A Makeup Artist's Guide: The Best Spring Nudes and Pastels for Women of Color

spring makeup women of color

Spring is upon us, and that means out with the old and in with the new! It also means updating your makeup collection.

For me, fall and spring have the best makeup trends. You get to shed dark brown and burgundy tones and put on bright nudes and pastels. But if you’re a woman of color, finding the perfect nude or colorful spring lip can be frustrating.

Even as a makeup artist, it took me years to find my perfect nude, “American Woman” ($26) by NARS. I swear if they ever discontinue it, there’ll be hell to pay. Not everyone wants to spend hours in a makeup store, only to leave annoyed. So, I compiled a list of my favorite nudes and brights for the spring season that are WOC-friendly.

1. Mented ( $16.50- $89)

Model (left) wearing Mented #5

Mented is a brand created for women of color by women of color. From lipstick, lip liner and even foundation, they got you covered. All of their lipsticks start at $16.50. The price obviously goes up if you want to get a bundle pack (you can get every nude for $89). The brand has options for those with a deep olive complexion to beautiful dark chocolate. If you can’t decide which nude is right for you, they have a “shade finder” section. My all-time favorite is Mented #5 ($16.50).

2. Beauty Bakerie ( $14-$20)

Model wearing Yogurt Berries

Just like Mented, Beauty Bakerie was created because there was an empty space in the beauty industry. Cashmere Nicole couldn’t find makeup that matched her daughter’s rich complexion, so she made her own. Bakerie has more of a variety when it comes to color. My favorite nude on tan-deep skin with a yellow undertone is “S’mores D’oeuvres” ($20). And on olive tones, “Cake d’Ivoire” ($14). If you want more of a bright pastel tone, “Yogurt Berries” ($20) is where it’s at. The lipsticks last all day, and that’s not an exaggeration. Use a makeup remover with an oil base to take the lippie off.

3. bareMinerals ($19-$20)

bareMinerals GEN NUDE Liquid Lip collection

bareMinerals has come a long way from buying TV time for infomercials to being one of the fastest-growing brands among millennial women. The first time I ever tried their lip products was when they launched their GEN NUDE Liquid Lip collection. I’m a medium-tan olive tone and “Friendship” ($19) is an absolute stunner. On deeper skin tones, it looks like a toned-down pastel. The best part about the collection is that it’s not uncomfortable to wear. It dries down to a matte finish, but your lips don’t feel like they’re screaming for moisture.

If traditional lipstick is more your style, check out the BAREPRO Longwear Lipstick line. They glide on easily and don’t bleed, so you won’t need a lip liner. “Cinnamon” ($20) and “Boysenberry” ($20) on deep-dark skin is to die for.

4. FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna ($18-$24)

Fenty Gloss Bomb in Fu$$y

What’s a list about WoC friendly makeup without FENTY? Literally, the amount of lip products I have from the line is a problem. The Fenty Gloss Bombs in ” Fu$$y” and “Fenty Glow” (both $18) look good on everybody. “Ballerina Blackout” ($18), a bright pink from the Mattemoiselle line is beautiful for spring. But, I’m a huge fan of her Stunna Lip Paints ($24). Three out of the eight shades are the perfect nudes for tan olive and dark skin.

Mine is “Uncuffed” ($24), it’s a beautiful rosy mauve that’s perfect for the spring. For tan-deep to deep-dark skin, try “Unveil“. It’s more of a chocolatey brown and model Duckie Thot was used for the campaign. It blended in with her skin tone flawlessly. Last is “Unbutton“. Some olive undertones can pull this off as a nude but for deeper olive tones and darker skin, this is more of a bright tone.

5. Maybelline ( $7.49)

Maybelline Lipsticks

Drugstore makeup is the hardest when it comes to finding the right shade. In most places, you can’t test them out before buying, so you’re left with a “maybe it will work, maybe it won’t” product. Recently, Maybelline came out with its “Made For All” lipstick. Usually, when a product says they’re “one size fits all”, ten times out of ten, they’re wrong. But Maybelline might be on to something. There are seven shades in total, and the brand claims they tried the lipstick on fifty different skin tones before launching. One of my favorite beauty gurus, Nyma Tang who’s known for her “darkest shade” videos tried all the colors; and every single one was perfect. The range has every color you would need for spring, my personal favorite is “Fuschia- For Me.” And at a little over $7, you might as well get every single color.

These are all just suggestions. Remember: makeup has no rules, so shine bright in whatever color your heart desires.

Femestella may make a small commission if you buy something we link to on this page. All product picks are made independently of outside influences and all opinions are our own.


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Alysia Stevenson
Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she's not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.