I Asked 12 Black Women For Their Favorite Nude Lip Colors of All Time

As a fashion editor, I always think of nude lip products in the context of a closet: they’re like the white t-shirt of your wardrobe–it’s not necessarily the most exciting thing in your collection, but it’s certainly the hardest working. For all it’s worth, choosing a nude shade isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Black women can probably understand this more than anyone: it’s taken decades for makeup companies to recognize the diverse range of deep and dark skin tones. Neutral shades marketed as “universal” nude lip colors generally skew ashy and wash out brown skin–so nope, that’s not doing us any favors. Thankfully the beauty industry is finally changing, but finding the perfect nude is still a science.  I’m always asking fellow make up users for their personal recommendations, so I figured I’d get the scoop on the best neutrals out there. I asked 12 amazing Black women for their favorite nude lip products of all time, and let’s just say I’ve already added everything to my digital shopping cart. From peachy tones to chocolate brown hues (and of course more!), stay tuned for some incredible product suggestions.  

“I think one of the best neutral tones for Black women are Nars Matte Lip Pencil in Dance Fever or the Glossier Generation G in Cake. I really love Generation G–it has a balm quality to it and B.C. (before Corona) I would slip it in my bags for touch ups or if my lips felt a little chapped. Nars, which is around the same price point, is a fantastic creamy brown with real staying power and adds a subtle pop.”–Yaminah

“Fly Girl from Buxom is my go-to nude lipstick these days because I can wear it alone if I’m in a rush.  Some nudes you need a liner and a gloss to make it work for brown skin, but this one is amazing solo.”– Niara

“I usually live in Tower 28’s Cashew lipgloss as it’s a perfect match for my skin tone and always adds a little extra shine without the fuss. But when I’m feeling myself, I like to go for a bolder, darker nude lip that gives J.LO turned punk vibes. I’ve been using Laura Mercier’s lipstick in Brun Naturel for over two years now, and it’s by far one of my favorite nude lip colors as it lasts longer than most lipsticks do, and I love how it looks on.”–Jasmine

“My favorite lip color of all time is brown. I love that it gives me a full 90’s vibe and makes me feel super confident and sexy. Right now my preferred shade is a chocolate brown from Fenty Beauty called Unveil.”–Micaéla 

“It’s rare that you’ll find me in any other lip color besides a Ruby Red or a lightly tinted gloss. The most recent gloss I’ve been sporting is the Ilia balmy gloss tint in Linger—It’s the perfect mix between color and a natural gloss because it gives you the berry mauve tint vibrancy, but with a pop of sheen. What makes it a golden find is that unlike most sticky gloss, this one hydrates your lips with hyaluronic acid which makes it a triple threat: color, gloss, and balm.” –Delanique

“My favorite nude lip color is Chocolate Divin aka Chocolate Red by Laura Mercier. It’s a super versatile lip color that I can dress up or down and wear all year round. Its classic deep brown hue goes well with my skin tone. I love that it’s a satin finish — moisturizing yet not too glossy.  Also, the name of this shade is a mood!” –Folasade

“I love the satin matte finish because it lasts all day, yet it’s not drying at all. Pink toned nudes compliment my skin tone the best, so I usually stick to that color family.”–Yolanda

“My go-to lip combo goes like this: a brown lip liner, a nude lipstick and either a nude or pink gloss on top to make it pop. I’ve been using Espressoh’s lip color in Toasted to achieve this look for a few months now and I really can’t use anything else. On top of it being the perfect natural nude to match my skin tone, it smells incredible.” –Ah-niyah

“I love the buttery soft feeling of this product! It usually doesn’t need multiple applications because a lot goes a long way. The color looks so beautiful paired with a dark brown lip liner, like my go-to Fenty’s Match Stix (which I use a lip liner). I pair these two together and it’s a match made in nude heaven. “–Nana

“Nude lip colors are a sore spot for me. I have deep brown skin and most shades classified as “universally” nude look ashy and clownish on me. Everyone in the world was so taken with the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lipstick (it’s among the most popular of all time), but, again, it was too light and the undertones were just off for my skin tone. It wasn’t until the brand launched Pillow Talk Intense a couple of years ago that I finally learned the joy of having a go-to, nude lip color that worked with any face of makeup and made me feel instantly put together. I like to line my lips with a medium brown liner slightly darker than my skin to create even more cohesion with nude shades, or any shade that might need to be slightly darkened to complement my skin.” –Courtney

“I’m a big fan of this shade from Colourpop. It’s super affordable and long-lasting, and stays on for hours without drying out my lips. I love how versatile it is!”–Ade

“Nudes were never my thing until I met this blush and bashful pink tone. I love it because it’s very subtle, it compliments my skin tone and it’s the one lip brand that I’ve tried that provides my lips with some moisture instead of drying them out.”– Kia

“I could’ve cried when Mac discontinued their Amplified lipstick Double Shot. Finding a nude color that pairs well with my skin is a bit tricky since I have a reddish undertone. Brown nudes within the peachy/rose color family do me right, so I’ve tried a bunch from Mac until I found my new favorite in their Whirl shade. I usually line my lips with a dark brown liner, and then blot the color within the center of my lips. If my lips feel dry I’ll top it with Merit’s lip oil in Marrakech–it’s my perfect combination.”–Indya

Up Next, I Just Found 7 Supremely Cozy Bedsheets—And Now I Never Want To Leave My Bed.