You can mark brown lipstick as another ’90s trend that is getting revived. Pretty much every ’90s fashion trend has been resurrected over the past few years and, evidently, we need ’90s beauty looks to go along with them. It’s only a matter of time before crimped hair officially comes back. It’s already appeared in a few runway shows.
When we say “brown,” we mean proper 1990′s supermodel brown, not nudes or red brick shades that are pretty much burgundy. Before everyone became obsessed with the ’90s, you probably stayed away from these brown lipsticks the way you did frosted pink. They were the ones that were always leftover when there was a sale and makeup artists always warned that they made your teeth look more yellow and they were dated.
So, what’s changed? Has anything? We already have an obsession with crazy-colored lipstick, so why should we exclude brown? Hopefully, the geniuses at the beauty companies have developed shades that evoke the 1990′s feel but are somehow still flattering. I decided to test out a few different brown shades to see just how flattering they are. Here are the results:
1. Nude Long-Lasting Lipstick In 06 Barely There! ($2.99, Essence)
On the lighter end of the spectrum, there are the nude shades that are actually taupe when you apply them. This one showed up more pink on me. It may not be the classic ’90s brown, but I found another great my-lips-but-better color.
2. Nude Long-Lasting Lipstick In 05 Cool Nude ($2.99, Essence)
Here’s another taupe shade that I thought could have been like that cafe au lait lip color Kylie Jenner has been wearing in her Instagram selfies of late. It has a bit more brown but it still looks like a rose on me. However, I like the color, even if it isn’t as taupe-y as I hoped.
3. Pure Color Envy Liquid Lip Potion In 120 Extreme Nude ($30, Estee Lauder)
This liquid lip color was described to me as a “1990′s supermodel shade.” When I applied it, I realized the description was totally accurate. The medium brown shade has that slight red tone that all the ’90s lipsticks had but the velvety satin finish keeps it modern. I am a fan.
4. Creme Smooth Lip Color In Milky Way ($27, Laura Mercier)
If you’re looking for that aforementioned cafe au lait shade, this is a good one. However, I’m not really sure about it on me. It kept reminding me of the gold lipsticks from the 1990′s. When I see it in the pictures now, it isn’t as bad as I thought of at the time. I may come around to it.
5. Creme Smooth Lip Color In Duche De Leche ($27, Laura Mercier)
I love dulce de leche so I was hoping I would like this lip color just as much. It is a warm shade. When you look at the photo, you might think that it is very red but it s a luxurious light brown shade that is bold but not too bold.
6. Creme Smooth Lip Color In Cappuccino ($27, Laura Mercier)
As we get darker, I liked that the medium browns weren’t as intimidating as medium reds. I thought this cappuccino color worked well with my coloring and hair.
7. Pure Color Envy Matte Lipstick In 130 Desirous ($30, Estee Lauder)
Now we’re getting very dark. This was where I thought that brown shades would make my teeth look yellow but the deep colors actually made them pop the way a plum or black lipstick would. This was a surprising like.
8. Creme Smooth Lip Color In Cocoa ($27, Laura Mercier)
As much as I love chocolate and cocoa, I wasn’t sure if this shade worked on me or not. Perhaps it was because I was used to the lighter shades. It’s a good color because the warm undertone doesn’t wash you out like black.
9. Luscious Cream Creamy Lipstick In 522 Black Cherry ($9, Kiko Cosmetics)
“Black cherry” is a lipstick shade that is normally a very deep plum, but the lipstick bullet looked like a very deep brown so I decided to include it on the list. On my lips, it is very close to black but it has more warmth in it. It also makes your teeth look very white.
Final verdict: I was surprised by how many of the shades I actually liked when I first tried them, and I still liked them when I looked back at the photos. I think my coloring and hair work well with the brown and taupe shades. I am tempted to say I like them better than regular nudes. This is one 1990′s trend that I am going to gladly welcome back and I suggest everyone try to find their own ’90s supermodel brown shade.
Beauty Expert & Hairstylist, Contributing Editor
Dorothy has been a beauty fanatic since she was a preteen growing up in a small Idaho town. She honed her makeup and hair skills on her willing mother and she's a pro with a pair of tweezers, having fixed many a friend's unibrow in college. Susan believes the true secret to beauty comes from within, but the right application of mascara and lipstick can help.