MAC Lipstick Collection: Nudes on Tan Skin

MAC Nude lipstick on tan skin NC40 NC42 swatch comparison Kiinda Sexy Mehr Cherish Taupe Whirl Retro

I have a love/hate relationship with nude lipsticks. Ever since I bought one 5 years ago after being inspired by this photograph of Kim Kardashian, I’ve been extremely disappointed with how they end up looking on me. It took me a very long time to realize that nude lipsticks on fairer women look horrible on tan skinned individuals because you end up looking like a zombie or like Tyrone Biggums. However, I have come a long way since then and have found some nude lipsticks that finally work on me, but I also wanted to write about the ones that I wasn’t too crazy about either. So without further ado, I would like to present the ones I have acquired in my MAC lipstick collection.


MAC Lipstick Collection: Nudes on NC40 skin

mac lipstick collection: nudes MAC Nude lipstick on tan skin NC40 NC42 swatch comparison Kinda Sexy Mehr Cherish Taupe Whirl Retro MAC lip liner whirl stripdown soar

Kinda Sexy

Kinda Sexy is described as a “neutral pinky-rose” and has a matte formula, however on me, it pulls more like a warm, peachy nude shade. This shade is one of the ones that I wasn’t particularly a fan of. First of all, it applies very poorly and is quite drying. The lipstick does not glide evenly across my lips, leaving a streaks behind, and once I achieve the opacity I want, the lipstick settles into the lines on my lips. Secondly, I think the shade is a little too bright for my skin tone. I definitely have to use a lip liner with this shade whenever I use it (I used this lipstick with MAC’s Stripdown liner in the photo above) because if I don’t, it washes me out. I think this would be a great shade for anyone with a light to medium skin tone. If you have darker skin, I would highly suggest using a lip liner with this shade to tone down the lightness. Overall, this shade is just ok in my books, but it definitely isn’t one I reach for.


Mehr is described as a “dirty blue pink” and has a matte formula. Obviously, this one isn’t a classic nude shade, however I think it’s subtle enough for every day and just adds a nice pop of colour on days where you just want to keep things simple. This shade is one that I initially was not too crazy about. I kept seeing it on people who I shared similar skin tones with, and it looked quite nice, so I decided to give it a try even though I was aware that it was a cool-toned shade. I was very disappointed with the way it looked when I first tried it on since the coolness of the shade was not flattering on me at all, but later I decided to pair it with MAC’s Soar lip liner (combo pictured above) and now it’s one of my favourites. The combination of MAC’s Soar liner and Mehr makes the perfect shade of nude-ish pink. This specific shade is also one of the more hydrating mattes from MAC and is quite comfortable to wear.


Cherish is described as a “soft muted peachy-beige” and has a satin finish. This was my first nude lipstick that I bought from MAC, and I absolutely hate it. This shade is an example of a bad nude lipstick on my skin tone. It completely washes me out, and not even a lip liner can save it (combo with MAC Stripdown shown above). I also don’t like how the formula is quite streaky and settles into my lip lines. It could look great on individuals with a lighter skin tone and on people with naturally red/pink lips, but on me, it looks terrible.


Taupe is described as a “muted reddish-taupe brown” and has a matte formula. I stumbled upon this shade completely by accident after I went to buy MAC’s Velvet Teddy, realized it made me look like a corpse (similar to Cherish), and was recommended Taupe instead. Let me just say that this is probably one of my favourite lipsticks ever. It’s basically everything I expected Velvet Teddy to be, and is a nude lipstick that I could not recommend enough for people with tan to deep skin tones. Since it’s slightly deeper and has warm undertones, it doesn’t wash me out. The formula also is great despite being a matte lipstick. It isn’t drying in the slightest, glides on smoothly, and wears well throughout a long work day.


Whirl is described as a “dirty rose” and has a matte formula. I was super excited when this shade came out in a lipstick form since I am a huge fan of the lip liner, and it didn’t disappoint (combo with MAC’s Whirl lip liner shown above). Whirl reminds me of Taupe, however it is a touch cooler. I personally like it because it is very similar to the natural shade of my lips but gives it a little extra colour. The formula is a little drying, however I think it is much more comfortable to wear than filling in my lips with the Whirl lip liner and it has decent staying power.


Retro is described as a “muted peachy-pinky brown” and has a satin formula. This shade is, in my opinion, extremely underrated. It also isn’t a classic nude shade since it is a bit more vibrant, however I think it is a beautiful shade for days where you want some colour but also don’t want to over do it. I think this lipstick would work as a warm MLBB shade for individuals with deeper skin tones, but it also would be a gorgeous deep brick shade for individuals who are more fair. The formula is very hydrating and comfortable to wear, and it applies very smoothly and opaque. It does transfer more since it has a satin finish, however it leaves a light stain behind once it fades a bit.

That wraps up the nude lipsticks from my MAC collection!

What’s your favourite nude lipsticks from MAC? Let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “MAC Lipstick Collection: Nudes on Tan Skin

  1. I know exactly how you feel! I am NC40 and I have spend soooo long in Mac swatching like crazy to find a nude lipstick that looks as good as nude lipsticks do on fair skinned girls. I started to think it didn’t exist. The closest I have is Mac Freckle Tone. The colour is PERFECT as a peachy nude for our skin tone but it’s a Lustre so it’s not very opaque/pigmented. Once they bring out that same shade in matte, I will buy several haha

    I also feel the exact same way about Taupe. Taupe was the very first lippy I got from Mac and it is the best shade for NC40 girls! However it’s not the Kim K nude 😦

    Absolutely loved your post!


    1. I’ve heard about Freckletone but never got around to actually trying it. Thank you for the recommendation and the kind words!


  2. Well, I use NC25 and am a proud owner of Retro. It looks good on my skin and I like it but not a big fan because I think its a bit too loud for my everyday taste.
    When i was buying it, I first tried Mehr which I think didnt look good at all on me but after reading you, I would give it another try with the lip liner.
    The review helped. Hope I find my nude!
    Thanks a lot!


    1. Thanks for the read! As for an every day shade, I’ve heard Velvet Teddy is great shade for individuals within the NC25-NC30 range. It isn’t as red as Retro and has more brown undertones, but it could work on you! Good luck on your hunt 🙂


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