How To Get a Nude Makeup Look in 5 Easy Steps

June 06, 2024
By: Clare Holden | by L'Oréal

If one beauty rule is certain, it’s that nude makeup will never go out of style. A nude makeup look is versatile, suitable for any occasion, and has an effortlessly chic vibe that’s hard to beat. Plus, neutral makeup—think soft browns and taupes—tends to be a bit more forgiving than bolder shades, making them great for beginners to work with.

Whether you favor barely-there makeup or want to put a neutral spin on your go-to glam, keep reading. Ahead, we’re sharing a simple five-step nude makeup tutorial that we created with the help of pro makeup artist Sadhvi Babu. You’ll also find plenty of tips, product recommendations, and nude makeup ideas to inspire your next look.

How To Create a Flattering Nude Makeup Look

Step 1: Apply your base

This easy nude makeup look starts the same way most makeup looks do: with a smooth, even base. We recommend selecting a foundation based on the coverage and finish of the formula: dewy, natural, or matte.

Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Natural Glow Foundation

If you tend to gravitate toward dewy makeup, try Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Natural Glow Foundation. The hydrating formula comes in 40 medium-coverage shades that help blur imperfections while infusing skin with a subtle, lit-from-within glow.

IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Full-Coverage Foundation with SPF 50+

For a your-skin-but-better look, try IT Cosmetics’ beloved CC+ cream. It offers full coverage to help camouflage redness, discoloration, and other imperfections and feels lightweight and hydrating on the skin. Plus, it features broad-spectrum SPF 50+ to help shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder

Those who favor a shine-free base would do well to try L’Oréal Paris’ pressed powder foundation. The matte formula is waterproof, heatproof, sweatproof, and oil-free and keeps your skin looking fresh for up to 24 hours.

Step 2: Sweep on a neutral eyeshadow

Next, apply a neutral shadow all over the lids, going from the inner corners to the outer corners and blending it into the crease. The color you use for your nude eyeshadow look will depend on your skin tone—we suggest opting for lighter hues like beige or sand if you have fair skin, mid-toned hues like taupe or terracotta if you have medium skin, and darker brown shades like chocolate if you have deep skin. Find a few of our favorite nude eyeshadow palettes below.

NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Shadow Palette in Warm Neutrals

This pro-level palette features 16 warm-toned neutral shadows in matte, shimmer, and metallic finishes. For a subtle nude makeup look, we recommend sticking to the mattes. If you’re looking to level it up a touch, consider adding some shimmer to your inner corners and brow bone in lieu of highlighter.

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay’s iconic Naked palettes are practically synonymous with nude eye makeup. While there are a few different variations on the classic palette, we love the Naked2 Basics palette, as it includes six creamy matte nude shades to complement an array of skin tones and undertones.

Lancôme Hypnôse 5-Color Eyeshadow Palette in Taupe Craze

The nudes and browns on the Hypnôse 5-Color Eyeshadow Palette are also pretty options for an understated eye makeup look. These versatile shades are appropriate for day or night, and the subtle pink undertones can help keep your nude makeup look from appearing too monotone.

Step 3: Define your eyes with eyeliner

For a barely-there look, use a medium-brown eye pencil to create a thin line of color on the upper lash line. You can also lightly smudge the eyeliner with a brush for a softer effect. If you prefer a more dramatic, defined look, use a black liquid liner on your upper lash line instead (see a few of our favorites here)

Maybelline New York Tattoo Studio Long-Lasting Sharpenable Eyeliner Pencil in Smooth Walnut

We love this drugstore eyeliner for its intense pigmentation, easy application, and long-lasting wear (up to 36 hours!). The gel formula is also waterproof, budge-resistant, and smudge-resistant, so once you apply it, you don’t have to worry about touchups.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in Bourbon

If you want to spice up your nude eye look, consider reaching for a shimmery brown eyeliner. We love this warm-toned pick from Urban Decay because it’s waterproof, smudge-proof, and long-lasting, and the metallic finish is subtle enough to not overpower your look.

NYX Professional Makeup Vivid Rich Mechanical Pencil in Truffle Diamond

It can be tricky to choose between brown and black eyeliner, but you may not have to. This creamy gel eyeliner offers the best of both words, with a deep, brown-black finish perfect for a defined yet understated neutral makeup look.

Step 4: Apply mascara

To further define your eyes and bring your eye makeup together, apply one to two coats of a volumizing mascara. A brown mascara is great for a softer, subtler effect, while black helps add a touch of drama to your simple nude makeup look.

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Panorama Washable Mascara

This drugstore mascara features a unique multi-level bristle brush that easily grabs and coats each lash. Swipe it onto your upper lashes for corner-to-corner volume that stays put for up to 24 hours—no smudging, flaking, or clumping.

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara

Thicker, fuller-looking lashes are within reach with this volumizing mascara, which features a 2% Bonding Complex and Onyx pigments for intense color payoff. Wear it on its own for bold, defined lashes, or pair it with the brand’s Cils Booster XL Enhancing Lash & Mascara Primer for an ultra-voluminous look that wears up to 24 hours.

YSL Beauty Lash Clash Extreme Volume Mascara

This ultra-pigmented, inky blank mascara instantly amps up the drama of any makeup look. The conical brush ensures that your lashes are evenly coated with just one swipe, though you can build the intensity with more strokes depending on how much volume you’re going for.

Step 5: Finish it off with a nude lip

The perfect complement to a neutral makeup look? A classic nude lip, of course. To keep yours intact, we recommend first lining your lips with a nude lip liner, then filling them in with the lipstick (or gloss) of your choice. Find a few of our favorites below.

Valentino Beauty Rosso Valentino Refillable Lipstick

This creamy lipstick from Valentino packs a pigmented punch without feeling too heavy or drying on your lips. While the vivid reds and pinks are stunning, there are also a handful of pinky nudes perfect for your nude makeup look. Try Falling for Nude if you have fair skin or Blushing Nude if you’re deeper-toned.

L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick

This creamy lipstick feels nourishing on the lips, thanks to a formula that contains 75% caring ingredients, including Argan oil and vitamin E. Swipe on one of the pinkish-nude shades (we love Toasted Almond and Worth It Medium) to give your lips a wash of color with a flattering, satiny finish.

Giorgio Armani Beauty Prisma Glass Lip Gloss

If you want shine without too much additional color, reach for this luxe gloss. It contains 15% squalane and helps hydrate the lips while coating them in an intense, glass-like shine. We love each of the seven shades, but the peachy nude Honey Gleam is our pick for a glowy and understated neutral makeup look.

3 Easy Neutral Makeup Looks to Try

A lot of people mistakenly inflate “neutral” with “boring,” but we’d argue that well-executed nude makeup is anything but boring. It’s chic, timeless, and offers plenty of opportunity to experiment with different hues and finishes. Here, we’re sharing three takes on the trend we love and find ourselves coming back to time and time again.

Glowy and fresh nude makeup look

This barely-there makeup look leaves you looking fresh-faced and radiant, and it’s so simple to achieve. To start, apply a light layer of L’Oréal Paris Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer to your face and neck for a hint of coverage with a gorgeous, luminous finish. Skip the foundation—you don’t need it—and instead, add a bit of color to your face by dabbing a cream blush onto the apples of your cheeks. Next, use your fingers to swipe a shimmery golden eyeshadow like Urban Decay 24/7 Moondust Glitter Eyeshadow Singles in Wild Dipper onto your lids and finish your understated look off with a nourishing lip oil for shine and all-day hydration.

Defined nude eye look

This look is a more elevated take on minimalist beauty. The contrast between a barely-there base and smoldering, defined eyes adds interest and helps keep your nude makeup look from appearing one-dimensional (it’s also a great way to make the trend night out-appropriate).

To create it, follow the same basic tutorial as outlined above for your base makeup. Then, pat a shimmery silver or taupe shadow onto your upper lids. For added dimension, you can also apply a bit of the shadow to your lower lash line—just try to keep it as close to your lashes as possible. Complete the look by lining your upper and lower waterlines with a waterproof black eyeliner pencil. We’re fans of NYX Professional Makeup Epic Wear Waterproof Eyeliner Stick in Pitch Black, as it glides on effortlessly and provides up to 36 hours of smudge-proof, fade-proof wear.

Matte nude makeup look

Dewy makeup looks fresh and effortless, but matte makeup looks glam—even when the actual look is fairly minimalist. To achieve this velvety and soft neutral makeup look, start by evening out your skin with a full-coverage, matte finish foundation like Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation, which is waterproof, sweatproof, and wears up to 24 hours. Then, use a fluffy brush to dust a matte bronzer like NYX Professional Makeup Buttermelt Bronzer onto areas the sun would naturally hit (namely: the bridge of your nose, along your hairline, and the tops of your cheekbones). If you want to define your eyes, you can also apply some bronzer to your lids for a cool monochrome effect. Add mascara, then finish off your look with a pinkish-nude matte lipstick. Try L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Resistance Liquid Lipstick in Worth It if you have fairer skin or Lazy Sunday if your complexion is deeper.

Next Up: Love Glass Skin? Here’s How To Get Glass Lips