Nicely Nude

International make-up artist Christine Lucignano gives a masterclass in creating the perfect nude lip.

Nudes - everyone thinks they're the easy option, but really, there's more at play in creating a super-slick nude lip than with any other colour. The fundamental idea is to create an effect that is like our natural lip tone, perhaps a little lighter, so the eyes can be the star of the show. But before even going near a bullet, there are three fundamental things to consider, and all focus around the best product for the job.

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Firstly, in selecting the right product and shade, you've got to think of tone ... that of your skin, and crucially here, your lips. Nude lips aren't like red ones, where the right shade is in direct accordance to your skin tone. Here, the underbase of your lips can make or break the finished result. Think about it - most young, Irish lips have a sort of blue underbase. Top that with the wrong nude, and you'll end up with a mouth that looks like a bruise. The solution is to head to the make-up counter and get fussy. Apply a tiny bit of sheer, water- based foundation to the lip area and try some shades.

Nude lipsticks have either pinky or peachy tones, both with a bit of brown in the mix to neutralise the colour. Most Irish gals correctly veer towards pink (and remember, peach brings out the yellow in teeth), but seeing is believing, so try, try, try. Good lip condition is vital for pretty, fleshy nudes. Invest in a great lip exfoliator to buff away dead skin. I think the Sugar Lip Polish from Fresh (?24 at fresh.com) is fantastic, as are the cute Clinique Sweet Pots - one side is an exfoliator, the other tinted balm. Then, when applying make-up, prep lips with a great lip-specific moisturiser, and give it time to sink in. I love Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, as it's so reparative.

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The shade of lippie you choose is crucial - how light or deep you decide to go, from angelic icy latte to the flush berry-toned browns. This is a highly individual thing and requires time at the beauty counter because one dame's perfect nude is another's sickly concealer- looking lip. Finally, when it comes to product selection, it's all about finish: Are you a matte madam, creamy maiden, pearly queen, glossy gal, or all about sheen? There are thousands of permutations and options. I know everyone's all about the Kylie Jenner total cover-up, but if you're going for such a matte, chalky effect, this will become the star of the show, so adjust the rest of your maquillage accordingly. And beware: more than any other texture, matte nudes can lead to cadaver-concealer faces - great on Insta, slightly scary in Starbucks.

One last tip for great nude lips - use a liner. Choose a shade that is close in tone to your lipstick; I love both Clarins? and Kevin Aucoin's selections. Unlike other lip colours, apply after you've put on lipstick, to finish and define. Mwah!

This article is in the May issue of IMAGE, on shelves now.

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