When it comes to nude lipstick, the beauty industry has long left darker skin tones out of the picture. Plenty of pinks and tonnes of taupes, but few that cater to the many shades of melanin-rich lips and skin. Thankfully, as with foundation, brands have begun to wake up to the problem, moving away from the flawed idea of a universal nude, and addressing it by creating a multitude of inclusive shades that accurately represent and compliment all skin tones.
"For decades nude was categorised as a fleshy, milky beige - a problematic concept", says Charlotte Falber, Senior Pro Make-Up Artist at MAC. 'In reality, "nude" is a plurality, and such milky, fleshy beige shades can look insipid and ashy on melanin-rich lips'. Falber looks out for words like 'tan, terracotta, taupe, caramel, sepia and chocolate’ instead.
How to find your match? Some suggest that in order to find perfect shade, you need to colour match against your nipple. That might, however, be frowned upon in the beauty hall, in which case heed Falber’s advice. 'Start by identifying the undertone of your skin,' she says. 'Then use a lip pencil that’s one shade darker than your skin to balance the look. It delivers an ombre-nude effect that looks natural and polished.' (If you’re shopping online, don’t forget that popular brands like MAC and Charlotte Tilbury will show what each lipstick looks like on a range of skin tones on their website).
SHOP: 24 Best Nude Lipsticks For Dark Skin Tones
SHOP: 24 Best Nude Lipsticks For Dark Skin Tones
Pat McGrath's latest collaboration with Netflix's Bridgerton echoes the romantic appeal of the shows pastel and blush tones. Shades Nude Romantique and Négligée are soft pinks with beige undertones perfect for melanin rich skin.
If a matte nude seems too heavy, Glossier's Ultralip is a low maintenance alternative. Enriched with hyaluronic acid, it glides on like a balm but has the pigment of a stain.
This range features 15 different nudes, which have a corresponding nail varnish, if you're feeling extra fancy.
This sheer orangey brown may nod to the 70s, but the formula is decidedly modern. Infused with oil, there's no compromise on hydration, helping lips look and feel, soft and nourished.
Blogger Huda Kattan's Iraqi heritage means she considers all skin tones. Last Night is a cool-toned, milk chocolate shade that pairs well with a colourful smokey eye (a true neutral, you don't have to worry about colour conflicts with your skin's undertone).
The poster brand for inclusivity, those with darker skin have an entire wardrobe of nude shades to choose from here. Opt for Taupe, a warm, pinky brown, for the ultimate your-lips-but-better shade.
Consider this a tinted lip balm for darker skinned girls. Once you've swiped the cool brown hue on lips, apply on the cheeks, too. The balmy sheen means it gives a touch of luminosity as well as colour.
Thanks to a whisper of warm brown pigment, this nude looks totally natural on lips.
Remember when Lipstick Queen went viral for their blue-but-swipe-and-it's-pink formulas? Us, too. Beyond the gimmick, their nude range is impressively comprehensive. This buttery soft shade leans more on the warm, brick red nude side.
A rich mahogany that doesn't lose its pigment on melanin-rich lips, and looks deliciously vampy when paired with a deep lip liner.
Just when you thought you'd tried every lipstick formula, along comes a lip mousse, with a powdery, buildable and matte texture. Consider October the perfect nude to wear – yep, you guessed it – in October, for its terracotta tone that warms the lip.
Prefer a sheer finish? Look out for Jones Road's dual sticks, which are half sheen, half tint. Chocolate Mocha is our favourite - a sheeny, red wine-esque stain that gives serious Alek Wek vibes, in the best possible way.
Consider Kiko one of the high street's best providers of colour cosmetics (because, well, have you tried their water eyeshadows?). And this lipstick is just as good. More taupe than Gingerbread, it deposits an opaque, matte colour in one swipe.
Infused with wild mango butter, unlike the conventional matte lipstick, this is incredibly hydrating and lightweight with no compromise to colour pay off or lasting power. When creating make-up, no skin tone - from a golden sand to rich umber - is left behind. 'We've established that no nude is equal, but we're yet to find anyone who doesn't suit Miriam,' says Sharon Chuter, founder of UOMA.
Fenty Beauty, with its 50-strong foundation shade range and punchy lipsticks, opened a truly meaningful dialogue surrounding diversity. Its Lip Paints are matte and weightless. Unveil is a warm, chocolate brown liquid matte lipstick that appears slightly golden on very dark lips.
Dior makes some of the most chic and indulgent formulas we know; choose from a variety of textures (matte, velvet, satin, metallic). Pair Ardente, a merlot tinted velvet and bare skin for a statement lip.
All hail NYX, purveyor of excellent shades at excellent prices. TikTok, the barometer for all beauty mania, is also on board: one video of the brand's lipsticks has 7.2m views. Cactus Dreams' plush finish and russet tone is one that you'll want to wear while basking in sunshine.
Look past the cult favourite Orgasm shade (only momentarily, we promise) and look towards Tonka, a dirty, deep and rosey brown. The satisfyingly pointed bullet also allows for precision application.
"Cocoa is such a good nude for deeper skin tones because it has a beautiful warm base that perfectly complements many deeper skin tone, and it will not show up ashy on the lips which tends to give a washed out look," explains Karen Teomi, Manager of Education at e.l.f. Cosmetics.