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Trend on Trial: '90s brown lips


Picture Rachel from Friends: layered hair, matte skin, brown lipstick. Think Linda, Kate, Naomi and Christy in the ‘Supers’ era – yes, brown lipstick.

Now, picture any film or music heroine you adored in the Nineties – brown lipstick, right? It was the only shade to wear, nestled ambiguously somewhere in between masculine and feminine. What’s not to love? That’s how the make-up artists backstage at 3.1 Phillip Lim saw things as lips were smothered in a deep chocolate hue. But should the brown lip be left firmly in the decade from whence it came? Or revived, refreshed and rehashed again this season? There’s only one way to find out…


Stylist’s beauty director says: Not since my Rimmel Heather Shimmer days have I thought that lip colour bordering on brown was a good thing. Now the trend has come full circle and there’s a rustycoloured lipstick bullet with my name on it. This isn’t so much experimenting but revisiting. This time round, it feels modern and sophisticated in a way that a bright fuchsia lip can never be and, without the shimmer of its Nineties counterparts, it’s incredibly flattering (Tip: deep chocolates have a grown-up sepia effect against paler skin-tones). This rich, creamy shade comes courtesy of Marks & Spencer, looks expensive and is bang on trend. I can only thank the make-up gods I found it.


Stylist’s beauty and features writer says: Hello brown lipstick, my old nemesis; looking in the mirror, I only see a ghostly vestige of myself aged 14. Back then, experimenting with lipsticks was a joy, but I’ve always known I don’t suit brown. Aesthetically, it’s too close to my skintone but ironically it’s the one shade I’ve always been cajoled into by make-up artists. Maybe they know something I don’t but, nevertheless, brown is out for me – unless it’s a very deep burgundy.


Stylist’s beauty editor says: I scoffed when we decided to try this trend. I mean, I knew it wouldn’t suit me. Except… it did. And I liked it. I used a Lancôme shade with a subtle purple undertone and buffed the edges slightly with my finger to make it look more worn in. Much cooler and easier to wear than a statement making red.


Brown is a highly overlooked neutral and when you wear a deep shade – as we have here – it adds a real air of sophistication. Finding the right tone is crucial; if these dark shades don’t work for you, take the colour a little lighter to create more of a stain effect or add a slick of balm for a gloss finish – the Nineties aren’t going anywhere fast.

1. Autograph Colour Intense matte lipstick in Chocolate, £8.50, Marks & Spencer

2. Colour Crush Lipstick in 325 Darling Blush, £10, The Body Shop

3. Pure Color Longlasting lipstick in Beige, £20, Estee Lauder

4. Rouge In Love in Chez Prune, £21, Lancome

Thanks to boothnation.com



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