Are You Ready For The Return Of Brown Lips?

By Tara Thompson Rasmus

For any of us that grew up in the realm of the ’90s and early aughts, the term “brown lipstick” can be, well, somewhat terrifying. The images of brown lipstick seem synonymous in our minds with frosted lip gloss, matte skin, thin eyebrows, and bad, stripe-y highlights…none of which we’d like to see make a comeback anytime soon. In our opinions, they can stay right there in the boy band/pop princess era where they very much belong.

Thankfully, this time around, brown lipstick is a totally different animal, with softer formulas and shades that range from peach-inflected caramel to rosy mocha. The overall look is much more sophisticated and natural (think of it as “your lips but better,” which much more oomph added). Some words to the wise: to ensure that your look is more pouty-Angela-Chase and less TRL-reject, keep the rest of your look very natural. Full, brushed brows, dewy skin, and a neutral blush are really all you need to get it right.

Finally, make sure to pick a brown-based shade that’s right for your skin tone. Up ahead, I’ve picked out eight shades that complement different ladies, from porcelain to deep—but feel free to experiment until you find the perfect one for you!

featured photo by dimitrios kambouris



Neutrogena Lip Color Stick in Caramel

For ladies with extra-pale skin and rosy undertones, this neutral pale caramel balm will counteract the natural rosiness of your lips just a bit, and help you get the look without washing you out.


Lancôme Color Design Matte Lip Crayon in Lipstick Avenue

This shade has a bit of peach, which will totally light up fair skin tones.


Ilia Lipstick in Linger

This nude has a bit of a copper undertone that looks lovely on beige complexions.



NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in More

Have a bit of a tan (or naturally golden undertones)? The sepia undertones of this “oomphed-up” nude will suit you perfectly.



Ciaté London Lip Chalk Matte Lip Crayon in Instaglam

For women with warm, medium-light complexions, this rosy terracotta rules.



Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick in Nude Light/Medium

Medium ladies will look perfectly fetching in this dusty rose shade (bonus: the moisturizing formula can stand in for your favorite lip balm.


Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Brown

This classic mocha, with its perfect balance of rose and brown, works on almost any complexion—but it looks most natural on ladies with deeper skin tones.



Urban Decay Matte Revolution in 1993

Darker-skinned ladies can easily pull off intensely pigmented, matte shades; this warm brick is seriously smoldering.


Dior Addict Lipstick Hydra-Gel in City Lights

For the deepest complexions, I recommend this irresistible molten-chocolate shade; the glossy finish just makes it even more alluring.