Find­ing the per­fect nude is … com­pli­cated. Here’s a blueprint.

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Go­ing nude is com­pli­cated

Find­ing the per­fect nude lip­stick is a bit like search­ing for the per­fect swim­suit or pair of jeans: tricky. Too light and you look pasty; too dark and the ef­fect isn’t nude, it’s brown­ish-pink. But a glossy nude, in ex­actly the right shade, is like a per­fectly cut suit: eter­nally ele­gant. Find­ing one that suits is well worth the faff.

I’ve al­ways sub­scribed to the view that your per­fect nude is the same colour as your in­ner lip. Stand in front of a mir­ror and pull down your lower lip. Bet­ter, still, pout like a petu­lant 5-year-old. The colour you see on the in­side of your mouth is a good choice of nude. But it’s not the only one. THE FAIREST OF ALL. Pale skin? Play up the pink in your skin tone with a pale, rosy nude. Nars’ Au­da­cious Lip­stick in Bar­bara ($54, at Mecca) is a great choice, so is Liv­ing Na­ture’s Pre­cious ($33), a soft browny-pink that’s great for fair and medium skin. Its ef­fect on tanned skin is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent (think Kim Kar­dashian nude) but equally beau­ti­ful. Women with fair skin of­ten have a lit­tle blue in the colour of their nat­u­ral lip, which is where a shade like Mac’s Viva Glam II ($40) comes in. A pinky­beige semi-matte, it has a tiny touch of mauve, which gives it the strength pale faces need to quit look­ing ashen. It’s been my favourite nude lip­stick since its launch in 1997, and is the per­fect base to team with slightly dif­fer­ent-toned nude glosses. A word of warn­ing fair heads: steer clear of or­ange­based nudes, which can make you look sal­low. A NAT­U­RAL MEDIUM. Women with a touch of warmth — or olive — in their skin can choose a sheer peachy shade that doesn’t read lighter than their nat­u­ral lip colour. If your lips need def­i­ni­tion, use a nude lip pen­cil on the Cupid’s bow and outer cor­ners only, an ef­fect that’s far sub­tler than a full out­line. Medium skins also suit grun­tier nudes like salmon pinks such as Jane Iredale PureMoist Lip­stick in Brooke ($48) or Rim­mel London’s Kate Most Last­ing Fin­ish in #042 ($17). And if you don’t like your nude lips wishy-washy, try L’Oreal Paris’ Colour Riche Matte Ad­dic­tion Lip­stick in Moka Chic ($24). A DARKER NUDE. What looks like nude in the tube is go­ing to be very wrong; nudes suited to fairer skins will look like con­cealer on nat­u­rally dark lips. Choose bronzy browns and rich dusky pinks. Bet­ter still; match your shade to the dark­est tone in your nat­u­ral lip colour ( usu­ally your lip line). Truly de­li­cious is El­iz­a­beth Ar­den’s Beau­ti­ful Colour Mois­tur­iz­ing Lip­stick in Co­coa Bronze ($ 51). So too is Clin­ique’s Chubby Stick In­tense Mois­tur­iz­ing Lip Color Balm in Chunki­est Chilli ($ 42), a crayon- like balm that also pro­vides full- cov­er­age colour. Tracey Strange

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