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Best MAC Nude Lipsticks for Every Skin Tone in 2023

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

For many, MAC nude lipsticks are like the Holy Grail of nude lipsticks. The brand has historically catered to a wide array of skin tones, and many of its lipstick formulas can improve lip health. 

MAC offers a multitude of finishes to choose from when you’re in the mood to wear nude lipstick. No matter your skin tone, you can rock a nude lip — this subtle hue is perfect for a no-makeup makeup look. 

While some brands limit nude shades to traditional beige or barely-there pink hues, the truth is that what can be considered nude will vary depending on your skin tone. While those with fair skin may find better luck with traditional beige or taupe hues, those with darker skin may opt for mauve or dusty rose shades. Those with cool skin tones might want to try a nude with pink or purple undertones, while warmer skin tones should opt for golden or peach undertones.

We’ve rounded up the top 10 MAC nude lipsticks for a wide range of skin tones that can complement your features with a subtle lip look.

Best MAC nude lipsticks overview:

How we chose the best MAC nude lipsticks for every skin tone

To compile this list, we researched dozens of nude lipsticks and narrowed down our favorites for various skin tones. We considered manufacturer specifications, including the formula, longevity, color profile, price, and more, to ensure we provide the top nude lipsticks across various categories. We also combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews by seasoned users to determine the best MAC nude lipstick for each category. 

Our picks for the best MAC nude lipstick

Best overall
MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Bronx

What we love

  • 8-hour wear
  • Non-feathering and fade-proof
  • Matte finish

What we don’t love

  • May look frosty on deeper skin tones

MAC’s matte lipstick in the Bronx color is the creamy nude of your dreams if you’re looking for long-lasting golden-kissed taupe. The matte formula is smooth, rich, and non-shiny — perfect for those looking for a nude color that’s slightly more than subtle and has a hint of light brown.

But while it looks more neutral on fairer skin tones, it may appear a bit frosty or ashen on deeper skin tones. Our favorite part about this MAC nude lipstick is that it isn’t drying, so you can enjoy the color and finish without discomfort. In fact, we absolutely love the non-drying feature of MAC lipsticks.

Finish: Matte | Coverage: Full | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: 8 hrs. | Color profile: Muted, golden taupe

Best sheer
MAC Lustreglass Sheer-Shine in Hug Me

What we love

  • Universally flattering
  • Hydrating formula
  • 8-hr. long-lasting formula (6 hrs. of shine)

What we don’t love

  • Texture is more of a tinted balm

This MAC lipstick in the Hug Me color is a buildable pink-toned nude shade. The finish is lustrous but sheer, while the formula is lightweight and glides on for customizable coverage. Ingredients like olive fruit oil and raspberry seed oil work to soften and soothe the lips.

Several reviews noted that the formula has changed over time and is more of a moisturizing balm than an actual lipstick. Yet this is still a nude shade that’s generally flattering across the board, looking lush on both fair and deep skin tones.

Finish: Sheer | Coverage: Sheer | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: 8 hrs. | Color Profile: Dusty mauve shimmer

Best satin finish
MAC Satin Lipstick in Cherish

What we love

  • Low-shine satin formula
  • Weightless feel
  • Medium, buildable coverage

What we don’t love

  • May not be as flattering on very deep skin tones
  • Not long-lasting

One of the best MAC nude lipstick colors, Cherish, is essentially the love child of a peach-tinted and beige-toned nude. The coverage is buildable and features a soft, creamy feel. The satin finish provides just enough shine for a beautifully toned nude that’s not meant to fly completely underneath the radar. 

However, this lipstick isn’t long-lasting, and while it’s ideal for fair to medium-deep skin tones, it may appear a bit ashen on extra-deep skin tones if worn by itself. But that shouldn’t stop you! You can still rock it by pairing it with a warm brown lip liner to create a believable neutral effect.

Finish: Satin | Coverage: Medium | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: No | Color profile: Soft peachy-beige

Best shimmer
MAC Frost Lipstick in Gel

What we love

  • Pearlescent-shimmer finish
  • Its warmer undertones work especially well with deeper skin tones
  • Medium, buildable coverage

What we don’t love

  • Not long-lasting
  • May not be as comfortable of a wear without priming lips first

The classic MAC lipstick can’t be left off of this list. If you love the idea of a nude but want something with just a bit more pizzazz, you’ll appreciate MAC’s Frost Lipstick in the color Gel. Technically, it’s more of a warm golden hue than what would traditionally be considered nude. 

But this pearly golden tone plays well with a wide range of skin tones. It’ll appear a bit more like a spiced pumpkin shade on fairer skin tones and warm-toned gold on deeper ones. This is a great go-to color for everyday wear, thanks to its pearlescent effect and medium, buildable coverage.

Formula: Pearlescent lipstick | Coverage: Medium | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: No | Color profile: Sheer metallic beige

Best cream matte
MAC Matte Lipstick in Whirl

What we like

  • Universally flattering
  • 10-hr. wear
  • Cream matte, non-feathering formula

What we don’t like

  • Not an authentic ultra-matte finish

We’re suckers for a lippie that’s genuinely universally flattering. And you’ll get that with MAC’s Matte Lipstick in Whirl. The Matte Lipstick is one of the OG products that has reached cult-fave status because it features a hydrating formula and offers 10 hours of longwear coverage. While Dirty Rose does appear darker on fairer skin tones, it provides a true nude effect on deeper ones. 

It’s important to note, though, that if you only associate matte with the ultra-matte liquid lipsticks that had us all in a chokehold during the mid-2010s, this isn’t it. It’s a traditional matte — meaning it’s not high shine — but it’s not entirely devoid of light reflection.

Finish: Cream matte | Coverage: Medium | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: 10 hrs. | Color Profile: Dirty rose

Best true matte
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Burnt Spice

What we love

  • Full matte coverage
  • Super pigmented
  • 8-hr. wear

What we don’t love

  • Formula may feel drying if lips aren’t prepped
  • Liquid formula takes time to dry

Liquid lipsticks have held a place in our hearts for quite some time, and MAC’s Retro Matte collection is a fan favorite for many. If you’re the type who can’t imagine rocking anything other than a true matte lip, the MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour collection should be in your makeup vanity. 

In particular, we’re fans of the Burnt Spice shade because it’s a MAC nude lipstick with fairly broad skin tone compatibility. It’s a versatile, rose-toned shade that offers a velvety finish. Just be aware that liquid matte formulas tend to be drying. So, prepping your lips with a hydrating primer is always a good idea.

Formula: Liquid matte lipstick | Coverage: Full | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: 8 hrs. | Color Profile: Creamy dirty rose

Best hydrating liquid
MAC Love Me Liquid Lipcolor in Feel Me

What we love

  • 12-hr. wear
  • Hydrating formula with argan oil and shea butter
  • Satin finish

What we don’t love

  • Not transfer-proof
  • Thick formula

Although liquid lipsticks are traditionally made with an ultra-matte texture, it’s possible to find a good hydrating option. The MAC Love Me Liquid Lipcolor in Feel Me is a deep nude that’s incredibly hydrating.

The liquid formula is made with argan oil and shea butter for that extra punch of hydration and offers a satin, low-luster finish. Plus, the 12-hour wear formula will last all day.

Formula: Liquid satin lipstick | Coverage: Full | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: 12 hrs. | Color profile: Yellow greyed nude

Best long-lasting
MAC Powder Kiss Velvet Blur Slim Stick in Stay Curious

What we love

  • 12-hr. wear
  • Velvet satin finish
  • Improves look and feel of lips

What we don’t love

  • Advertised as matte but not a true matte
  • Color payoff not be as bold as other MAC formulas

There’s something alluring about a slim lipstick. This is a solid pick If you’re looking for a slim tube nude that’s hydrating but also has a bit of a matte finish. While it can work as a bolder shade for fairer skin tones, Stay Curious is a versatile nude, meaning it’s also a gorgeous neutral shade for deeper tones. 

Along with lasting 12 hours, this feather-proof, crease-resistant product can improve the look and feel of your lips. The slim stick offers a velvety finish but is hydrating thanks to the infusion of moisture-rich ingredients. While the brand promises full coverage in a single swipe, some reviewers noted that the color was sheerer than competitor brands.

Formula: Satin matte | Coverage: Medium | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: 12 hrs. | Color profile: Pinky red

Best customizable
MAC Kiss It Twice Powder Kiss Liquid Duo in Bestsellers

What we love

  • 2-pack of liquid lip colors that can be blended for the ultimate unique look
  • Moisture-matte texture
  • 10-hr. wear

What we don’t love

  • Not an authentic matte finish
  • Not transfer-proof

This two-piece set of non-drying, liquid matte shades from MAC offers the best of both worlds. The Kiss It Twice Powder Kiss Liquid Duo set in the Bestsellers pairing incorporates two colors: Fashion Sweetie and Mull It Over. While Fashion Sweetie is a berry shade, you’ll get a pinkier nude shade with the Mull It Over color.

One of our favorite parts about this set is that it’s highly customizable — blend the two shades to create something unique to complement your skin tone perfectly. These liquid lips are hydrating and actually offer a low-luster finish rather than a true matte. The set also offers 10 hours of long-lasting color.

Formula: Moisturizing soft matte | Coverage: Sheer | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: 10 hrs. | Color profile: Berry red and mid-tone pink nude

Best palette
MAC Pro Lip Palette in 6 Modern Browns

What we love

  • Wide range of color options
  • Allows for customizable colors
  • Slim, travel-friendly set

What we don’t love

  • Application brushes/tools not included
  • May be intimidating for beginners

If you’re not afraid to go off-script, this Pro Lip Palette from MAC is here to give you plenty of inspiration and versatility. With six fun brown nude hues to choose from, you can opt to wear each color by itself or blend multiple shades together for a custom look that perfectly complements your skin tone. 

This palette offers a range of finishes from satin to shimmer, and it’s small enough to take on the go.

Formula: Shimmer, satin, matte, semi-gloss | Coverage: Sheer | Paraben-free: Yes | Long-lasting: No | Color: Browns

Is MAC a cruelty-free and vegan brand?

MAC doesn’t test on animals or own any animal testing facilities. However, the brand does sell in countries like China, where governments conduct animal testing before selling products. This means we can’t officially label the brand as cruelty-free. MAC partners with IIVS (Institute for In Vitro Sciences) to raise awareness of this matter so that non-animal testing methods can become a global standard. 

MAC isn’t a vegan company and does use ingredients derived from insects and animals in its products.

How to pick the right MAC nude lipsticks for you

As mentioned earlier, nude is relative, so keep that in mind as you shop for the shade that best complements your skin tone. 

Use your skin tone as a guide

  • Fairer skin tone. Stick with your natural lip color as a guide to prevent your lips from looking like they’ve disappeared.
  • Medium skin tone. Caramel and deep pinks are a good starting point.
  • Deep skin tone. Deeper berries can work. But darker tones can also play with colors slightly lighter than their preferred foundation shade. 

Consider your natural lip tone

  • Go identical. Your natural lip color will usually align well with your skin tone. So, this is always a good starting point.
  • Consider a shade lighter. A slightly lighter shade can also still complement your skin tone.

Follow these tips for easy application

  • Prep your lips. If your lips are dry and flaky, a nude color can amplify those blemishes. Be sure to hydrate your lips before applying the lipstick.
  • Differentiate with texture. While true mattes are popular, they can sometimes wash out the lips. Consider a satin or gloss nude lipstick instead.
  • Always test first. Avoid trying to eyeball which nude shade will work for you. When in doubt, test it on the back of your hand before committing to a purchase. 

What’s the most popular MAC nude lipstick?

In truth, makeup is a personal choice. And when it comes to nudes, the right color will vary widely depending on your skin tone, undertones, and preferences. In short, you’ll need to test before buying a shade. 

What’s the most popular MAC lipstick color?

Ruby Woo is one of MAC’s most popular lipstick shades. It’s a bold blue-based red hue that’s universally loved across skin tones. 

How do I find the perfect nude lipstick for my skin tone?

Your best bet is to start by considering your lip’s natural color. Then, you’ll want to think about your undertones (cool, warm, neutral), as your nude shade should also carry those features.