Nude Makeup Basics

Organic foundation make up in jars
Makeup Tips Image Gallery Simplifying your color palette by using natural colors is the key to perfecting the nude makeup look. See more pictures of makeup tips.
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Makeup fads come and go -- thank goodness! -- but some trends, such as the nude makeup look, will never go out of style. If you've never tried the look, don't pack away your cosmetics bag quite yet. It doesn't mean going without cosmetics -- it just means simplifying your makeup color palette, using neutral colors that match your skin perfectly and covering imperfections without looking made up. With this look, eyes and lips take center stage, but in a subtle way, perhaps with a hint of shimmer.

To get the look, you must follow one basic rule -- the less color, the better. The nude look involves using a few basic, neutral colors, such as rose, beige or peach, and their related shades. Begin with a foundation that is as close to your skin color as possible. Blush should have only a light tint, similar to your natural coloring. When it comes to your lips, go with either a neutral lip gloss or a natural-toned lipstick. Lightly line your eyes, but use a heavier hand with the mascara. The key to monochromatic beauty is to ensure that the products you use complement your natural skin tone, complexion and hair color.


Almost all cosmetic companies have a product line designed to make you look like a natural beauty. If you're a do-it-yourself type, peruse your favorite beauty supply shop for your nude necessities. Many lines are geared toward women's specific coloring to take the guesswork out of coordinating eye shadow with blush and lipstick. If rows and rows of different kinds of makeup confound you, try visiting your local department store beauty counter instead. The workers there can help you achieve your best bare face. Remember, a flawless foundation is key to the nude look, so read on to learn how to determine your skin's undertone, which will help you pick the right shade for you.





Choosing a Nude Makeup Collection

First things first -- take a long, hard look at your skin, sans makeup. To select the best nude makeup collection, you must determine your skin tone. Usually, people who tan very easily have yellow or olive undertones. If you flush or sunburn easily, you have pink or ruddy undertones. A person with neutral skin tone has no noticeable undertones.

If you're having trouble deciding, a makeup artist or salesperson at the cosmetic counter of your favorite department store can help you determine your skin tone. You also can find a picture of a celebrity who has a skin tone similar to your own.


Once you know your skin tone, you're sitting pretty. Many cosmetic companies have made an effort to offer you their take on perfectly coordinated nude products. They've created product lines that do the matching for you, and most nude makeup collections usually include several shades of eye shadow, blush, foundation, and lip gloss or lipstick. For example, one collection by a major makeup distributor includes several eye shadows that work together in soft shades of beige, brick red and bronze. It also includes dark brown eyeliner in gel form and a lip gloss in a pleasing red earth tone. Another collection includes:

  • A transparent beige face powder
  • Coral and chestnut blush
  • Eye shadow in subtle shades of pink, beige, peach and golden brown
  • Dark brown eyeliner
  • A warm beige lipstick

Companies have their own take on the colors, with names such as sand, apricot, berry, taupe, smoke, Egyptian brown and brightening gold.

Now that you've narrowed down the products you need, read on to learn how to apply the makeup to accentuate your favorite features.


Nude Makeup Styling Tips

Nude makeup is designed to give you flawless-looking skin. To achieve this level of fresh-faced beauty, begin by exfoliating your skin to create a smooth canvas.

Next, apply your foundation, carefully blending to avoid telltale edges where your makeup ends and your bare skin begins. Select a foundation with a light texture. The foundation should match your skin tone; however, you could use one shade lighter to brighten your face. If you use a powder, apply it sparingly so that it doesn't cake.


Apply the foundation to your eyelids, too, to even out any discoloration. Steal a trick from top makeup artists and apply mascara before liner or shadow; it gives you a guideline to follow when applying the rest of your eye makeup [source: Coombes]. Plump those lashes with dark brown, not black, mascara. If you have light lashes, also give a light coating to your lower lashes. From your nude eye shadow collection, use the lightest shade for the highest point under your eyebrow. Use the medium shade on the lid and the darkest shade next to your lashes [source: Coombes]. Next comes liner; start from the inner corner of your eye and move outward. Make the line slightly thicker above your pupil to create a wide-open look.

For supple lips, exfoliate gently, and then apply lip balm. Apply a dab of concealer (this helps hold lip color longer) and smooth on a lip gloss picked from your nude palette. To really plump your pout, dab a bit of gold- or silver-toned lip gloss in the middle of your lower lip. Steer clear of lip liner -- it will look too harsh.

As you can see, a nude makeup look takes some effort, but by using the proper palette and following the application tips above, you can let your natural beauty shine out. To learn more about nude makeup, check out the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related Articles


  • Begoun, Paula. "Determining Your Skin Tone." Paula's Choice. (Accessed 8/12/09).
  • Brown, Bobbi. "Learn: Super. Natural. You." Bobbi Brown Professional Cosmetics, Inc. (Accessed 8/12/09)
  • Coombes, Jaime. "How to Apply Nude Makeup." Evening Standard. (Accessed 8/12/09)
  • "How to Wear Nude Lipstick." Hearst Publications, Inc. (Accessed 8/12/09)
  • "Cosmetic Tips." (Accessed 8/12/09)
  • NPD Group, Inc. "NPD Reports on First Half U.S. Beauty Retail Industry." Sept. 1, 2009. (Accessed 9/2/09)
  • Tan, Cheryl Lu-Lien. "Lunchtime Snap: The Continuing Decline of Makeup Sales." Heard on the Runway; Wall Street Journal. Nov. 25, 2008. (Accessed 8/12/09)