Despite What Some Fancy Makeup Artists Say, Black Women Can (And Should) Wear Nude Lipstick

I refused to buy nude lipstick because I was told I "couldn’t" wear it. But now I know better.

I’m back with another “they don’t make that for black
people” story, except this one is slightly different.

(Note: I know this isn’t just a
brown-girl issue, but since I, myself, am a brown girl, who else am I going to
target when it comes to things such as finding the right shade of nude
lipstick for brown girls?)

Finding the right shade of nude
lipstick is tough. It’s almost as tough as trying to find something
to watch on Netflix on a rainy Sunday afternoon. If you pick the wrong thing,
you risk the fear of someone who has your password knowing you recently watched two minutes of My
Little Pony,
because we ALL give out our Netflix account info.

To avoid that type of embarrassment, we spend a lot of time reading Netflix descriptions
and reviews just to make sure we don’t choose the wrong thing. The same idea applies when it comes to picking the right nude lippy: you have choose slowly and very carefully.
And I should know, until about five
months ago, I did not own a nude lip product. Here’s why.

I have very pouty lips, and I think they look better with a color. When I started to faithfully wear lipstick about four years ago, I was always willing to try just about any color. Reds, pinks, brights, darks, all of it. I didn’t care if no one else liked how it looked on me because I liked how it looked. I even had a friend tell me to my face that she didn’t like MAC’s Russian Red on me, and I simply laughed and replied, "So?"

Another reason I refused to buy a nude lipstick is because I
was told "black women couldn’t wear [nudes]." There's that c-word

I was assisting on set of a photo shoot, and the makeup artist told the other assistant, who just so happened to be black also, and me that
black women couldn’t wear nude lipstick because of our two-toned lips.

A little
two-toned lips never hurt anyone! Besides, there are nude shades that are pigmented enough to cover the
lips just like any other color lipstick. So to me, that was just ridiculous.

Unfortunately, that statement didn’t give me the courage to challenge the makeup artist’s
suggestion and go on a hunt to find the perfect nude just to prove her wrong. Instead,
it gave me the validation that nude lipstick and me weren’t meant to be, and it was time I let her go...

....until last December when Rihanna released her RiRi Hearts MAC
holiday collection with a nude called Bad Gal RiRi.
I stood in line at Macy’s in the freezing cold for about 20 minutes, crossing my fingers that this nude would be The One. I had such high hopes for it that I
did not apply any lipstick that morning. As soon I got into the office, I swiped it on, and to my surprise, I fell in love.

It has a bit of a rosy tint to it, but I think
that’s what I love about it. It doesn’t make my lips look as if they’re just
a part of my face, but instead show that they're a feature on my face. But since the lipstick is no longer available, I barely wear it because I’m trying to preserve my tube for as long as I possibly can. And because I know soon it’ll disappear
into nothingness, I’m testing out other nude options.

Here are a few that I’ve found work well for me and can
work for many shades of brown. Just keep in mind that a nude lip doesn’t
have to match your skin tone perfectly, and nudes with rosy tints could ultimately be your best friend.

The Winners

This Surratt Lipslique in Brun Nude has a hint of brown, but
still lets the natural pink of the lip show through. The texture is like like a tinted lip
balm, which is what I like about it.

NARS Lipstick in Bilbao is a bit more sheer. It’s almost the exact same color as my lips, making the lipstick
difficult to detect, other than a subtle amount of shimmer.

MAC Lipstick in Touch is a mix between the Surratt and NARS shades. It’s
browner, but still has a pinkish tint, and is the more opaque of the three.

I tested well over 30 shades of nudes for this story, but sadly, fewer than a third of them actually worked out for me.

Regardless, I learned that most (actually, by most, I mean all) nude shades look WAY different in the tube than they they do on the lips.

What I thought would work didn't, and what I thought wouldn't did. I tried on most of the lipsticks twice just to make sure, instead of giving up after the first applications. Patience: you need it for nude-testing.

Lastly, nude doesn't necessarily mean nude. We all have our own definition, whether it's wearing a shade that matches your skin perfectly, that doesn't match your skin but is still nude-colored, or that is similar to and/or complements your complexion. Whatever works for you, make it work.

Below are some other nude shades that just did not work for me, but
have the potential to work for my fellow
brown girls:

Has this helped you in your search
for a nude lipstick? Or have you already found your perfect nude? If so, please share your picks below!