In the nude - 5 top lip neutrals
Courage is required if you plump for a nude pout, says our expert who has five top lip neutrals
The nude lip sounds like the pigmented-pout polar opposite of your scarlet lip, but really these looks have a lot in common. Both can be transformative, and both can look really bad if you either choose the wrong shade or have nibbled or gnawed lips. Buff the latter with a soft, dry toothbrush, otherwise applying a your-lips-but-better shade will be tantamount to painting over flock wallpaper and hoping for a perfect finish.
Then, take care choosing your colour. Dark skin tones should tend towards the honey and caramel end of browny-pink. Milk-white to nearly-take-a-tan sorts should seek a soupcon of peachy-pink in the mix. Muddy browns and super-matt textures are strictly for those with full lips and perfectly white teeth, unless you're completing the look with a 1990s power suit.
Max Factor Velvet Mattes Lipstick in Nude, €10.99, available nationwide
This is a winner for skin tones from pale to light olive, as it has a dash of pink but it's not the bubblegum or princess varieties. Instead it's a neutral pink that will enhance your natural lip colour, and the fact that it's a velvety matt and not chalk-like means that thin lips will seem fuller, too. "This creamy colour is really comfortable to wear and while it's not a jump-at-you shade, it immediately make you look more polished and put-together," said one panellist.
Best Sweet Treat
Clarins Joli Brilliant Tender Nude, €24, Clarins counters nationwide
This is definitely one for paler types, with its sweet peachy-pinkness. This semi-sheer lipstick boasts its moisturising properties as much as its punch of pigment. It certainly feels moisturising and has a healthy-looking gleam off it, too. It's something like
a non-sticky gloss crossed with a sheer lipstick, and it is worth trying for low-make-up summer. "This is as comfortable as a balm but with enough creamy colour that it has proper-lipstick impact," one panellist said. "I love the sweet taste, but that won't be for everyone."
Best Naked Balm
YSL Volupte Tint-in-Balm in Dream Me Nude, €33, YSL counters nationwide
If you're not a massive lipstick-lover but like a balm and appreciate the pick-me-up of a little pigment, then this is for you. It's more impactful in the tube than on the lips, with a cute love-heart of pink balm in the centre of a pinky-beige nude bullet. The finish is sheer and shiny, with a fruity scent. "For a bit more intensity and staying power, I colour in my lips with a neutral shade of pencil," a panellist said. "Mostly, though, I like its barely there brush of nude-y shine."
Best Matte Magic
Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder Lipstick in Nude Spice, €40, Brown Thomas
This is the lipstick that VB wears herself, apparently, to complete her very carefully un-flashy make-up look. It's very matt, so anyone with very thin lips should try before they buy. Also, if you have issues with feathering, try a lip pencil like Max Factor Colour Elixir Universal Lip Liner (€6.99). It will hold the product in place, and because it's clear, there will be no conflicting colour. "Who knew nude could be so dramatic?" one panellist said. "The creamy matt finish is very luxurious in look and feel."
Best Simple Shine
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Golden Sand, €35, Chanel counters nationwide
If you're looking for the caramel end of nude, this sheeny, shiny lipstick is worth a look. The sheer but highly pigmented Rouge Coco Shine line is ideal for this time of year, when the weather and you are starting to lighten up. They sort of tint your lips, so even if the shine doesn't last terribly long, you still have colour. "A slightly rose-gold tint to this ramps up its richness," a panellist said. "It's sophisticated subtlety that beautifully complements a smoky eye."
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