Ayesha Muttucumaru has never managed to create a nude lip that truly suits her Sri Lankan skin tone, but inspired by Jourdan Dunn she faces up to the challenge with the help of Smashbox National Make-up Coach Janine Bird...
A good nude lip is one look that has continually eluded me. It’s one that I’ve always wanted to pull off yet have often struggled to perfect, my meagre attempts often resulting in me either bearing a rather unfortunate resemblance to a dehydrated zombie, or looking like one giant mass of brown - nostrils and eyebrows becoming the only decipherable features left on my face.
As a beauty writer, I felt I couldn’t go on avoiding the trend and luckily enough, I found myself as the willing participant of a Nude Lip masterclass at Smashbox HQ, led by their National Make-up Coach Janine Bird. Under her guidance, I was finally able to master the look that the beautiful Jourdan Dunn showcased to great effect at Carolina Herrera S/S 2013. Here are the rules that I learnt for creating the perfect nude lip:
Rule 1: Use foundation to balance out lip colour
A common problem that my family and I have found is that our lips are a very different colour from one another due to our Sri Lankan ancestry (my upper lip is much darker than my lower one). To address this, Janine recommends sweeping a foundation which is as close to your skin colour as possible over your lips, to give you a blank canvas on which to apply your lipstick such as Smashbox High Definition Healthy FX Foundation SPF 15, £26.
I also love Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF 15, £30 and L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation , £10.29 for their large range of colours and silky smooth textures.
Rule 2: Line lips with a pencil that matches your natural lip colour
This nifty little tip applies to whatever colour lipstick you use, bright or nude to give your lippie staying power. As Janine pointed out, “It also means that you only ever need one in your make-up bag.” She suggested that I try Smashbox’s The Nude Lip Pencil in Warm Nude, £13, a creamy barely-there shade which matched my lip colour to a tee. I’d also recommend MAC’s Pro Longwear Lip Pencils , £14, which are rich in texture and glide on seamlessly for a budge-proof, long-lasting finish.
Rule 3: Use a lip brush for ultra-precision
If like me you’re ever so slightly on the clumsy side, a good lip brush will become your new best friend for successfully creating this look. A great way to build up colour, they provide a greater degree of accuracy than applying straight from the bullet. I’d recommend MAC’s 316 Lip Brush , £16, or the No7 Lip Brush , £7 to create clean, sharp lines without a wobble in sight.
Rule 4: Experiment with a few shades
To ensure that I picked the correct shade, Janine tried out a few different colours from Smashbox’s extensive range of Be Legendary Lipsticks , £15.50, some a little lighter than my skin tone and some slightly darker. We decided on Chai, a light brown that was slighter lighter than my skin tone. For a look that’s more dewy than shiny, follow up by applying a touch of balm. My favourites? Crème de la Mer’s The Lip Balm , £40, and MALIN+GOETZ Lip Moisturizer , £10.
If traditional nudes aren’t for you, try choosing a shade with a hint of pink in it instead. I personally really like Clinique Chubby Stick in Bountiful Blush, £16, and Estee Lauder Pure Colour in Rose Tea, £19.50, which are both super moisturising too.
Rule 5: Set aside some alone time to test your look
I’m not going to lie. There have been far too many times when my previous attempts to 'experiment' with make-up have fallen flat on their face. And unfortunately, I have quite an impressive collection of photos showcasing each and every one of them to quite a horrifying extent (my mum wouldn’t let me burn them). To avoid future cringeworthy moments, Janine recommends trialling the look within the safe confines of your own home so that you can become more comfortable with it ahead of its public reveal.
“Keep looking in the mirror throughout the day and take it off only at bedtime. Hang out with it for a while so you can build up your confidence before unveiling it.” My bright blue eyeshadow-wearing 14-year-old self wishes I had known this before.
Rule 6: Balance barely-there lips with bold eyes
I love a dramatic eye and there’s no better time to go all out than with a nude lip. For soft and smokey, try out Smashbox’s Smokebox Palette , £31.50 or Estee Lauder’s Pure Colour Stay-On Shadow Paint in Sinister, £19 and Chanel’s Illusion D’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow in Mirifique, £23, for a touch of sparkle.
My eyes feel a bit naked without my trusty feline flick, and my two favourite ever liquid liners are NARS’ Eyeliner Stylo in Carpates, £19, and YSL’s False Lash Effect Eyeliner , £24, which I find adds a little something extra to whole look. Combine with mega-watt lashes courtesy of GTG HQ’s current mascara must-have – Magnetic Lash , £24.99, and you’ll have a finished look to rival that of even the fabulous Ms Dunn.