Finding the perfect pink lipstick can be a balancing act. I’m not talking about your bright fuchsias or orchids or Barbie pinks — I mean those soft, subtle pinks that are almost nude but not quite. The kind of pink you wear when you want people to notice how put-together you look without thinking you spent a whole lot of effort or time. That pink.
With soft pinks especially, it’s important to take your specific skin tone into account, otherwise, you might end with a lip that’s way lighter or darker than you wanted. According to bi-coastal makeup artist Lavonne, the selection process thankfully doesn’t have to be too difficult. “When I look at depth and undertones for a soft-toned petal pink lipstick, I start by looking at the natural color of the lips,” she explains to Allure.
With that perfect shade in hand, application should be a breeze. “I will choose a concealer to neutralize any blue, yellow, green, or purple [undertones] in the lips. This way I have an even canvas to work with,” Lavone explains. “I choose a lip liner to complement the skin tone and then blend it into the lip before applying lipstick.”
To simplify your search for that petal-soft shade, ALLURE editors have broken down the best nude pink lipsticks based on your skin tone below.
Deep: Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick in Retro Rose
Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick is every bit as comfortable as it sounds, thanks to its frictionless formula that’s packed with reparative castor seed oil. Retro Rose, shown above, is a glossy and sheer muted rose tone that looks stunning on deep skin.
Deep: L’Orèal Paris Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain in I Rule
If you’re the type who likes super-matte lip that could last a zombie apocalypse, L’Orèal Paris Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain is exactly that. When applied on deep skin tones, its deep mauve shade I Rule transforms into the perfect soft pink that’s not too light or ashy.
Deep: Juvia’s Place The Nude Velvety Matte Lipstick in A Mauve Moment
If your skin tone looks best when paired with cooler tones, try Juvia’s Place The Nude Velvety Matte Lipstick in A Mauve Moment. With just a hint of a purple undertone, this velvety matte lipstick brings full-color payoff with just one swipe.
Deep: Uoma Beauty Badass Icon Matte Lipstick in Miriam
Uoma Beauty’s Badass Icon Matte Lipstick in Miriam might look brown at first glance, but when swiped across the lips, its true neutral pink hue comes to life. And if you’ve tried any of the brand’s other lipsticks, you’ll know this one comes with the same suede-like finish and comfort level.
Deep: Beauty Bakerie Cake Pop Lippie in Funnel Cake
With a comfortable formula that lasts way longer than you’d expect for a cream, Beauty Bakerie Cake Pop Lippie in Funnel Cake is a deep pink with strong peach undertones. And thanks to its smaller-than-average packaging, you can pop it in your pocket and take it everywhere with you.
Medium: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Rebellious Rose
There’s a reason this shade of Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick won a 2020 Best of Beauty Award. With sheer pigments in a classic muted pink shade, Rebellious Rose looks great on virtually everyone — but especially on medium skin tones with neutral or cool undertones.
You can never go wrong with one of MAC’s Matte Lipsticks, especially if it’s in the shade Kinda Sexy. This long-wear matte is equal parts pink, peach, and nude, making it ideal for warm, medium skin tones.
This medium-toned rose shade called Precious from Milani isn’t extremely light or dark, a perfect middle-ground for any medium skin tone. What’s more: Amore Matte Lip Creme glides on as a thin liquid and dries down to a matte finish, which means it’s practically weightless.
Medium: Pat McGrath Lip Fetish Divinyl Lip Shine in Nude Venus
The slightly glossy and lightly pigmented Nude Venus shade of Pat McGrath’s Lip Fetish Divinyl Lip Shines couldn’t make a more perfect neutral pink for medium skin — take it from Cardi B, who wore it in her infamous “WAP” music video.
OK, so KKW Nude Crème Lipstick in 3.5 leans a little more into nude lipstick category than it does pink — still, with strong pink undertones and a super comfortable cream formula, we’d be downright silly not to give it an honorable mention.
Medium: Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Mousse in Seduction
A Best of Beauty-winning formula, Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Mousse matches even the most high-end lipsticks in terms of pigment, comfort, and overall quality. The shade Seduction might look like a warn nude at first glance, but its soft pink hue will be revealed the moment you swipe it onto your lips.
Light: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk
If you ask around long-term beauty aficionados, you’ll find that few lipstick shades get as much talk as Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Matte Revolution Lipstick (a Reader’s Choice Award winner). And it’s no wonder, considering how pretty this muted light-pink with peach undertones looks on fair skin.
Bobbi Brown’s Crushed Lip Color in Babe has subtle blue undertones, which pair perfectly with skin tones that have cool or neutral undertones. Even better, this balm-like formula contains reparative vitamin E for added nourishment.
Light: Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick in Honeymoon
When Huda Beauty named this lipstick formula Power Bullet Matte, it really was not kidding because this formula is as matte as they come — thankfully without sacrificing any comfort. The shade Honeymoon, above, gets its slightly dusky quality from cool lavender undertones.
Great makeup begins with great skincare. Prep your skin with CeraVe Moisturizer ($11; target.com), a lightweight daily moisturizer for normal to dry skin. Follow up with Estee Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer, ($38; nordstrom.com), a luminous face primer that hydrates and brightens skin for a dewy finish. The duo will ensure a flawless base that keeps makeup in place all day.
Concealer and Foundation
Beginners can eliminate the risk of caked-on foundation by adding an opaque concealer to their kit. L.A. Girl concealer’s ($3; walmart.com) creaseless formula camouflages imperfections, allowing you to use less foundation. When paired with Makeup Forever’s HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($43; sephora.com) no one will be able to tell where your skin ends and the makeup begins. Bonus: It lasts for 24 hours and comes in 50 shades.
Eyebrow Pomade and Spoolie Brush
Among the most important features on your face: Your eyebrows. Every beginner needs a tool like the dual-sided Anastasia Beverly Hills brush ($18; macys.com) to sculpt perfect arches. The brand’s Dipbrow Pomade ($21; sephora.com) is also a beginner favorite as it’s easy to apply, smudge-proof, and waterproof — so it’s great even for oily skin types.
Eyeliner and Mascara
For a beginner, skip the false lashes and go straight for an all-star mascara and liner combo. Tag-team Kat Von D Tattoo Liner ($20; sephora.com), which gives the illusion of thicker fringe, with a few swipes of Benefit’s They’re Real Lengthening Volumizing Mascara to add dramatic length ($25; sephora.com).
Nude and Red Lipstick
No kit is complete without a super versatile nude and red lip color that can take you from day to night. Try Chanel Rouge Coco Shine ($38; chanel.com) for a hydrating nude and MAC Lipstick ($17; maccosmetics.com) for a universally flattering bold red that stays put for hours.
Brushes and Tools
In order to put apply your makeup properly, you’ll need to use the right tools. The Beautyblender ($20; sephora.com) is perfect for effortlessly blending foundations, blush, and concealer. For precise eye makeup and dusting on powders reach for Sonia Kashuk’s brush set ($40; target.com).
Blush and Highlighter
Add healthy color and a subtle glow to your skin with a classic blush and highlighter. Nars and Becca have both created cult favorites that are must-haves for every kit. Nars Blush in Orgasm, $30; sephora.com. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, $41; sephora.com.
If you’re experimenting with eyeshadows, this Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette ($42; sephora.com) is perfect for you. It offers a range of everyday nudes, plus a hint of bright colors to play around with.
Q-Tips and Makeup Wipes
Even pros make mistakes — and dabbing a Q-Tip ($3; target.com) into lotion is their secret for instantly erasing errors. And for those nights when you’re too lazy to wash your face, makeup wipes will be your best friend. Try Cleanse by Lauren Napier ($40; net-a-porter.com), which comes with 50 individually packaged wipes you can throw in your travel bag to use on-the-go.
Of course, these are the basics to help get you started. The more you work, you will realize the need for more products, textures, and colours. Some additional items to this list include: