Choose a shade of nude lipstick that closely matches your natural coloring
Apply clear lip balm to pull your natural lip color forward. "The most important factor in choosing a nude lipstick that best suits your skin and hair color is actually the natural tone of your own lips," says Giorgio Armani makeup artist Alyssa Johnson. "Everyone has a different idea of nude," she added, but picking a shade of nude lipstick that stays truest to your own lip color will result in a natural, fresh look. Nudes won't hide chapped lips the way red lipstick does, so the lip balm has an added bonus of conditioning your pucker.
Pick a shade of nude lipstick slightly darker than your natural lip color. It might seem counter-intuitive to go darker when you're trying to achieve a bare look, but lipstick that's lighter than your own lips can actually wash out your mouth and make your lips look dry and sallow.
Look for a nude lipstick with undertones that compliment your hair and skin color. If you have fair skin, rose petal pinks with champagne undertones and shimmer will highlight your mouth. "Blonds," advises Johnson, "should stay away from anything with a taupe or ashy color," which will make you look dull and pale. Those with olive skin can choose between creamy caramel-colored undertones, or for more rosiness, a soft mauve. For a nude lip on dark skin, choose a sheer lipstick with soft brown, cafe-au-lait undertones. "Light pinks on darker skin will look unnatural," she warns.