The 7 Best Nude Lipsticks for Warm-Toned Pale Skin

The term “nude lipstick” is one of the vaguest phrases imaginable. Nude lipstick can obviously mean any number of shades, depending on your skintone, and that makes the search for the perfect nude lipstick very challenging. This shade can also referred to as “my lips but better” (MLBB) lipstick, though the phrase nude lipstick usually conveys a paler, slightly more washed out tone. Here are my favorite nude lipsticks in just about every form imaginable – lip pencils, lipsticks, and lip balms.

nude lipsticks for pale skin
From left to right: Clinique Chubby Stick in Curviest Caramel, Bite lipstick in Honeycomb, Buxom lip stick in Sydney, Urban Decay lip pencil in Naked, Urban Decay lipstick in Naked, and Fresh lip balms in Honey and Petal

Because nude lipstick can mean a lot of things, let’s get specific. I would describe myself as having fair, warm-toned skin with peachy yellow undertones and freckles. I have surface redness around my nose, but I don’t have cool-toned skin; it’s much more yellow-toned than pink-toned. I haven’t been shade-tested at MAC before, but I’m about NC10-15. In these pictures I’m wearing Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light, and Glossier Stretch Concealer in Light under my eyes. For reference, here’s a picture of me without any lip product on:

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As you can see, I don’t have very pigmented lips. They are naturally a pale, peachy pink shade that can look warm or cool-toned depending on the hour of the day. My favorite nude lipsticks all mimic this peachy shade. Take a look at these shades in action:

 

From left to right: Clinique Chubby Stick in Curviest Caramel, Bite lipstick in Honeycomb, and Buxom Full-On lip stick in Sydney
From left to right: Clinique Chubby Stick in Curviest Caramel, Bite Amuse Bouche lipstick in Honeycomb, and Buxom Full-On lip stick in Sydney

 

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Curviest Caramel

This shade is a balm stick, which is a lip balm in pencil form. It’s a very pretty sheer, peachy nude that wears very comfortably and doesn’t require a mirror to apply. However, it doesn’t last very long on my lips, maybe an hour or two at max.

Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb

This lipstick is paler, less pink and more peach-toned than the Clinique balm. It has a comfortable, demi-matte finish that wears well for three to four hours.

Buxom Full-On Lip Stick in Sydney

This lipstick comes in pencil form, so it works as both a lip pencil and lipstick. This is the palest nude shade I own, and it’s the closest to my natural lip color. Because it’s so light, it’s great for balancing out a heavier smokey eye. It lasts for about three hours.

From left to right: Urban Decay lip liner in Naked, Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in Naked, Fresh Sugar lip treatments in Honey and Petal
From left to right: Urban Decay lip liner in Naked, Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in Naked, Fresh Sugar lip treatments in Honey and Petal

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Liner in Naked

Urban Decay makes my favorite lip liner, a very creamy, long-lasting formula. This shade is very peachy and matte when worn on its own, and as a liner it adds definition and lasting power to the other shades. It lasts about

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Naked

Until I took these pictures I had no idea how different the lip liner and lipstick shades were. They have the same name, but the lipstick is much pinker-toned than the lip pencil. (Important note: the Revolution formula is now discontinued, but there is a shade with the same name in the new Vice formula). I would describe this shade as a light coral nude in a creamy satin finish. It lasts about two to three hours on my lips.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Honey

This lip balm is one of my favorites, with a major caveat – they work best in cold weather. The bullets have metal casings and are prone to melting in the summer heat, or even from being in a pants pocket, so take care. But these are my winter/spring favorites, and I have a set of minis in almost every shade. Honey is the warmest toned shade, a nice sheer nude browny peach.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Petal

As you can see, Petal is slightly pinker-toned nude lip balm. Like Honey, this shade has SPF15 and lasts for about two hours.

There you have it! Let me know in the comments: which is your favorite shade?

 

 

Colourpop: In-Depth Brand Review (Featuring Super Shock Shadows, Lippie Stix, Lippie Pencils, Ultra Satin Lips, Highlighters, Brow Pencil, and Blush)

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My complete Colourpop collection: Lip Primer, Lippie Stix in Frida, I Heart This, and Grunge, Ultra Satin Lip in Echo Park, Lip Pencils in Frida and Grunge, Brow Pencil in Blondie, Pearlized Highlighters in Fanny Pack and Monster, Super Shock Cheek in Aphrodisiac, Super Shock Shadows in Mixed Tape, Liberty and I Heart This

I placed my first Colourpop order around Christmas of last year. I had very exciting New Year’s Eve plans – a black tie wedding on the central coast of California. I knew exactly what I was going to wear: my grandmother’s 1960s floor-length black gown with rhinestone straps. And with that dress came a specific beauty vision – silver eyeshadow, black liquid liner wings, shimmery white highlighter, and glossy drink-proof red lipstick. So (of course) I needed new makeup. For the lipstick I went with Rimmel Provocalips in Play with Fire (a great drugstore true red). For the highlighter and eyeshadow I turned to Colourpop, a newish online-only retailer.

Swatches

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Left to right: Echo Park, I Heart This, Grunge (x2), Frida (x2), I Heart This, Liberty, Mixed Tape, Blondie, Aphrodisiac, Monster, and Fanny Pack

Super Shock Shadows ($5)

Colourpop has a new pressed powder eyeshadow, but the Super Shock Shadow is their original formula. It’s cream-t0-powder with a unique putty-like texture. They wear best layered on top of eye primer, and applied with your fingers. If you want to use a brush, synthetic works best. I have three shades in three finishes: I Heart This (silver taupe in a glitter finish), Liberty (silver in an ultra-metallic finish), and Mixed Tape (grey-taupe with a pearlized finish).

Colourpop shadows in Mixed Tape, I Heart This, and Liberty
Super Shock Shadows in Mixed Tape (upper lid), I Heart This (center of upper lid), and Liberty (lower lash line)

 

I’ve gotten the most use out of Mixed Tape, which I love to wear with a shimmery champagne powder shadow layered on top. I usually use I Heart This dotted in the center of a smokey eye to add glittery dimension. My favorite shade of the three is Liberty, the highly metallic silver shade I wore to the NYE wedding.

Brow Pencil ($5)

Colourpop brow pencil in Blondie
On the top: no products. On the bottom: Colourpop brow pencil in Blondie

I’ve used Anastasia Brow Wiz in the past, but I finished it in only a couple months, which is way too quickly for a $21 pencil. Colourpop brow pencils have a similar waxy formula, but with less sturdy packaging; the spoolie on one end broke off after a few weeks. That said, I have extra loose spoolies from Sephora, so it’s not a major issue. Blondie is a taupe shade that’s slightly warmer toned than I’d prefer. It does a good job of filling in patchy areas, and sometimes I use it along with Glossier Boy Brow in Blonde for extra definition.

Pearlized Highlighters and Super Shock Cheeks ($8)

I have two shades of Colourpop highlighters: Fanny Pack (pearlized white) and Monster (a light pink duochrome). Fanny Pack is definitely my most-used shade. It might look ashy on darker skin tones, but I love the non-color glow on my pale skin. Monster is a unique highlighter shade that’s gotten more popular over the last year. It’s similar to the Anastasia Beverly Hills shade Pink Heart in the Moonchild palette, or the Kat Von D shade Opal in the Alchemist palette, although those are powder formulas. This is a cream formula, which unfortunately does not wear well as eyeshadow (I’ve tried).

highlighters
On the left: Fanny Pack, on the right: Monster, on both cheeks: Aphrodisiac blush

I have one shade of the Colourpop Super Shock Cheek blush, Aphrodisiac. I was aiming for a similar shade to Nars Douceur, which was strangely discontinued a few years back (though I’ve since heard you can buy a refill on their website). Aphrodisiac is a warm nude shade that works well as a dual blush and contour. I find it applies best with a finger along the hollow of my cheek and then blended upwards.

Lip Primer, Lippie Stix, Lip Pencils ($5) and Ultra Satin Lips ($6)

Underneath all my Colourpop lip shades I like to use the Lip Primer. It’s a similar to MAC Prep and Prime Lip, but at a much better price ($5 vs. $17.50). It’s a clear waxy formula that helps the colors last longer and apply more easily.

Colourpop Lippie Stix and Pencil in Frida
Lippie Stix and Pencil in Frida

Frida is beautiful coral pink in a satin formula. It’s bright and colorful but still flattering.

Colourpop Lippie Stix and Pencil in Grunge
Lippie Stix and Pencil in Grunge

Grunge is a brown plum in a matte formula. The lip pencil is a bit patchy, which is common for darker shades, but it’s still workable. I wear the lipstick most often without liner, dabbed on top of balm. That turns it into a more wearable, natural nude shade.

Colourpop Lippie Stix in I Heart This
Lippie Stix in I Heart This

I Heart This is a bright fuchsia pink in a matte formula. I got this shade by accident when I placed my first order. It’s the upside of Colourpop choosing the same name for a eyeshadow and a lipstick. However, Colourpop’s customer service was very nice and sent out the correct eyeshadow out quickly at no added cost. Because this shade was a happy accident, I don’t have the matching lip pencil so my application is a little messier.

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Ultra Satin Lip in Echo Park

Echo Park is a peachy nude. This is the one shade I have in the Ultra Satin Lip formula,  a liquid lipstick that doesn’t dry down completely. Because of that, it’s much less drying than their Ultra Matte Lip formula, but one downside is the shade does transfer onto coffee cups, cheeks, cats, etc. It’s a lovely muted coral-nude shade that wears very comfortably.

Overall Thoughts

I think Colourpop is a great option for drugstore-priced makeup, with a few packaging-related caveats. The eyeshadow packaging is very bulky, and the shades are impossible to depot, because the cream formula dries out if it’s left uncapped. The eyeshadows also have a shelf life of only one year. I’ve had these shades for 14 months and they’re still going strong, but I don’t expect them to last too much longer. The white packaging gets dirty easily, and the silver holographic decals rub off. But packaging is not a major priority for me, so I think the trade-offs are worth it for the friendly price point.

Overall I definitely enjoy these products, so if you’re looking for a reasonably priced makeup, check out Colourpop.

Glossier: In-Depth Brand Review (featuring Milky Jelly Cleanser, Skin Tint, Stretch Concealer, Boy Brow, Haloscope and Balm Dot Com)

glossier makeup review
An all-Glossier look featuring Skin Tint and Stretch Concealer in Light, Haloscope in Quartz, Boy Brow in Blonde, and Balm Dot Com in Cherry

When one of my favorite beauty blogs, Into the Gloss, started a makeup brand two years ago, I felt twin, ambivalent feelings – lust for the perfectly-branded products, and worry that it was all hype. So I waited, read reviews, used up other products, thought it over, and finally placed a large order this summer. The products arrived with stickers and a baby pink bubble-wrap pouch that works as a dopp kit for a weekend-long trip. Over the last few months I’ve been road-testing the products, and to my delight, they’re really great.

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My full stash: Milky Jelly cleanser, Skin Tint and Concealer in Light, Haloscope in Quartz, Boy Brow in Blonde, and Balm Dot Com in Coconut, Rose, and Cherry

Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18 for 6 fl oz)

Milky Jelly Cleanser is a rose-scented gentle cleanser with a very pleasant, squishy texture. Think micellar water in a jelly texture. I enjoy the cleanser, but this is the one item I don’t plan on re-purchasing. Instead, I’ll refill the well-designed bottle with a cheaper alternative, Cerave Hydrating Cleanser ($7 for 12 oz).

Perfecting Skin Tint in Light ($26)

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light review
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light, unblended on the left, blended on the right

I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect base makeup for years (seriously – I wrote about the “Foundation Quest” three years ago). After I wrote that post, I took a couple years off foundation entirely, sticking to sunscreen only and focusing on skincare. I still like the no-foundation look, but Glossier’s skin tint is great option if you want to subtly cover redness while letting freckles peek through.

skintintbefore
No makeup on the left, Skin Tint in Light on the right

Skin tint is lighter than every foundation, BB cream and tinted moisturizer I’ve tried. It is very sheer, with a dewy finish. If you are looking for a light-coverage base, it’s a wonderful option. I find that it’s best applied with fingers.

Stretch Concealer in Light ($18)

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Glossier Stretch Concealer in Light, unblended swatch on the left, blended out on the right

 

Stretch Concealer comes in a small screw-off jar, similar to RMS Un-Cover. It has a creamy texture and light coverage.

Glossier Skin Tint and Concealer
Skin Tint in Light on the left, Skin Tint plus Stretch Concealer in Light on the right

Some people might dislike a sheer concealer, but I find it works well under the eyes. It doesn’t entirely erase dark circles, which looks more natural to me than opaque coverage.

Boy Brow in Blonde ($16)

Glossier Boy Brow Blonde
No makeup on top, Boy Brow in Blonde on bottom

I’ve tried a lot of brow products over the years – brow powder (fades quickly), brow pomade (fussy application, a brush that requires cleaning), brow pencil (hard to make it look natural), and brow gel (the shade I got, Anastasia Beverly Hills in Caramel, was oddly glittery). Boy Brow is a brow gel with a waxy, pomade texture. This shade, blonde, is a nice neutral taupe. It is by far the simplest and fastest way I’ve found to tidy up and define my eyebrows.

Haloscope in Quartz ($22)

Glossier Skin Tint and Concealer in Light, Haloscope in Quartz, Boy Brow in Blonde, and Balm Dot Com in Cherry
Glossier Haloscope in Quartz on cheekbone

Haloscope is Glossier’s highlighter, and it comes in three shades, Quartz (champagne), Topaz (light bronze), and Moonstone (white/blue opal). I have Quartz, which I like for a very natural glow. It comes in a chubby twist-up stick, with a shimmery outer ring and a solid oil core. The stick allows for easy application, blended out with finger tips. This is not an over-the-top metallic highlighter, but rather imparts a dewy glow with very fine shimmer. If your skin is sensitive to coconut oil, you may want to find another product, but it hasn’t bothered or clogged my skin.

 

Balm Dot Com in Coconut, Rose, and Cherry ($12)

Balm Dot Com in Coconut, Rose, and Cherry
Balm Dot Com in Coconut, Rose, and Cherry

Balm Dot Com is a petroleum-based lip balm with lanolin, similar to Aquaphor. They work as great lip balms, but I also like them as cuticle creams. The balm comes in an unscented version as well as four flavors (Mint, Rose, Coconut, Cherry). Coconut and Mint are clear, Rose is slightly pink-tinted, and Cherry has a subtle rosy tint, similar to Benetint.

 

skin tint, concealer, boy brow, haloscope, and balm
Before and After: no makeup on the left, Skin Tint and Concealer in Light, Boy Brow in Blonde, Haloscope in Quartz, and Balm in Cherry on the right

 

If you are interested in trying Glossier, you can use this link for 20% off:

http://bff.glossier.com/eMpxV

 

 

Water Towers

My newsletter experiment over the last few months has been a lot of fun. If you’re interested, you can sign up anytime here:

https://tinyletter.com/EchoEcho

Here is the poem and sketch from this week’s newsletter:

 

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Water Towers

There’s only enough
power to deliver
water to six floors
in Lower Manhattan.
Taller buildings need
pumps that suck up
water to a spout at
the top of the tank.
Gravity does the rest.
Remember, remember
it’s just artificial pressure.

New York Harbor

I’ve had a lot of fun with my illustrated poetry newsletter, Echo Echo. I just sent out my fifth letter, which you can read below. If you like it, sign up for more here:

https://tinyletter.com/EchoEcho

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New York Harbor

I sit in the lunch room listening
as I look out on the New York harbor.
Colleagues plotting, parents visiting,
small talks, coffee chats, walks for more napkins.

I went to Ellis Island in sixth grade
and I remember vaulted tile ceilings,
filled with cattle lines bustling, processing
each being with chalk, ink, paper, and rods.

The next year the towers fell, and I, a selfish,
oblivious preteen, was sad we wouldn’t
have our eighth grade graduation cruise
in the glittering New York Harbor.

Color Challenge: Harajuku Birthday Party

Harajuku makeup tutorial
Featuring not one, but two Polly Pocket necklaces.

When my friend invited me to his Harajuku themed birthday party, I had one thought: how will I do my makeup? In day-to-day life I prefer a fairly natural look, but it’s fun to go all out on occasion.

The day before, I did a quick run-through, featuring teal halo smokey eyes and bubblegum pink lips. I wasn’t satisfied – not as colorful or playful as I wanted. Also, the birthday party was a brunch, so I didn’t want to deal with my lipstick wearing off during a meal.

teal smokey eye tutorial
Bright, but not quite wacky enough.

Instead, I decided to play up my eyes and wear a simple pink lip stain that would require no touching up.

How to Get this Ridiculous Look in (Only) 10 Steps: 

1. Apply eye primer. My current favorite is Wet N Wild’s Fergie (yes, from the Black Eyed Peas) primer.
2. Brush a skin-toned matte shade (I use Lorac Cream) below your eyebrows at the edge of the smokey eye, so that you can blend it with the pink. If you don’t have a shadow that matches your skin, you can also use a translucent setting powder, like Make Up Forever’s HD powder.

3. Apply the pink shade to the crease and outer corner of your eye using windshield wiper motions. I used Urban Decay in Junkshow, a fuschia pink with a shimmery blue shift.

4. Pat on teal eyeshadow to the mobile lid and the center of the lower lashline, just below the iris. I used Urban Decay Deep End, which has great pigmentation.

5. Blend the pink and blue with a clean, fluffy blending brush. This will create a purple shade along the lower part of the crease.

6. Pat black eyeshadow with a small brush to the outer corner, and blend with circular motion. I used Urban Decay’s Blackout, the deepest, matte-ish black I’ve ever tried (I did side-by-side comparisons of the half dozen black shadows I have from various palettes).

7. For an inner corner highlight, I used a L’Oreal lime green loose shadow I bought in … 2004? Ssssh, powder makeup doesn’t expire quickly, and you’ll know it when it does.

8. Apply black liquid liner in a dramatic wing. I used Urban Decay’s 24/7 liquid liner. It has an ultra-fine brush for pointy wings, and once you put it on, it doesn’t budge. It has a slightly glossy finish. If you want a matte black shade, try Kat Von D’s liner in Trooper.

9. Brush on a coat of lash primer and several coats of black mascara on top and bottom lashes. I’m currently using Lancome’s lash primer and Givenchy Phenomen’eyes mascara. False lashes intimidate me, so I stick to lash primer and mascara.

10. Don’t forget your eyebrows! I brushed on a coat of Maybelline clear mascara and lightly filled in with Anastasia Dip Brow in Blonde. I brushed in the pomade with a clean spoolie.

I finished off the look with a ballet pink lip stain by heavily applying Revlon balm stain in Cherish, and then wiping it mostly off with a tissue (ok it was actually a piece of toilet paper).

With so much going on with the eyes, I kept the skin simple, with no foundation or concealer, but you do you. I did use two (2) highlighters – Benefit High Beam, a silvery pink, topped with Colourpop Fanny Pack, a white cream shade. To add color to my cheeks I used a lavender pink glittery blush, a shade from Tarina Tarantino’s blush pallete that I rarely get a chance to wear.

 I finished off the look with two powders: Make Up Forever HD powder, which blurs, mattifies, and preserves the makeup, and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light, a soft yellow powder that adds a radiance back to the conplexion, and reduces redness. 
Luckily, living in New York City means even a dramatic look like this doesn’t attract second glances on the subway.

Announcing my newsletter: Echo Echo


Springtime puts me in the mood for new projects. I’ve recently subscribed to some fascinating TinyLetter newsletters and thought I’d join in on the fun. So, every Friday afternoon I will send out a short poem and illustration.

Sign up here:

https://tinyletter.com/EchoEcho

To give you a taste of what’s in store, here’s my inaugural post:

Façades

 
A façade is a face

screwed up that stays

stuck in one way forever.

 
Its makeup cannot

be washed away

at the end of each day.

 
It is tethered in place by

stucco and laws that try to pause

the progress of passing days.