Thursday, October 24, 2013

In Search of the Perfect Nude

Not this kind of nude, silly!
Lately I have spent not one visit, but many visits to Sephora and other beauty emporiums trying to find the perfect nude.  Does anyone else out there notice how many ugly, deeply unflattering nude lipsticks there are?  It's particularly confounding since you see almost every model and actress in every ad wearing the same pinkish nude lip but you try to find that color and it DOES NOT EXIST.  Is this a conspiracy?  Where are all those women getting their perfect lips from?  There must be a secret storage house somewhere stuffed to the rafters with flattering nude lipsticks and you can only get them if you make a Faustian bargain with some sci-fi version of the devil.  

You will get a perfect nude exchange for your immortal soul.
Short of an unholy alliance, I have had to make do with trying every nude known to woman. My favorite nude so far is from the new Marc Jacobs makeup line.  It's a warm pinkish nude with a little bit of earth, a little bit of rose. 

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lovemarc Lip Gel in Understudy 114. $30
The Lovemarc Lip Gel has a slightly sheer quality that doesn't make you lips look too lined (as matte nudes are wont to do).  It's a lovely healthy pink nude that brings color to your face so you can feel like a cow-maiden on the heath.   And it's reasonably moisturizing.  Every lipstick claims to be moisturizing, but few are.   This lipstick uses monoi oil to keep your lips soft and smooth.  I still add a little balm on top to prevent my lips from getting dry.

L'oreal Colour Riche Lipcolour in Tender Pink 114. $8.95
This is a classic and it was my favorite nude for a long time.  Unfortunately, I found it to VERY drying which is why I stopped using L'oreal lipsticks altogether.  It's nude-ish pink with a fair bit of brown.  It was a little dark on my pale skin, so I would use it with a gloss.  Back in the day when I was working as a makeup artist, I found this shade to be flattering on almost everyone.

Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss in Buff -- Beige Pink. $24.00
Sephora has started carrying Bobbi Brown's makeup line, a sign of the 90's revival when she was putting brown lipstick on everyone.  I tried almost all her nude lipsticks and found, yes, they are too brown on me.  My lips looked dirty -- and not in a good sexy way, just a mud-on-the-mouth kind of way.  This gloss is a happy exception.  It gives your lips a pale nude-ish quality that looks very natural.  It's also reasonably moisturizing.  

Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip and Cheek Stain in Mambo -- Toasted Beige. $19.00
Mambo goes on very strong, very dark coffee brown -- in contrast to its description as a "Toasted Beige."  This would only be a good neutral for women with very olive or dark skin and certainly not a true nude.   I like to add a sheer gloss on top of my favorite shade of Magic Marker, the very flirty red Flamenco, to keep my lips hydrated.  You also can wear the Magic Markers under lipsticks to keep your color longer.

Lip Perfection Gel by Per-fekt in Melrose and Sunset. $24.00

I love the idea of this gel more than I love the execution.  It has a thick lip balm texture but the color is more intense than a balm.  The two neutrals I tried didn't work at all.  Melrose is a mauve-ish tone nude that made me look undead.  Sunset looked like it would be a nice apricot, but on the mouth it shows a lot of bright orange.  The only color I liked in this line was Hollywood, which is a true red.  You don't need a lot of this, a little goes a long way.  Oddly, I found it to be a little drying.

Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick by Hourglass in Canvas and Rose. $28
Hourglass has two neutrals in their Liquid Lipstick line, Canvas and Rose.  Canvas is described as a "soft rose beige" and goes on very light.  It will give you that striking pale beige lip that people like to use with smoky eyes.  Personally, I find it a little too light and devoid of color.  Rose, which is described as a "modern neutral," is that exquisite shade of rose-y pink that is not too bright or too dark or too "pink."  It's not a nude in a classic sense, but it's a gorgeous neutral-ish pink you could wear with a lot of different makeup looks.  Both Canvas and Rose go on liquid and then within a few seconds dry to a matte finish.  It has great staying powder, but it is very drying.  As adorable as they are, no one wants to make out with a lizard.  So when I wear Rose, I add a layer of Josie Maran's Argan Luscious Lips sheer lip gloss on top to keep my lips from completely drying out. 
Nourish-Mint Sheer Mineral Lip Color by Aveda in Sheer Moonflower 501. $16

So this is a lovely, earthy-y nude described a "sheer, shimmery natural earthy pink."  It looks darker on the tube than it does on your lips.  It's close to your natural lip color, while being a little darker and a little more pronounced.  This is a great lip color to wear if you want to look like you're not wearing any lipstick.  I've found that it photographs very naturally, giving your mouth some shape and definition while looking like bare lips.  It's quite moisturizing, but you will need to reapply frequently.  I like to pair it with Aveda's Rehydrating Lip Glaze in Mango Juice.

Aveda Rehydrating Lip Glaze in Mango Juice 260. $18  

This lip gloss is described as a "warm shiny shimmery peach" but I found it to be much more a neutral than a peach on the lip.  It has a little bit of sparkle and a beautiful beige quality, but enough warmth that you don't look undead.  On its own it will make your lips a little more pale and neutral-ish.  I like to pair it with the Aveda lipstick in Sheer Moonflower and I like to use it over other lipsticks to make them softer and paler.  It's very moisturizing.