Being nude has never been cooler. Just ask Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung and Mansur Gavriel, who paraded a string of bare-faced babes across the runways of spring ’18 fashion week. But achieving the look is not as straightforward as it seems. That’s because “nude” is all about what works with your skin tone, which is why the right shade will shine a spotlight on your fabulously natural features, and why the wrong shade could leave you looking less than “woke up like this” flawless.
So, how do you find the right nude eyeshadow or lipstick for you? The rules are not hard and fast. Complexions are varied and complicated, and you’ll need to experiment until you find the hues that make you feel as confident as you do in a killer outfit. But for starters, here are a few tips:
If you have pale skin…
Avoid neutral beiges in favour of taupes that contain a rosy undertone; try a shade lighter than your skin tone.
If you have fair skin…
Look for peachier nudes that are a bit lighter or darker to enhance warm undertones. (FYI, your undertone is the hue that lies below skin’s surface.)
If you have medium skin…
Go for a mauve-based nude that suits most cool skin tones.
If you have olive skin…
Use a shade darker than your skin, choosing either caramel—if you skew warmer—or a pinkier hue if your undertone is cooler.
If you have dark skin…
Apricots and cocoa-like nude shades lighter than your natural skin tone enhance warm undertones.
Now that you have a rough idea of what to look for in your ideal nude, here’s how to rock what your mama gave you:
Step 1: Begin with your eyes so any shadow fallout won’t ruin your foundation. To create subtle depth without looking washed out, use a neutral warm shade (like pink, beige, camel, orange or rust, depending on the depth of pigment in your skin and the one that works best with your undertone). Use a fluffy eyeshadow brush and apply it in a windshield-wiper motion, starting at the centre and ending around the crease. Try: NYX Cosmetics Perfect Filter Shadow Palette in Rustic Antique
Step 2: Now you can go back and perfect your base. Start by applying a primer to your skin, working from the centre of the face outward to even out texture. Then apply a light-weight concealer, focusing on the under-eye area to disguise dark circles. Next up: use a loose mineral foundation powder for a natural-looking matte finish that hides discolouration. Lastly, define bone structure using a light dusting of bronzer. Think of the shape of the number three when you apply, blending from forehead to cheek to chin along each side of your face. A final swoosh of translucent powder will keep your T-zone from appearing overly shiny throughout the day. Try: Nude By Nature Complexion Essentials Starter Kit
Step 3: The true secret to looking like you #wokeuplikethis? Don’t over-indulge with mascara. To minimize the amount of product you need to use, curl your lashes before applying. Next, to get faux lash-like richness without any clumps, use a two-step mascara that comes with a built-in black primer. First, apply the primer to create a smooth, dark base, then finish with a slick of synthetic fibre-infused mascara (the fibres will attach to your natural lashes, bolstering width and length à la extensions). Try: L’Oréal Paris XFibre Mascara
Step 4: To give your pout an extra boost without the use of in-your-face pigment, use a lip-plumping formula that boasts a glowy finish (in your perfect neutral shade, using the guide above). To avoid any hard lines, forgo lip liner and get into tight corners with a lip brush instead. Try: Revlon Kiss Plumping Lip Crème in Nude Honey