9 ways to dress up a nude lip

Neutral lips? Anything but boring

Beauty Crew Editor / January 19 2017

For most, a nude or neutral lip colour is associated with a low-key, no-fuss makeup look. It’s the your-lips-just-better finish that works for your weekend brunch plans as well as it does for those casual mid-week dinners with your girlfriends. 

But a nude lip isn’t just for those who prefer a subtle finish or a toned-down makeup look; it’s actually a great option for nighttime beauty looks, as well as for those glam special occasions. 

Here are nine ways you can dress up your nude lip.


A smoky eye

A nude lip is the perfect opportunity to opt for a smoky eye as dark and heavy as the one seen on Love, Rosie star Lily Collins. You can also add some radiance to your eye look by highlighting the inner corners of your eyes with a champagne-coloured eyeshadow or eyeliner.
Try: Lancôme Auda[City] Eyeshadow Palette

Lily Collins Smoky eye


A cat eye

Add an instant edge to your look by creating a striking cat eye, a la Jennifer Lawrence. To give your eyes instant lift, start by using a dark eyeshadow on your bottom lash line and flick up, then use a liquid or gel liner across the top to finish off the shape.
Try: Dior Addict It-Line Liquid Eyeliner

Jennifer Lawrence eye makeup


Coloured eyeshadow

You know what goes well with any eyeshadow colour imaginable? A nude lip. Go as crazy as you want with your coloured eye look without worrying that your lipstick shade will clash. The lilac hue Mila Kunis is wearing here is a great subtle option for those starting to test the waters with coloured eyeshadow (plus, the shade suits everyone), but if you want to find which eyeshadow will work best for you, click here.
Try: Rimmel London Glam Eyes HD Eyeshadow Quad in Victoria’s Purple

Mila Kunis eye makeup


Coloured eyeliner

If you’re not big on eyeshadow but like the idea of pairing your neutral lip look with a pop of colour, you can always opt for coloured eyeliner instead. For maximum impact, follow Rachel McAdams’ lead and skip the black liner on your bottom lash line, simply lining from corner to corner with your bright hue of choice.
Try: Bourjois Clubbing Waterproof Eye Pencil in Blue It

Rachel McAdams eye makeup


Bronze smoke

The cousin of the black smoky eye, this bronzed and gold-based eye look – seen here on the queen of bronze Jessica Alba – adds definition and boldness to eyes without the same level of intensity as a classic smoky eye, and is beautifully complemented by a soft nude lip.
Try: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting EyeShadow 5-Color Palette in Defiant Nude

Jessica Alba bronze eye makeup
TOP TIP: Finish off this look by applying a matte bronzer under your cheekbones for a soft contour.


Big lashes and defined brows

If you’re not really into eye makeup to give your eyes definition when dressing up a nude lip, you can always try enhancing your lashes and brows to give your look extra oomph. To get a sweeping flutter like Kim Kardashian, apply a few coats of a fibrelash mascara to give your lashes more length and definition, or you can always opt for a set of false lashes instead. As for your brows, it’s important to avoid drawing harsh, straight lines along the edges, and to rather maintain a softer finish.
Try: Model Rock Lashes in Miss Rosie

Kim Kardashian lashes


Super-defined eyes

The simplest eye look that will give maximum impact to a nude lip is a defined top and bottom lashline and lashings of mascara. And if you’ve got striking eyes like Margot Robbie, the extra definition will work wonders to make your eye colour stand out. A kohl pencil works best, as the formula is creamy and glides on easily to deposit colour, but if you tend to suffer from oily lids, a gel liner in pencil form can work wonders, too.
Try: Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner

Margot Robbie eye makeup
TOP TIP: If you’ve got small or narrow eyes, don’t line the entire length of your lash lines as this can make your eyes look smaller. Instead, line the outer half of both to give the illusion of bigger, rounder eyes.


A metallic finish

For a striking makeup look, take inspiration from Eva Longoria’s glossy-finish lip, and metallic eyeshadow-meets-winged-liner eye look. To achieve such a pigmented metallic finish, use a wet brush with your powder shadow to create that foil look. Start with an angled liner brush to create the wing shape, and then use an eyeshadow brush to fill in your lids. You can get some more metallic eye makeup inspiration here.
Try: L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Quad in Forever Bronze

Eva Longoria eye makeup


Contoured and highlighted

Dressing up a nude lip doesn’t always have to involve a striking eye look. Copy Gigi Hadid’s go-to bronzed and radiant beauty look by applying a warm bronzer to the underside of your cheekbones, and using a highlighter on the high points of your cheeks to give a sculpted, glowing finish.
Try: Maybelline New York Master Contour By Face Studio 10

Gigi Hadid contouring highlighting

Image credits: Getty

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.