Worried that a neutral lipstick will wash out your look? Here’s 9 Beauty Panel tips on how to make a statement with neutrals

neutral lipstick

neutral lipstick

While summer definitely calls for brightly coloured lipsticks, sometimes it’s nice to tone down the drama and allow your natural beauty to shine. Looking to the 1990s for inspiration, many Spring 2013 runway shows featured minimalist beauty looks that truly made us envy simplistic style. From Alexander Wang to Balmain, fashion houses made the neutral look appear effortlessly chic.

To achieve the minimalist look, a neutral lipstick is essential—but how do you wear such a pale shade without washing out your entire face? It’s all in how you apply it. With the right colour and technique, a neutral lip colour can make a statement.

Not convinced? Let our Beauty Panel guide you. This week they’re sharing tips and tricks on how to choose and wear a perfect neutral lip colour—while ensuring that the rest of your look also stands out.

Challenge 21: What are your tips for choosing and wearing a neutral lip colour? See the answers now! »

When it comes to finding a neutral lip colour, Allison Elle’s Alison Leong teaches us to find our MLBB—which is “my lips but better”. The key to achieving the perfect neutral lip is to work with a shade within the similar colour family. Makeup By Tess’s Tess Lopez breaks it down and gives us tips on how to select what neutral shades work best with specific skin tones. And although you may be going au natural with your lips, it doesn’t mean the rest of your makeup needs to follow suit. While JJ Cowan from Secrets From Your Girlfriends suggests contrasting a neutral lip colour with darkened brows and lashes with more depth, My Beauty Box’s Ellie Somfelean considers playing up her eyes with pops of colour to balance out her neutral lipstick.

Have a beauty question you want to see the panel answer? Send it our way at beautypanel@fashionmagazine.com. Read on for the answers to this week’s challenge and for more goodness, get to know all contributors on our Beauty Panel hub page.


neutral lipstick

Gerry Xun
Vancouver | The Bunnie Hole

I see a neutral lip combo as the ultimate go with everything accessory to my beauty wardrobe. While ever so popular, this trend is often one of the hardest to pull off if you’re not a Versace model. Everyone has their perfect nude lip so here are my tips on finding and wearing yours.
Consider the term “neutral” to be a spectrum and not singular shade, it can range from white beige to a saturated rose and it has a lot to do with your natural colouring. It’s much easier to wear a shade which pulls a little pink, peach or mauve and avoid those with a white or very light pastel base as they tend to look ashy and can draw attention to dry lips.
With a satin finish liquid concealer, smooth around your lip line to neutralize any natural darkness in this area, especially the corners of the mouth. A nude lip should still have dimension so create that perfect pout by drawing around the perimeter with a creamy lip pencil slightly darker than your nude lipstick. Blend the edges inwards. For a bit of shine and colour in one swipe, go with a satin finish neutral lipstick to complete your voluptuous nude lip dream.

Products used: Dollywink Concealer in “#01,” Boots No.7 Lip Pencil in “#20 Nude,” Essence Lipstick in “#52 In the Nude”

neutral lipstick

Alison Leong
Vancouver | Alison*Elle

The key to choosing a neutral lipstick that flatters your skin tone is to find your “My Lips But Better” (MLBB) shade. Basically, you’re looking for something that mimics your natural lip colour which enhancing it at the same time. My lips are quite pigmented, so my MLBB lipsticks usually contain pink and brown tones. As long as you’re working in a similar colour family, you can customize your lipstick to suit. For example, if you have a lipstick that’s a little darker than your MLBB and you want to neutralize it, simply apply a lighter lipgloss to de-intensify the colour. Same thing goes for lighter lippies; just apply a slighter darker lipgloss and you’re good to go!

Products used: M.A.C Cosmetics Mineralize Rich Lipstick in “Glamour Era,” Nyx Butter Gloss in “Maple Blondie”

neutral lipstick

Shayna Wiwierski
Winnipeg | A Pop of Colour

When it comes to sporting a nude look, there is a fine line between looking fab and looking drab.

Although I do own some “concealer nude” lippies (ahem, M.A.C’s “Myth”), I often reach for nudes that have pink undertones to them.  You are still rocking a nude lip, but it doesn’t give you that corpse look that some nudes can end up looking like.

I love going “nude” by sporting a darker eye and some serious contouring.  Bronzer is a must-have for this look as without it, your face can end up being the same colour from the eyes down.  You want to create dimension to the overall picture, not wash you out.  This is also why a pinky-nude works; this shade still gives you that au naturel effect, but adds some colour there so people know you still have lips.

Products used: Occ Lip Tar in “Hush,” Nars Eyeshadow Palette in “Cordura,” Sephora x Pantone Universe Light Storm Liquid Shadow in “Caramel Cream”

neutral lipstick

Tess Lopez
Toronto | Makeup By Tess

Wearing a nude lip is a great compliment to a smoky eye. But choosing the right nude lip shade can be a little tricky. A nude shade for you may not be the same nude shade as your best friend. It’s all about complimenting your skin tone. There are hundreds of nude shades out there to suit each person’s skin tone. But if the wrong shade is chosen, you could look washed out.

Here are a few tips on how to choose & wear the perfect nude lip shade:
– If you are fair-skinned, choose shades that have a soft pink-beige undertone.
– If you are medium to olive skinned, choose a rose-pink-beige or peach undertone.
– If you are dark-skinned, choose a caramel/bronze or berry undertone.
– Don’t choose a shade that is lighter than your skin colour. This can give you a washed out appearance.
– If you find that your lip pigmentation can be a bit uneven or dark, you can always neutralize it by first applying concealer (same colour as your skin) to your lips as a base before applying the lipstick.
– When wearing a nude lip, wear blush to help brighten up the face.

I have medium to olive skin. One of my favourite nude lipsticks is Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté – Silky Sensual Radiant Lipstick SPF 15 in “#3 (Ultimate Beige).” It has a rosy, mauve undertone to compliment my skin. Hope my tips help! Good luck!

Products used: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Silky Sensual Radiant Lipstick SPF 15 in “Ultimate Beige (#3)”

neutral lipstick

JJ Cowan
Toronto | Secrets From Your Girlfriends

It is no secret that I love my lipstick, preferably those shades that are in the bright and matte family but I was not always a supporter of this specific lip look. I actually started my lipstick obsession with neutral shades, a period in my make-up life that taught me the power of a pale lip and its ability to make a statement. I have never worn a lot of make-up and this fact alone puts extra importance on those staple pieces that make their way into my lipstick rotation. So, I feel that I am a bit of an expert when pairing a pale shade of lipstick with my overall look to get maximum impact.

Important things to note when going the muted route with your lips is that you need to off set this look with a bold eye. This is not to suggest that a smoky eye is needed but rather more depth created simply by penciling in your brows or using an extra coat of mascara will do. Also, try a light peach cheek color to brighten you up as to avoid drowning in your fresh pale lip color.

Products used: Nars Matte Lip Stick Bangkok, Nars Orgasm Check Blush, Benefit They’re Real Mascara

neutral lipstick

Ellie Somfelean
Montreal | My Beauty Box

I always reach for a nude lipstick whenever I decide to play up my eyes. It adds an element of balance without washing me out. I often opt for bright eyeliners during the summer to add some colour and fun to my look and a neutral lip is easy to maintain in the scorching summer heat.

I like to blot my lips with foundation as a primer and then add a lip liner to define my lips and ensure the colour is going to last. I generally tend to go for moisturizing formulas in my nude lipsticks, as it can be unforgiving in settling in lines and emphasizing dry spots. It’s a good idea to exfoliate and moisturize prior to application of the lipstick.  Another good idea is to add a lip butter or pink gloss on top of your nude lipstick to help give it some dimension and make it look less flat. An orange gloss will help add some life to your lips and is especially useful if your have a warm complexion and nude lips make you look flat and sickly. 

neutral lipstick

Aleeza Agno
Toronto | Stylish & Literate

A neutral lip is so versatile. It’s a simple everyday colour and it’s the perfect balance when rocking a dramatic eye. 

To create a wearable nude lip, I like to start by lining and filling my lips with a neutral lip liner. The lip liner will help keep the lipstick in place and help with longevity. Then I apply a sheer warm nude lipstick. The sheer finish gives a soft and subtle look. Lastly, I top it off with a nude lipgloss for added shine—my favourite neutral lip combination for day or night.

Products used: Cover Girl Lip Perfection Liner in “Seduce,” Burberry Lip Mist in “Copper,” Burberry Lip Glow in “Nude Beige”

neutral lipstick

Janella Panchamsingh
Toronto | Bold n Beautiful Makeup

Picking a neutral lip can sometimes be daunting. Many of us want a neutral lip but don’t know what shade of nude to go for. I like to pair my nude lips with a pinkish-nude lip liner and a lipstick that is just a mix between a nude peach and nude-beige.
Here is how I apply my neutral lipstick:
Step 1: Line lips with liner and then fill in your lips entirely
Step 2: Fill in lips with lipstick. (If you are using s lipstick that has a gloss finish, blot with a tissue to keep it from looking too goopy.)
Products used: Urban Decay lip liner in “Illegal,” Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in “#23”

neutral lipstick

Marilou Moles
Ottawa | Twenty York Street

Unless you have a barrage of paparazzi with high tech cameras on a red carpet, nude lips or nude make-up for that matter tend to look washed up in photos. Although statement nude lips can be very sexy or sweetly subtle, there are definitely a few tips to keep in mind!
First of all, think about the contrast with your eye make-up then make sure to line your lips with a deeper nude tone lip pencil and then blend the lipstick on top so the lip liner doesn’t look too dark against your natural lip line. Too matte would look too ghastly so think about incorporating a bit of sheen, like a hint of peach or a touch of pink. Add just a little shimmer to highlight the center of your bottom lip et voila!  A statement nude lips that’s perfect for this summer!
Products used: Thann Anti-Aging Face Cream, Almay’s New CC Cream, Maybelline The Rocket Volume Express, Puppa Diva Lashes, L’Oréal Paris in “Fairest Nude (800),” Rimmel Lip Liner Exaggerate in “Innocent (032),” Lasting Finish Lipstick in “Crush (202)”