The Resurgence of Brown Lipstick

A brief history of a favorite of the 90s and today.  

Millennials have a problem: we don’t have a definitive style. We have continuously borrowed trends from other decades of fashion, and the 90s are no exception. Most of us probably don’t want to be known as the generation that rocked the smocked towel dress, gaucho pants, or trucker hats as fashion statements in the 2000s. Because of this, we’ve now adopted the styles of the 90s as our generation’s go tos. One 90s beauty trend that has resurged: brown lipstick.

Brown lips have only just recently come back, due to the extreme popularity of 90s trends. But before brown lips were popular, different lipstick shades have varied over the last century.

As early as 1915, lipstick has been able to travel alongside its users due to Maurice Levy’s invention of the metal lipstick tube. This allowed wearers to take their favorite makeup item with them on the go. In 1923, we saw the invention of the more modern lipstick tube that functions with a swivel. This inspired retailers like Chanel, Max Factor, and Elizabeth Arden to create their own lipstick.

Throughout the 30s and 40s, lipstick was going in and out of daily life due to complications due to the Great Depression and WWII, but the 1950s saw a spike in the use of red lipstick. Stars like Marilyn Monroe brought it back to popularity and 98% of women were wearing lipstick.The 60s were a different era and the popular colors of lipstick changed. Shades of white and nude were in style because of the Mod trend. The 70s punk era saw shades of black and purple rise to significance. The 80s took back the classic red lip of the 50s.

When we got to the 90s, the trend of more distinct brown lipstick was born. The colors varied in hue and in intensity. They all had a brown tone, it just depended on the base color of the lipstick which could vary from orange or red to purple or black. Celebrities from the female cast of Friends to other stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jada Pinkett Smith, Drew Barrymore, Brandy, and Mary J. Blige were seen wearing this color.

The brown lip look emerged with the grungy, cool, and edgy style of 90s fashion, and with our adoption of this decade's fashion, it only makes sense that the brown lip is here to stay. To modernize the brown lip, look for a matte version and pair it with a bold brow and dark eye shadow or a smokey eye. Places like Sephora and MAC to drug-store brands like Maybelline and CoverGirl sell variations of brown lipstick; just find the best shade for your skin tone.   

StyleDelia Curtis