It's Not Your Nipples — Use This Hack to Find Your Best Neutral Lip Color Instead

POPSUGAR Photography | Ariel Baker
POPSUGAR Photography | Ariel Baker
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You've heard of the nipple lipstick theory, right? It's the idea that the most flattering neutral lip color is one that matches the shade of your nipples. The tip is backed by various makeup artists, including Alexis Oakley, who previously told POPSUGAR, "If you are using this method to search for a nude lipstick, it will give you the perfect nude lip for your skin tone."

While this hack has been a go-to for years, you may not need to stand in front of the mirror naked to find your perfect lipstick match after all. Makeup artist Ashley Rebecca tells POPSUGAR she'll instead look at a client's inner lip to find their perfect lipstick match. "As a makeup artist, I'm obviously not able to see people's nipples at work, so I started using this technique to teach Black models and clients with deeper skin tones how to find their perfect nude shade," she says.

Rebecca adds that variances in the color of your nipples play a part in why she prefers this method over the other. "Oftentimes hormones can affect the way our nipples look, but for the most part, the inside of the lip doesn't change." To test the theory, I tried using the shade of my inner lip to find my perfect neutral lip color. Keep reading to see how the experiment went.

The Inner-Lip Lipstick Hack

It could be due to conditioning that I still have to unlearn, but I presumed that this entire process would start with pink lipstick as a base, which Rebecca said doesn't necessarily have to be true. "I don't think that pink is the go-to color for the foundation of finding the nude lipstick color," she says. "Sometimes the inside of the lips present more brown, sometimes even soft hues of purple — especially with melanin-rich women."

The best way to approach this is to look at the inside of your lip and then match a color accordingly. Because Buxom Cosmetics's lip colors tend to work with my undertones really well, I decided to start with its Full-On Plumping Lipstick ($25) in Skin Tease. I applied my CTZN Cosmetics Lip Liner ($18) in Cinco first, then tapped the color onto my lips to fill in the space. The result veered a bit on the brown side, so I decided to add a bit of pink using Buxom's Full-On Plumping Lip Cream ($25) in Hot Toddy.

POPSUGAR Photography | Ariel Baker

At that point, I realized that the inside of my lip was more cool, so I added Pat McGrath's Love Potion ($29) lip gloss to the combination. To make the entire look a bit more wearable, I also added the brand's Dare to Bare ($29) lip gloss, and that was it. I finally found my perfect nude lipstick.

POPSUGAR Photography | Ariel Baker

Would I do this every single day? Likely not, simply due to the fact that I am typically in a rush when I am leaving my apartment, so it doesn't really make sense for me time-wise. However, I think this is a great hack for makeup artists to practice and perfect. It is unfortunately still extremely common for models and actors to experience blatant discrimination when it comes to getting their makeup done on set. In 2023, there should be no excuse for this to keep happening. Hacks like these are wonderful for artists to keep in their back pockets — it's a simple step that they can take to make sure that everyone who sits in their chair feels welcome and is treated with respect.