Beauty trends come and go, and a good nude shade never dies out.

But when you’re a brown girl, you absolutely know the struggle of finding the perfect nude lip shade that suits our lips and complexion.

I say this with conviction, because us brown girls sometimes have not one, but two shades on our lips.

What I mean by this is that the outer rim of our lips can be a little darker while the inner pigment of the lips can be lighter. This could be a bit of a struggle when wearing a nude lip because the nude shade could look like a completely different color when worn – and can often not look like a “nude” shade at all.

And let’s be honest – half the “nude” shades out there cater to lighter skin tones (ahem, hence #notmynude).

This makes it really hard for us girls with a little melanin because these shades eventually either wash us out or make us look like we have ashy lips – and that is just not cute!

But my brown ladies, don’t fret!

I am here to make finding the perfect shade of nude for you a little easier, because I know just how much mainstream makeup brands don’t care to cater to girls with our skin tones!

STEP ONE: Get that lipliner going.

When wearing lighter nude shades, it’s better to line your lips with a brown lip liner. This ensures that the lipstick will stay its true pigment when worn.

Use the L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner in nude, as it’ll perfectly define your lips before the big show.


This color is perfect to wear as a base, especially before wearing a cool-toned nude shade so it doesn’t wash you out. As an added plus, it is versatile. This silky nude can complement fair as well as dusky skin tones and is also on the budget-friendly side.

What people are saying: “I saw a beauty tutorial where the makeup artist recommended this brand and color because it goes so well with multiple colors- she was right! I have 3 favorite lipstick colors and this nude color enables me to add definition and blends well, no matter what color lipstick I use.” – D.S. Rogers

Price: $11.64+ (available in twelve colors)

Or snag the classic MAC lip pencil in Chestnut, which is both reliable and beautiful with any shade of lipstick.

via Amazon
via Amazon

Chestnut is a super intense dark brown. This suits especially darker skin tones when wearing a lighter lip shade. Wearing this under any nude shade intensifies the look and flatters brown skin.

What people are saying:I highly recommend this lip liner as it’s not too drying and such a gorgeous color! it looks natural on and it’s long-lasting! Even after I had breakfast and lunch, it was still on my lips.” – Andrea T.

Price: $26.80

(Important note: if you want something more on the cheaper end, you could always use any dark brown eyeliner as a lip liner. Yes, ladies, it works just as good as a lip liner.)

STEP TWO: Lipsticks galore!

Without further ado, here are the lipsticks to bring you to the next level. May you rock these nude shades in all the fabulousness that you are!

This MAC Velvetease lip pencil gives your lips a gorgeous stain while staying balmy.

via Amazon
via Amazon

This lip pencil is a muted brown with warm peachy undertones. The texture of this on your lips is super velvet-like but still matte on the lips. It is not too pigmented, which allows you to choose the intensity of the color depending on the look you are going for.

What people are saying:MAC products are the best. This impressive lip liner is thick like a crayon; not easily broken, no sharpener needed, easy application.” – Bell

Price: $21.59

Or keep it classic with a dusky brown MAC lipstick that perfectly complements the look you’re going for.

via Amazon, YazMakeUpArtist
via Amazon, YazMakeUpArtist

This lipstick taupe color stays true to its name with its deeper brown and reddish undertone. This shade could look slightly different depending on the individual wearing it, meaning it could look browner or include a hint a little reddish/pink tone for darker skin tones. However, this shade is flattering to a variety of skin tones.

What people are saying: “I had to have it. Can’t believe the price. It is very hydrating and seems to stay for a long time. I am going to stock up before they sell out.” – Catrine

Price: $24.63

The Milani Color Statement Lipstick is a moisturizing slap-on-and-go lipstick for any occasion.

via Amazon
via Amazon

This lipstick is a deeper muted brown with a pink undertone and is one of my all-time favorites – even though this shade isn’t a true nude and has a pink/brown tone tint. It looks like a dusty rose color when worn on the lips, which compliments darker complexions.

What people are saying:This is a pretty good lipstick for the formula. It’s moisturizing but doesn’t move around on my lips like a lot of other brands have. The color is very natural and has a nice sheen to it. I recommend this to anyone looking for a satin/glossy lip.” – Ray

Price: $5.99+ (available in 32 colors)

And the Smashbox Be Legendary cream lipstick is perfect for both your day and night looks.

via Amazon
via Amazon

This lippie is a subtle soft nude shade with buildable color depending on your preference and can be worn just on its own. It has such a smooth formula that doesn’t have a dry feeling on the lips. And for those that like minimal makeup, a little goes a long way with this product.

What people are saying: “I just purchased this and Iove it! I have dark brown skin (I’m South American) and ‘Warrior Pose’ is the perfect nude for my skin tone. I’ll have to buy another since a true nude for my skin is so hard to find. It’s an amazing color for dark skin. Smashbox: More nudes for us gals please!” —sandy

Price: $16.80

Or go for a swipe of Wet ‘n’ Wild Megalast Matte. It’s amazing – and they prove it with this perfect nude lip color.

via Amazon, desigal1010
via Amazon, desigal1010

A great everyday matte browny pink nude, suitable for a range of skin tones. I especially love that it doesn’t look too dry on the lips or too glossy – but looks just right.

What people are saying:To be so inexpensive, Wet n Wild is super great. I’ve used their products for years simply because they last forever, colors are true and up-to-date, timeless and they deliver as advertised. It’s my “go-to” lipstick! – Diandra

Price: $4.43

Lime Crime Velvetines liquid matte lipstick is a fave of mine that’s perfect, whether you’re looking for a nude shade or a statement-making pop.

via Amazon
via Amazon

This is a liquid matte lipstick with a velvet finish in a warm brown with buildable pigment. This is a true nude on brown skin and a perfect 90’s grunge shade that suits all skin tones. The formula is thin and doesn’t look cakey on the lips, which is one of the reasons why I, as a brown girl, love it. This would easily be a crowd favorite if more knew about it.

What people are saying: “Love it! I’m a waitress and nothing is worse than going in front of your tables with cracked/peeling/faded lip color. But I don’t even have to check my compact with this stuff on my lips! I love how vibrant it is too! Where has this been all my life?” – Erynn

Price: $20.00

Or use Anastasia Beverly Hills, which has the perfect four-piece nude lip set if you’re still deciding which shade you love most. 

via Amazon
via Amazon

When I was first starting out on my lippie journey, this helped me out. The limited-edition set features 4 travel-size matte lipstick nude shades. Each shade delivers full-pigment lip color with a smooth, ultra-matte finish.

What people are saying:Super soft, very pretty. The colors also layer nicely if you want to do an ombre lippie. I love these lipsticks.” – Beatrice

Price: $21.00+ (available in three colors)

For the perfect light nude, Colourpop x Karrueche’s liquid lipstick delivers – and stays on perfectly. 

via Amazon
via Amazon

This liquid lipstick is a cool-toned nude-beige. Chi is recommended to be worn with a darker lip liner because of how light the shade is (which can wash you out depending on how dark your skin is); however, this can be worn on its own by some.

For those looking for a lighter shade of nude, this is the shade for you.

What people are saying: “This is my favorite lipstick I always buy two at a time because I hate to run out. It looks so dang good on me… what can I say lol..I love this lipstick.” – Eva Lee

Price: $11.68+ (available in eight colors)

You can never fail with COVERGIRL, and this smooth matte lipstick is no different. 

via Amazon
via Amazon

This is absolutely the best formula of matte lipstick I’ve tried. I love the wand, the color, the packaging, the smell, the staying power, and the way it feels on my lips. It is dry, but it dries SOFT, not hard, and it doesn’t cause my lips to shrivel up.

What people are saying: “I absolutely love this product. Long-lasting never works on me but this goes on smooth, once it dries I put on a layer of chapstick and it doesn’t dry my lips out at all. It lasts all day and color is even and beautiful. I never write reviews but since there were many so so reviews in here I had to write about how much I love this!” – Customer

Price: $5.41+ (available in sixteen colors)

Last thing? Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, a creamy lippie that can last for up to 12 hours and just might be a magical, confidence-boosting potion.

via Amazon,
via Amazon,

Last, but not least, this is subtle sheer brown lipstick beauty with a cool undertone. Mink not only has buildable pigment but can also be worn with or without a lip liner.

If you want a more natural or subtle lip color – as well as a cheaper alternative – this option is for you.

What people are saying: “I freaking love this lipstick. I bought it (hesitantly) after watching a YouTube beauty video. I have brown skin, so it’s usually hard for me to buy products that I can’t see on because so often the colors are just wrong for me. BUT THIS PRODUCT IS GREAT FOR ME!!!! I have a caramel-y skin color, and this color is the perfect mauve-y nude for me. It’s the lipstick I reach for the most, and I’m so sure I’ll purchase it again. The matte doesn’t dry your lips out, the pigmentation payoff is impressive for a drugstore brand, and it’s creamy for a long time before mattifying. I’m obsessed.” — Sanjay Gangal

Price: $4.99+ (available in 35 shades)


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  • Zathia Bazeer

    Zathia Bazeer is a university student majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Journalism. Zathia is a Sri Lankan Muslim, and is passionate about issues such as racism, Muslim affairs and feminism.