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How to wear brown lipsticks: Tips, tricks, and techniques to know

How to wear brown lipsticks: Tips, tricks, and techniques to know

Death by chocolate

Text: Emily Heng


Known to be the defining lip shade of the '90's — and a favourite amongst celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, and Winona Ryder — brown lipstick is back; making a triumphant comeback this 2019 alongside claw clips, crimped tresses, and charm jewellery.

While stylish, it is a hue that often inspires trepidation within beginners. And understandably so, considering the various pitfalls: haphazard application invites comparisons to the Bruce Bogtrotter chocolate cake scene in Matilda (see below); picking a shade that veers a little too close to your natural skin tone can make you look washed out. Groan.

It's a tricky minefield to navigate, but when done right, cocoa lippies are your sidekick to the kind of sultry pout that neither red nor pink counterparts can replicate. This is how you ace it:

1. Pick a shade that flatters your skin tone
The golden rule, according head makeup artist of Benefit, Lisa Potter Dixon: don't go for shades that resemble your skin tone. It will wash you out while making puckers appear flat and one-dimensional (i.e. the opposite of what the Kardashian-Jenners are selling). Some trial and error is probably required before you find The One, but when in doubt, just remember to go for shades with a tint that stand out from your natural lip colour. Capiche?

 

 

2. Experiment with different textures
Matte was the preferred finish in the '90's, but the rise of sheer and glossy formulations allow a whole lot more options to pick from. Try something in a creamy or semi-matte finish for a decidedly modern sway.

 

 

3. Mix it with pink
The apprehensive can ease into the trend by looking for brown shades bearing pink undertones. Think soft, rosy shades as seen on Cushnie's fall/winter 2019 runway.

 


4. Smoke it out
Temper the intensity of the shade by applying it on to the centre of your lips with your fingers. Then, carefully smudge it out for a soft, unfocused look. This prevents you from looking OTT, as some 90's stars — hey J.Lo — did during their heyday.

 


5. Pair it with lip liner
When done right, lip liner can add dimension to lips all the while keeping the intense pigment of your lipstick in place. The trick is to blend it out with short, feathery strokes and to make sure that the selected shade complements the lipstick you'll be layering on after. Alternatively, go for a pink-toned brown lipstick over brown liner — the two shades will then blend together to create a ombré look so often sported by our favourite faces in 2019.

 

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