The first time I tried on a pair of “flesh toned” stockings from my local drugstore before church, I was sorely disappointed. Instead of matching my dark brown legs, I looked down to see my limbs covered in a wildly-unflattering beige material. That’s my experience with “nudes” in a nutshell. For years, whenever I saw an exciting new line of nude lipsticks or glosses from my favorite brands, I’d keep browsing, not wanting to relive my nylon nightmare.
Of course, I’m not alone. “‘Nude’ is a tricky theory, especially when it comes to darker skin,” makeup artist Nick Barose, who works with stars like Lupita Nyong’o and Zoë Kravitz, explains to R29. “People think of nude as something beige, so on darker skin it just looks unnatural and too light.”
Thankfully, things are rapidly changing: Fashion and beauty brands are realizing that nudes aren’t a one-size-fits-all concept, offering more options for more complexions. But for those who are still hesitant — especially those that fall on either side of the complexion spectrum —should rest easy, because picking out the right nude from modern options is as simple as looking in the mirror. “Your nude should look like it could be your own — just a bit rosier and warmer,” Barose instructs. “On darker skin, I go a bit more bronze berry, so it looks fresh and healthy…not pale and flat. The right nude should make you look fresh, not dull.”
Ahead, see some of the best next-to-nothing shades for Black skin — and tell us your faves in the comments below.
At the 2018 Met Gala, SZA stunned in a combination of Lust Angeles and Skin Show from Pat McGrath’s collection.
Pat McGrath, $38, available at Pat McGrath
Meanwhile, Solange opted for a cheaper combo: Bees Liquid Lipstick in Niagara Nude and Sandy Seas.
Burt’s Bees®, $10, available at Burt’s Bees®
AJ Crimson’s base products offer some of the deepest shades in the game — so of course, his #NoFilter nude is just as good.
AJ Crimson, $18.5, available at AJ Crimson
The Lip Bar is known for its in-your-face bolds, but we can’t stop staring at the brand’s new Never Enough Nudes collection. You can wear the rich browns by themselves, or tap on a little gold shimmer for more pop.
The Lip Bar, $12, available at The Lip Bar
At the 2017 Emmys, Issa Rae glimmered inCovergirl’s Gelebrity, a warm taupe shade.
COVERGIRL, $6.94, available at Walmart
If you’re giving your mattes a rest for the warmer months, then Too Faced’s Natural Nudes collection is perfect — they go on creamy and are formulated with coconut butter.
Too Faced, $22, available at Sephora
Those with lighter brown hues will find this golden shade picture perfect.
MAC Lipstick in Photo, $17, available at MAC.
At $7 a pop, you can mix and match these shades to come up with your own custom color.
NYX Lip Lingerie, $7, available at NYX.
Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Crop Top, $15, available at Tarte.
After a pinot-fueled convo about their makeup counter frustrations, friends Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller came up with the concept of Mented. The brand has a collection of six balmy shades suitable for the darker spectrum.
Mented Cosmetics Capsule Collection, $89, available at Mented.
Want to see Mented’s nudes in action? Just press play!
Click HERE to read more from Refinery29