Ah, the tricky ‘MLBB’. That’s ‘my lips but better’ for the people who haven’t walked out of Boots covered in an armful of lipstick swatches trying to find that one elusive shade (guilty).
While the nude lip is a trans-seasonal beauty look, there’s something that makes it especially perfect for autumn and those months when you’re not quite ready to adorn your lips with the deep berry and crimson shades of winter.
The problem with finding your perfect nude is that there are so many variables in place. For one, your lip colour isn’t the same shade as the inside of your arm. Which means the pinky-brown lipstick you’ve swatched, is going to look entirely different when you actually apply it.
My lips are naturally very pale, which makes finding my own perfect neutral that little bit harder.
How to find the right nude lipstick shade for your skin tone
This nude lip pilgrimage has led to a lot ‘hacks’ over the years and trust me, as a beauty editor I have tried them all. Matching my lipstick to the inside of my lip? Check. Using my nipple colour to find my perfect shade? Double check. Maybe it’s my areolas, but none of them have worked.
Which is why my first question to legendary makeup artist Lisa Eldridge when I met her at her new Covent Garden pop up this week was; ‘What’s your trick for finding your perfect nude?’
Primed with the Notes app in hand thinking I was going to have my next column in the bag with one quote, Lisa responded, “I don’t believe in any of those gimmicks”.
This honesty is the reason I revere her, but still, how was I going to make a headline out of that?
There is one test that Lisa does swear by and to be honest it’s part revelation, part common sense. “You’ll know instantly if it’s right because it will lift your face; if it’s wrong it will drain you,” she says.
See, all these years I have been looking for a shortcut to find the ultimate nude lip, but I didn’t need one because I know that pale pinky beige lipsticks drain me.
We have the knowledge, we just needed to hear those words of reassurance to know we are right.
As far as your ultimate lip goes, well that’s up to you (as long as it’s not draining), but can I make a strong case for Lisa Eldridge’s Insanely Saturated Lip Colour in Sunday Matinee, £26, Lisa Eldridge, which is described as “a soft, pouty medium pink with a hint of warmth”.
Oh, and if you love a matte, Uoma Beauty’s Badass Icon Concentrated Matte Lipsticks, £18.27, John Lewis, are the good kind that plump your lips instead of drying them out.
The brand has a great range of colours to suit all, and I love how they show what each one looks like on three different skin tones. I’m personally a fan of the shade Maya.
Of course, though, as a permanently unsatisfied beauty journalist, I had another problem for Lisa to solve. How do you find a lip liner shade that compliments your nude?
Turns out that when it comes to lip liner there is a bit more ‘science’ involved, but trust me, as someone that scraped through the subject with a C grade at school, I’m playing fast and loose with that term.
“If you want your lip liner to look natural, the colour needs to mimic a shadow. That’s how you create the illusion of fuller lips,” says Lisa.
Of course, as she points out, if you’re going for that ‘90s look, this rule doesn’t apply, as you want a colour that has a strong contrast for that.
No matter your skin tone, if you’re looking for a lip liner with your newfound knowledge, may I suggest Make Up For Ever’s Artist Colour Pencils, £16.50, LookFantastic. I got hooked on these after discovering that makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes was a fan (which always acts as an instant green flag for me).
Hailey Bieber swears by the shade ‘Anywhere Caffeine,’ but let it be known I was there first, please.
On my skin tone, Katie’s favourite ‘Endless Cacao’ is a very cool-toned brown that mimics a great shadow, which I will now be re-visiting. Meanwhile on deeper skin tones, MAC’s Lip Pencil in Chestnut, £18, John Lewis is a great option to try.
Now you just need to figure out how you’re going to fill all this free time you’ve gained now you’ve found your MLBB. Perhaps I should start by replying to my WhatsApps…