lip. Do you have any suggestions for thin lips? I have a hard time with lip color in general because I don’t have much for lips, particular the upper lip. I’ve tried contouring and it never looks quite right.

  • Reply
    Miki Nyckel
    March 3, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    What a great tutorial, very cool!! My fave nude lips is from Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Crème Brulee 😀 There is also a very nice light peachy pink nude, but I can’t remember the name.

  • Reply
    McCall j
    March 3, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Definitely the last one. Did you line her top lip too or just he lower?

    • Reply
      March 4, 2015 at 12:11 am

      very lightly on top! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I look awful in “nude” lips, but I did finally find a neutral lip that works pretty well for my skin tone… Mary Kay lip liner in chocolate, followed with Revlon Color Burst lip gloss in Super Natural.

    I love love love the look of a nude lip, but just never have found one that works for me.

  • Reply
    Carol Higdon
    March 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I have to say I like the contoured look the best! I have found as I’m aging my lips are disappearing or not as plump as they used to be. Do you have any tips?

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse
    March 3, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Love the contoured nude lip!!! Neve thought about contouring it!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Hey Cara, or anyone else feel free to chime in, for the flushed look any drugstore alternatives to the buxom juicy lipgloss & the mac lipgloss?

  • Reply
    March 4, 2015 at 4:26 am

    She looks super gorgeous 🙂 loved the nude makeup

  • Reply
    March 4, 2015 at 5:32 am

    I am so over the nude lip trend!!!

  • Reply
    March 4, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    yes yes and more yes to everything! I will be running by sephora to grab a boxom lip gloss asap! I just picked up ysl lip gloss nude carat (oh my…its amazing!!) so I can’t wait to try your trick to help my thin lips out! as always Cara, I love your blog and makeup!!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Looks like the link to the lip highlighter is broken. What one was it?

  • Reply
    March 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Love, love, love the contoured nude!!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I think I like the flushed look best, but the contoured is nice as well.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Great post!

    I’m new blogger. Check out my blog!

  • Reply
    Habitat Parisien
    March 6, 2015 at 2:11 am

    We love this nude lip look and the tips are great! Thank you! Come and meet our adventures in Paris at

  • Reply
    March 6, 2015 at 11:46 am

    I have very fair skin, dark hair, light eyes and a nude lip can make me look washed out. I love this look on others but have a difficult time finding a nude color that doesn’t look “frosty” on me. After reading this I went on a mission to find a good nude that was inexpensive, since I wasn’t sure if I’d like the look on me, even if the color wasn’t frosty. Cara, I know how you feel about a good drugstore hack 🙂
    Well, I finally found it! I highly recommend CoverGirl Colorlicious in Melted Toffee. It’s very sheer, so it can be layered depending on the look you want and is smooth and not too sticky. It works great for any of the looks shown above. Thanks for the inspiration, Cara!

  • Reply
    March 8, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    A flushed nude lip is my favorite!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 1:52 am

    I love the Flushed nude and the contoured nude lip….but how what colors would you suggest for a Deeper skin tone? (Like Gabrielle Union’s?)

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    August 13, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Cara!

    This nude look looks amazing, I have very similar coloring and have tried endlessly to to find ‘nude’ shade that fits best, you addressed all my issues, so than you!

    I was wondering though what you used to line this model’s eyes? Especially her bottom liner? It’s so perfect for a natural look but frames her eyes so well! Blends seamlessly!

  • Reply
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