Fifty Shades of Nude

 The nude look, so hot today, was pioneered by a little Jewish girl named Bobbi Brown who espoused a makeup style based on natural and moderate tones in the 1980’s, a major departure from the bright hues popular at the time. In 1991 she introduced her own line starting with Bobbi Brown Essentials, 10 natural lip shades, and the rest is history. The look has stuck around for one reason: it is flattering to everyone. Check out the Kardashian girls (as if you could avoid them!) who have rocked the nude lip to stardom.

L'Oreal Celebrity Nudes promotion

L’Oreal Celebrity Nudes promotion

Now cosmetics brands across the price spectrum have extensive nude collections of lip color, cheek and powder color, and eye shadow palettes. Why should you embrace this popular look? Because it makes you look polished, pretty, fresh, natural and younger. So much can be done with highlight and contour, all in nude shades, to sculpt and enhance your face, eyes, lips and nails. Even nail polish in nude shades from pearly cream to bronze are having a moment, looking particularly fresh against a summer tan. Flip through any Vogue or Bazaar and see how many models and celebs are flaunting the nude look and how it makes their faces look flawless and their eyes POP.

A multitude of makeup shades

A multitude of makeup shades

Gone are the days of light, medium and dark. Savvy makeup lines like L’oreal True Match with 33 shades and Maybelline Fit Me with 18 are finally acknowledging that women come in a multitude of shades and marketing accordingly. L’oreal is currently selling its nude lip collection via 6 gorgeous celebs with vastly different coloring and ethnicity, touting a nude for every complexion.

My nudes

My nudes

As you can no doubt see, I walk the walk when it comes to nude lipstick, discovering in my makeup clean out that I owned 16! Sometimes I’ll want one with a bit of pink or peach in it, sometimes I like it bronze-y or amber, sometimes russet to brown. Over the years, I have found that I am more comfortable in these tones than any brilliant red, pink or berry. Occasionally I will veer off into ripe coral or orange territory, but otherwise I love the nude lip look. It works best with my signature makeup style which is all about a defined eye. At this point in life, I would rather draw the eye upward than have it focusing around my mouth and south, if you get my drift. It is also a more youthful look and easier to pull off than bright or dark shades which tend to migrate outside the lip line and emphasize wrinkles. So aging!

Swatches of my collection

Swatches of my collection

My collection is very democratic including drug store lines like L’oreal, Maybelline, Cover Girl, Revlon, a Sally Hansen favorite and a Burt’s Bees Shimmer in Caramel. But I place a premium on creaminess and the ones I find most luscious are YSL Rouge Volupte, Chanel, and Fresh Sugar.

Nude eye shadow palettes abound. Urban Decay has launched no less than three Naked palettes to major sales. I own #1, but to be honest, almost all the shades are loaded with shimmer which only emphasizes wrinkled skin around the eyes.

Shadow palettes, blush and bronzer in the nude

Shadow palettes, blush and bronzer in the nude

When I use these, I confine them to the upper lid only, using matte shades in the crease. For bargain hunters,  try the 12 color palette option offered by Maybelline. My current can’t- live- without is by Bobbi Brown. Of the 7 shades from bone to chocolate, only two have shimmer and are subtle enough for the lid or as a highlight under the brow. Try using a light to medium shade on the lid to bring it forward, a shade or two darker in the crease to make it recede, and a sliver of a lighter shade as highlight  under the brow. Go darker for a smokey evening eye. Most important, blend, blend, blend! The flattering contoured look you achieve should be a subtle ombre, not striped. All your favorite brands found from CVS to Sephora to Neiman’s has a least one shadow palette devoted to neutrals. Chanel has six four shade palettes in gorgeously silky nude tones.

Try a blush in the natural range too. I’m a fan of Nars Lovejoy powder compact or Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor cheek gelee in Honeymoon Honey. Or keep it neutral but defined with a bit of bronzer wafted across the cheekbones. Nothing lovelier than “natural” summer beauty!


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