A swipe of nude lipstick is an easy way to look like you made some effort in your makeup look. It’s a tricky thing, though, because choosing a shade that clashes with your skin tone can do you dirty — as we’ve all learned by wearing a nude lip color…only to look like an undead version of ourselves. “The perfect nude makes your face look fresh and youthful, but a lot of people pick something too light, too opaque, or too beige,” says makeup artist Nick Barose.

While you’ll find many examples of makeup artist-approved formulas in the slides below, it can be helpful to keep some general guidelines in mind when perusing the vast array of taupes, toffees, and caramels on your own. People with fair or light skin can beautifully pull off pink- and rose-based hues, whereas medium and olive skin tones look incredible in beiges, browns, or even a berry or mauve-adjacent nude. As for deeper skin tones, there’s a lot of room to play with shades ranging from creamy, dark caramels to rich cocoa.

Here, we present tips straight from the pros, alongside a variety of the best nude lipsticks for fair skin, medium skin, dark skin, and deep skin tones.

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