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11 best nude lipsticks, from matte to satin finishes

Chloë James
·7-min read
For the ultimate natural look, it’s important to factor in the natural colour of your lips (The Independent/ iStock)
For the ultimate natural look, it’s important to factor in the natural colour of your lips (The Independent/ iStock)

If you’ve found your perfect nude lipstick, hold on tight and consider yourself one of the lucky few.

With so many shades available, finding the right colour should theoretically be an easy task.

However, as those still on the hunt can attest, not all nudes are made equal.

Just a smidge too light, too dark, or too warm can wash out your complexion, or leave you looking like you’ve mistaken your concealer for lipstick.

For an uber natural look, it’s also important to factor in the natural colour of your lips. Those with more pigment in their pout will struggle the most when trying to colour match. If that’s the case, try something a shade lighter to give your lips a healthy glow.

Then you need to think about the finish. While liquid lipsticks will give a matte, long-lasting finish that’s perfect for overlining, creamy formulas are hydrating and feel much more comfortable when worn for a long period of time.

To help you track down the most natural lipstick for you, we put a range of high street and luxury lipsticks through their paces.

We wanted long-lasting pigment that tied together both every day and glam make-up looks. However, we didn’t want any dryness – the more nourishing the formula, the better.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

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Becca ultimate lipstick love in truffle

With more than 30 shades to choose from, we were spoilt for choice with Becca’s ultimate lipstick love. Truffle – a warm, rosy nude – was a standout for us. While designed for warm skin tones, we found it also added a flattering glow to both neutral and cooler skin tones. As for the formula itself, it’s incredibly hydrating thanks to a combo of hyaluronic acid, mango butter, avocado and olive oil.

Our tester’s lips had never felt so soft and plump after applying lipstick. We were sceptical that such a moisturising formula would last for the promised eight hours, but it more than did the job and never went patchy.

Buy now £20.00, Cult Beauty

Fenty stunna lip paint in unbutton

Each shade of Fenty’s stunna lip paint collection was handpicked by Rihanna to suit every skin tone, but our favourite is “unbutton”. It’s difficult to nail a peachy nude that suits both cool and warm undertones, but this shade truly looks good on everybody.

Unlike a lot of liquid formulas, it doesn’t dry your lips out but instead has a soft matte finish. The uniquely shaped applicator is incredibly precise, making it near impossible to make any messy mistakes. It promises to last for 12 hours, but we felt it actually had another few hours of life left in it beyond that.

Buy now £20.00, Boots

Huda Beauty power bullet matte lipstick in anniversary

Huda took two years to develop the formula for its power bullet collection, and we can honestly say it was worth the wait. It packs a lot of pigmentation into every tube – just one swipe gives you decent, long-lasting coverage. Anniversary is a warm toned beige that wouldn’t look out of place in an early noughties Jennifer Lopez video.

Don’t let the name deceive you: it doesn’t have much of a matte finish, but instead feels creamy and moisturising. We’d recommend locking this in with lip liner to prevent any feathering.

Buy now £22.00, Cult Beauty

NYX lip lingerie in cabaret show

The NYX liquid lipsticks have a cult following, courtesy of the staying power and wide shade range. This is a rosy nude formula, which has quite a thin consistency and dries to a very matte finish. Its staying power is so impressive that our tester actually struggled to get all the colour off her lips at the end of the day. However, it is quite drying, so top up on lip balm. Deeper skin tones might also find it quite ashy.

Buy now £5.95, Superdrug

Hourglass femme nude lip stylo in nude 5

Like everything from Hourglass, this lipstick comes beautifully packaged and makes a luxurious addition to any beauty bag. The same can be said for the product itself – smooth and satin. The chunky pencil-esque applicator makes it easy to add colour and even slightly overline your lips. “Nude 5” is the second deepest shade in the collection, describing itself as a “golden peach nude”.

Universally flattering, this is one of those your-lips-but-better situation that makes your pout look plumper and healthier. While it isn’t the longest lasting formula, it’s one of the most comfortable.

Buy now £31.00, Space NK

bareMinerals mineralist hydra smoothing lipstick in integrity

For the beauty minimalists out there, this lipstick contains less ingredients than 40 per cent of other lipsticks on the market, leaving out all of the unnecessary additives (such as parabens, fragrances and mineral oils) that often lie at the root of cosmetic irritation.

This “integrity” shade is a rich, warm toned brown that gives your lips a subtle glow. As the name suggests, it’s super hydrating and feels more like a balm when on your lips. While this does translate to relatively weak staying power, we did notice a difference in the softness of our lips after just a couple of days of use.

Buy now £20.00, Lookfantastic

Too Faced natural nude lipstick in indecent proposal

Gentle like a balm with all the pigment of a liquid lipstick, Too Faced’s natural nude lipstick saw our lips through rain, shine, eating and drinking. It’s infused with coconut butter, so gets to work nourishing your lips while also looking amazing. The range is packed with irresistible nude shades, but we loved Indecent Proposal. A rich, cherry brown, this is perfect for deeper skin tones.

Buy now £18.00, Selfridges

L’Oreal chocolats matte liquid lipstick in volupto choco

It’s impossible to have a review of this chocolats matte collection without mentioning the smell. The chocolate scent of these liquid lipsticks is completely irresistible and will have you struggling not to apply layer after layer trying to get another whiff. Scent aside, the lipstick itself is also pretty incredible.

The “volupto choco” shade is a warm, red under toned brown colour. It is an ultra-matte finish so it can be quite drying if you don’t apply balm or an exfoliation beforehand. On the plus side, once it’s set, this lipstick is going nowhere. Our tester rubbed the back of her hand across her lips and it didn’t budge once.

Buy now £4.99, Amazon

Giorgio Armani lip maestro liquid lipstick in dolci

We expected a lot from a £32 lipstick, and thankfully Armani delivered. To answer a request from Giorgio Armani himself to create a formula as intense and soft looking as velvet, the brand’s team created a revolutionary backlighting technology based on a translucent velvet gel.

Packed with pigment, it feels quite thick at first but dries down to a satiny balm that seems to make lips plumper and luminous. A warm toned, light to medium brown, “dolci” gives your pout a natural glow. While we love the finish, it does bleed slightly and needs tidying up every now and then.

Buy now £32.00, Armani

Nudestix magnetic matte lip colour in blossom

With a name like Nudestix, we had high expectations for a nude lipstick from this brand. A cool, pale nude, this is a comfortable formula that locks in colour for hours.

We love pencil lip colours as they’re so easy to apply – this one comes with a handy sharpener to make sure you get as much life from the product as possible – but it can also be quite drying. We recommend topping with a balm or gloss to avoid pilling.

Buy now £20.00, Cult Beauty

The Verdict: Nude lipsticks

Becca’s ultimate lipstick love is our top choice, thanks to its winning combination of wide shade range, hydration and long-lasting pigment. Those looking for colour that can survive just about anything can’t go wrong with the Fenty stunna lip paint, while L’Oreal chocolats matte liquid lipstick is an irresistible, high quality and purse friendly choice.