Of all the beauty looks regularly recycled as retro, one of the most prevalent from the 90’s has thus far escaped resurrection…until now. Brown lips, from beige caramel to rich chocolate, are having a moment thanks to new fans including Rhianna, Karlie Kloss and Scarlett Johansson who are regularly spotted wearing it, while it was the lip colour of choice at on the Spring/Summer ’17 runways at Peter Jensen, Nicholas K and Brandon Maxwell. “I’ve always favoured natural-looking shades like brown because it’s a neutral shade that’s universally flattering and complements all skin tones,” enthuses make-up artist legend Bobbi Brown.
But why are lipstick fans in the know turning back to brown right now? While Rimmel’s Heather Shimmer was the go-to colour for teens looking to break into adulthood two decades ago, by today’s standards, those shades of brown tended to look bland, basic and deeply unflattering. “Essentially, it looked like wood,” says leading make-up artist Daniel Sandler. “It was too matte and the colour was too dull. It made your teeth look bad and your skin look older.”
Fast-forward to today’s modern formulations and more refined tones, and it’s a different story. “Textures have come a long way,” explains Daniel. “A brown lipstick might still be matte but has a slight sheen, won’t be dehydrating as the formula contains moisturising ingredients and mirrors the current love of luminous skin too. They also fall into the trend for contouring and sculpting which is so popular at the moment because they match your complexion. That tone-on-tone look is very uptown chic.”
What’s also making brown work now is that rather than the previous one-shade- suits-all version, colours have been created with a range of undertones to suit different complexions. “The shades tend to have pink or peach undertones which make them much more flattering,” explains Daniel. “If you’re a brunette with a warm complexion, try pink undertones. For those with fairer skin, choose a shade with peach undertones. You’ll know you’ve nailed it if you’re teeth don’t look yellow when you smile.”
New tones for an on-trend shade from caramel to coffee…
Daniel Sandler Luxury Matte Lipstick in Audrey: honey-toned caramel with a nourishing boost.
Dior Addict Lipstick in City Lights: super-shine chocolate with an iridescent gleam.
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipstick in Mélancolie: cappuccino with a touch of shimmer.
Clarins Jolie Rouge Moisturizing Long-Wearing Lipstick in Spicy Cinnamon: deep ginger with a satin sheen.
Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color in Downtown Plum: rich chocolate with a hint of damson.
Burberry Kisses Hydrating Lip Colour in Nude Cashmere: a cool toffee tone that glides on sheer.