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05-24-13 | Posted by

There is no better time than summer to try out a nude makeup look. After all, it’s been a runway trend for years, and even lovers of the extreme like designers Versace and Alexander McQueen send models down the aisle with just a smudge of bare color. Great nude makeup looks start with fabulous, glowing skin.

But like all things simple, creating the right nude look to spotlight your assets can be tricky. Nude makeup goes far beyond pale foundation and beige eyeshadow; there is a whole array of neutrals to choose from. The goal is to create a youthful, fresh-faced appearance and you can’t do that with just one color. Find the right shades and textures—dewy, satin, matte—that make you look alive and not washed out. Contour and highlight your face with subtle blushes, bronzers, concealers, and highlighters to maximize your bone structure.

Choose lip, nail, and eye color shades that complement your natural undertones. It’s hard to generalize, but lighter skin tones tend to bloom with taupe-mauve and light brown shades, while darker skin tones will look naturally gorgeous with chocolate hues. But everybody is different, and even your hair color can require a makeup reassessment.

Luckily, some of our favorite color mavens—Bobbi Brown, Tom Ford, and Laura Mercier—have but together nude makeup collections for summer 2013.

From the master of neutral, the Bobbi Brown Nude Beach Collection is all about creating the relaxed, bronzed glow seen on faces at the beach. Start with Sunless Tanning Gel for Face & Body ($33), a non-greasy, oil-free formulation. After developing the right shade of self-tan, shape and contour cheekbones with Nude Beach Bronzing Duo ($42). The fun part starts with choosing one of three Sheer Color Cheek Tints ($26)—options include Summer Pink, Nude Beach or Sunlit Nude. Tube Tint ($19) is a lip-gloss that adds a hint of color, but oh so subtly. Choose from Air Kiss, Pink Cloud, Bronzed Pink, or Naked. For eyes, Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick ($28) in Golden Bronze and Sunlight Gold evoke a natural radiance that won’t melt away. Complete the look with Shimmer Nail Polish ($18) in Pink Pearl, the palest of pinks with just a drop of sparkle.

Designer Tom Ford likes to give women the option to go nude or colorful. His 2013 Summer Color Collection takes the neutral route with shades “created to capture a very particular look of skin that is bathed in sunset light in the summer,” said Ford. Create a natural glow with Skin Illuminator ($65) in Fire Dust, a peach-pink shade that seems to work with many skin tones. Sculpt cheeks with Illuminating Cheek Color ($58) in Bronzed Amber or Guilt to recreate the look of skin reflecting the soft light of dusk. For the most natural of sheens, Lip Lacquer ($30) in Pink Lust is a clear gloss with a hint of shimmer. Eyes will look as if they are casting a glow from within with Cream for Eyes ($40) in Escapade and Pink Haze. Both are non-creasing and long-wearing—perfect for summer. Nail Lacquer ($30) in Vapor is the most neutral of neutrals—white—enhanced by a silvery finish.

Makeup artist Laura Mercier’s extraordinary career (her A-list includes Madonna, Julia Roberts, and Sarah Jessica Parker) is anchored on creating the most beautiful and flawless complexions. Her primers, foundations, concealers, and eye color have all the necessary options to create a beautifully neutral canvas. But for summer, Laura Mercier Limited Edition shades include a range of specialized nudes for lips and tips. Lip Glace ($24) offers non-sticky shine in six neutrals that complement a range of skin tones. The shade names alone say natural; choose from Pout, Pink Diamond, Bare Baby, Bare Blush, Bare Beige, and Quartz. For nails, the Nail Lacquer ($18) options go from soft pale pink to deep coffee. All limited editions, the summer nude nail colors are Bare Angel, Bare Rose, Bare Haze, Bare Mocha, Cocoa Suede, and Bare Espresso.

Natural beauty may look effortless, but we all know that behind every apparently fresh washed face, there is a palette of magical neutrals.

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