I Traded Matte Lipstick For Nude Lip Gloss — & Have No Regrets


I’m a beauty editor and a lifelong lover of all aspects of the field. And by lifelong, I’m not exaggerating: all of my childhood holiday wish-lists included some sort of 72-piece kiddy makeup bag. While in my teens, I spent weekends examining every single perfume ad and glossy editorial in my favorite magazines, instead of reading Judy Blume novels. I always requested my mom drop me off at the cosmetics aisle at Wal-Mart, where I’d happily swatch foundations that were far too light for my complexion. And once I saved up enough allowance money, I’d return to that very store to cash out on the best Lip Smacker tubes that money could buy.

Obviously, I love beauty. I just don't have the heart — or patience — to do my makeup every. Single. Day. I can color correct, conceal, put on foundation, and do my highlight. I have my brow technique down pat, too, since bushy, brushed-up arches are still very much a thing. On most mornings, I would typically skip all of the above and go straight to my lipstick... the ultimate cheat code. (I’m very much a matte girl, and have always preferred the liquid variations as opposed to the traditional bullet.)

And with innovations like curved and angled applicators, applying a liquid lipstick should be simple. Operative word being “should.” My hands are really shaky, so I always go outside of the line while putting my lip on. Lip brushes and angled Q-tips help, and a little bit of concealer can go a long way, but I'm just far too impatient to fiddle around with those tools, especially on a busy morning.

For a long time, lipstick pulled my look together when the rest of my makeup was meh. I'd always choose bright reds, purples, and pinks to light my face up, and found joy in testing out formulas to see if they'd last throughout my entire day.

I still perk up at the news of exciting new shades, but actually wearing them these days is a rarity — I've traded up for gloss. Nude glosses, to be exact. A few years ago, quality nude lip products for darker skin tones were few and far in between, generally because the industry didn't understand that flesh tones aren't one-size-fits-all.

Khalea Underwood

There were times when I'd leave the cosmetics aisle near tears because I couldn't find a shade that matched. Now, thanks to brands like Pat McGrath and Mented Cosmetics, I'm included in the conversation — and get to shave off so much time from my morning routine. Read ahead to see the ones I haven't stopped wearing this summer (and will probably be bringing with me this fall, too).

LUST: Lip Gloss in Flesh 4


Pat McGrath Labs

Leave it to the Mother of makeup to create a gorgeous, high-shine shade that looks good on pretty much everyone (seriously, I know at least three beauty editors of varying shades who love Flesh 4 just as much as I do).

Glow Lip Gloss in Chocolate Geode



After Becca released its game-changing Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Chocolate Geode (a beautiful chocolate brown), the brand followed up with its counterpart in gloss form. I reach for this shimmery tube when I want to stand out on a night out.

Gloss For Grown Ups in Baby Brown


Mented Cosmetics

Mented — a Black-owned brand — has products that look chic, feel amazing, and have a genuine intention of catering to everyone.

Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer


Fenty Beauty By Rihanna

Thank you, Rihanna. This gloss also looks good on most everyone, everywhere.

French Press Lip Gloss in Black Coffee


Bite Beauty

Skip your Starbucks run and swipe on Bite's insanely rich offering, boosted with coffee butters and yummy notes of mocha. (So, yes: It really does taste like a latte.)

Ms. Independent Lip Gloss


The Lip Bar

The Lip Bar, another Black-owned brand that gets nudes right, describes Ms. Independent as an "organic brown" on its site — no frills or sparkles, just pure pigment.

Lip Lingerie Gloss in Maison


NYX Cosmetics

A chocolatey brown like Maison would go well with a pure gold highlighter.

Lip Gloss in Tara


Anastasia Beverly Hills

The reddish undertones in a shade like Tara complement a variety of brown skin tones.

Lacquerink Lip Shine in 308 Patent Plum



OK, OK: This one's a bit of a curveball, but makeup artist Ayende Castro once told Refinery29 that plum shades can align with the natural color of your lips if you have a deep complexion.

Full-On™ Plumping Lip Polish Gloss in Sarina



The vitamin A and E in this formula moisturizes, while the glittery pearl finish provides a shine you can spot from Mars. In a good way.