Model: Tiffany Keller at Elite (Photo: Robin Black)
Nude faces are a major spring trend, but when it comes to makeup, nude doesn’t have to mean absolutely naked. Personally, I prefer a more polished nude look with a focus on the skin, cheeks and lips. The eyes are optional, so depending on your level of comfort you can skip eye makeup all together (maybe just a quick curl of the lashes), opt for a few coats of your favorite mascara, or perhaps smudge on a bit of liner. Brows are optional, too. In the above photo I bleached Tiffany’s brows to a pale golden shade, but obviously many people prefer a more defined look. If you already have luscious brows (à la Brooke Shields), then all you need is a good grooming wax, gel, or a spritz of hairspray on a brow brush to keep the hairs in place. However, if you require a bit of brow help, try using a powder or pencil that is a half shade lighter than your natural color. Fill in and then brush through several times to remove excess product and soften the shape.
The following products were culled from my studio makeup stash, then tested on models, friends, and of course, on my own face. If you have favorite nude products to suggest, please do so in the comments below!
The basis of a great nude look is the skin. You want your skin to look completely natural, but since most of us have at least a little discoloration or redness, sheer perfecting liquids can help even out your complexion without that obvious makeup texture. If you have additional blemishes or under eye circles, use a small amount of highly pigmented concealer just over the problem spots and blend well.
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
Glossier’s products are pretty much the definition of “nude makeup.” The Perfecting Skin Tint ($26) is exactly that—a wash of sheer color that evens out your skin color. I like how thin the formula is. It’s very easy to apply and it blends in seamlessly using your fingers. I tried laying it over Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer ($25) and was impressed with the dewy finish, plus I have really sensitive skin and neither of these products irritated it at all.
Bobbi Brown CC Cream SPF 35
This very, very sheer color corrector ($44) provides minimal coverage but does an amazing job at brightening up sallow skin and evening out redness. It also packs all kinds of skin benefits and has a UVA/UVB 35 SPF. Bobbi’s site recommends that you use it under foundation, but I found that worn by itself, it gives skin a naturally luminous look.
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
If you want a tad more coverage and an oil free formula, then this tinted moisturizer ($43) is perfect. When worn alone it develops a subtle dewy look, but it can be powdered down to create a more matte finish. I always start by applying the product in the center of the face and then blending outward, making sure to go under the jaw for a seamless transition into the neck.
To brighten up the nude look, try a sunkissed contour and a touch of cream blush. I recommend applying cream blush approximately a half shade more intense then you really want it, because these products tend to fade slightly as they sink into the skin. You can definitely apply the cream bronzer with your finger, but a large blending brush will give you a more even look.
RMS Buriti Bronzer
I recently discovered this cream bronzer ($28) when a friend asked me to recommend an all-natural alternative to her favorite luxury product. As well as being organic with healing ingredients like wild crafted Buriti oil (according to the RMS site, the highest concentration of Vitamin A and Beta-carotene in an oil), this color works on a wide variety of skin tones and looks completely natural. When I first saw it in the pot, it appeared a bit shimmery for my taste. However, once applied on the skin, the product settles in and gives an incredibly believable sunkissed effect. For deeper skin tones, this color could also work as a beautiful highlighter.
NARS The Multiple
This beloved classic product ($39) has earned it’s reputation. With two finishes (shimmer and matte) and 20+ colors to pick from, you are bound to find one that works for you. Personally I like to use the matte bronzer shades as contour and then pop one of the brighter colors on the apple of the cheek. They are also great blended into the eye crease for extra definition.
Clarins Multi-Blush Cream Blush
I actually used this blush ($30) to create the flushed cheeks at the Spring 2015 Mugler presentation in NYC. It works really well across a variety of skin tones due to it’s sheer wash of color. The shade that I find to be the most universal is Grenadine. It looks bright in the package but applies like a natural flush.
Nude lips can be incredibly sexy (think Brigitte Bardot’s signature pale pout), but the key is finding the right shade. Actual skin-toned lips look great on the runway and I’ve been known to do them for photo shoots, but in real life a touch of color is much more flattering. Look for lip products that have a hint of pink, coral, rose, caramel or chocolate to create a subtly enhanced version of your natural color.
Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick
Charlotte makes several nude lipsticks ($32) that I find myself using all the time. The first is called Nude Kate, a gorgeous peachy beige that works perfectly on fair to light skin tones. On medium skin tones I love the Hepburn Honey or Penelope Pink. For deep skin tones there are two new nude colors in a matte formula that I started testing earlier in the month: Birkin Brown and Very Victoria. Both look gorgeous against darker skin and the matte finish is very chic.
Laura Mercier Sheer Lip Colour
This is one of the only sheer lipsticks ($24) I’ve tried that has a semi matte finish. This lipstick has enough pigment to evenly coat the lips, but is still very much a sheer (ignore the images of it in the tube where the colors look super bright). The color range works well on a variety of skin tones. For fair skin I prefer Bare Lips, medium skin tones work well with Nude Lips, and Tender Lips gives the perfect natural flush to deeper skin tones.
Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm
If you are not a lipstick person, these tinted lip balms are perfect for adding just a hint of color. Burt’s offers several nude shades ($7), including Honeysuckle, Caramel Daisy, and Forest Flower, that work on almost every skin tone due to the sheerness of the colors. Added benefits include being able to apply without a mirror and having moisturized lips all day long.
Disclaimer: Bobbi Brown is the editor in chief of Yahoo Beauty.