6 Ways to Wear Brown Lipstick in 2021 (and 2 That Date You Immediately)

When you think about the beauty trends that dominated the 90s and early 2000s, right up there with the roll-on body glitter and butterfly clips is brown lipstick. Brick, cinnamon, caramel and mauve: No shade of brown was off limits and no amount of sparkle or shine was considered too much.

Well, the earthy tone has made a major comeback in 2021 thanks to the likes of Gigi Hadid and the many famous faces of TikTok (i.e., the D’Amelio sisters). For those of us who are (ahem) seasoned enough to remember wearing the look, um, 20 years ago and are therefore wary about trying it again, we’ve got some fresh tips for wearing the shade without looking outdated.

The ‘90s Hair Trend That TikTok Revived (and We’re *So* Thrilled It’s Back)

Do: Try Subtle Overlining

As makeup artist Lisa Eldridge taught us: A little bit of lip liner can go a long way to enhance your pout (and even out any lopsided edges). She recommends laying down a base coat of lipstick to get a better idea of the natural shape of your lips before applying a liner in a similar shade using small, feathery circles.

Do: Try A Slight Shimmer

Not to be confused with the frosted metallic looks that dominated the TRL countdown, the shimmer we speak of here is very subtle with ultra-fine flecks that add a touch of warmth to your lips. The end result is a lush, fuller-looking pout.

Do: Wear It With A Graphic Eye

After more than a year of wearing face masks, many of us have gotten more creative with our eye makeup. And you know what always looks good with statement eyes? A neutral lip, as evidenced by Dixie D’Amelio here.

Do: Go Extra Shiny

Time to cue up that Lil Mama anthem. (You know the one.) Lip gloss is back and better than ever. No longer overly scented or a magnet for flyaway hairs, the latest iterations deliver plenty of shine without the mess. Option to add a touch of gloss to your lids for an all-over glow.

Do: Try A Monochromatic Look

Everything about this look screams 90s redux done right. We especially love the way Gigi’s eyeshadow, blush and lipstick all seem to be in the same shade

Do: Pare Things Down

We love how minimal and fresh Olivia’s makeup looks here. It’s a nice palette cleanser to some of the heavier looks we’ve seen on social media over the last few years and a reminder that the teensiest flick of eyeliner and a swipe of a mauve-toned lipstick can really brighten up your entire face.

brown lipstick ideas don t mismatch liner
Tim Roney/Getty Images

Don’t: Mismatch Your Lip Liner

If you grew up in the 90s and early 2000s, you likely wore this two-toned look to some school dance (along with a heavy spritz of Tommy Girl perfume). Because you know what goes well with brick-colored lip liner? Why, a pale pink lipstick of course.

brown lipstick ideas dont frosted
Jim Smeal/Getty Images

Don’t: Overly Frosted Finish

There is a stark difference between extra shine or even a bit of shimmer (see above) and a full-on frosted finish. The latter may look cool in editorial shoots or even on Instagram, but in real life, these metallic hues tend to wash out your complexion and highlight any dryness on your lips.

1. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner In “pillow Talk”

A bestselling product a hundred times over, this neutral liner is beloved by makeup artists, celebrities and editors alike for its flattering pink tones and smooth application.

2. Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer

Leave it to Rihanna to bring us a gloss that is, as its name implies, universal for anyone who simply wants to make their lips pop.

3. Huda Beauty Power Bullet Cream Glow Hydrating Lipstick In “money Maker”

It’s the perfect rosy-brown lipstick that feels like butter on your lips.

4. Patrick Ta Major Beauty Headlines Matte Suede Lipstick In “oh She’s Single”

If you like plenty of pigment and prefer a soft, matte finish, this will become your new favorite lipstick.

5. Ilia Color Block High Impact Lipstick In “amberlight”

Loaded with clean ingredients like apricot seed oil and mango seed butter, this creamy nude lipstick truly delivers on that whole “your lips but better” thing.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023
Jenny Jin

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...
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