The ’90s were a very different time. Supermodels dominated the zeitgeist, carving out their own celebrity whilst drinking too much vodka, smoking too many cigarettes and allegedly doing a lot of cocaine. Gloomy grunge and politics-infused hip hop, at least in the beginning, trumped digestible pop. And style was a bit all over the place.
When we think of fashion and beauty trends of the time, we tend to look back and remember butterfly clips, makeup with shimmer, the “Rachel,” baggy pants, brown lipstick, “fun” eyeshadow, baby tees, Chupa Chups as accessories and platform-heeled sneakers. It was a bit ostentatious, but certainly nowhere near as bad as the ’80s. But you know what’s back for 2015? Brown lipstick. And frankly, given advancements in cosmetics, it can actually look really good these days. To show you, we’ll walk you through how to wear it with a little help from some celebrities who went to brown town:
Britney Spears and Kylie Jenner (olive complexion)
Britney was never a stylish woman. She was pretty, absolutely, but it’s not like people ran out to replicate her outfits. In the ’90s, she tried brown lipstick. As you can see, she traced along the outside of her lips with a lip liner, and then applied the lipstick. This looks awful, and you should absolutely not do that in 2015.
While Kylie’s look is bold, there are some key learnings here. She evenly applies a lipstick, which you could do with a tiny brush, or simply from the tube. If you are going to line first, pick the same darn colour. That’s just lipstick 101, okay?
Try: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture lipstick in Beige Promenade, $39
Drew Barrymore and Scarlett Johansson (light complexion)
When you’re picking a brown, work with your natural colouring. The problem with Drew’s brown lips is they are much too dark. She’s so pale, and there’s colouring under her eyes only, so the lip actually looks more like it’s the result of being left out in the cold. Perhaps this is why Drew conventionally stuck with red lips…
As for ScarJo, what we like about her brown is the cherry undertones. The red comes through, which complements the natural rose and warm tones in her cheeks. As a result, she looks put-together and not like a sick ghost.
Try: Maybelline Superstay 14-hour lipstick, $9.
Jennifer Aniston and Karlie Kloss (medium, but warm complexion)
We don’t actually hate either of these applications. Jennifer and Karlie know their colouration: they’ve got a medium skin tone, but they’re quite warm. So, they’ve opted for lighter, less red-heavy browns. You can go slightly dark like Jennifer or very natural and pale like Karlie, as long as you stick to browns without a red tint. Excessive redness will make you look a bit flush, and you don’t want that.
Naomi Campbell and Rihanna (Dark complexion)
If you are darker-skinned, traditionally you’ll want to opt for a brown that’s sheer or as close to sheer as possible. These nude lipsticks and creams will normally wash out everyone else, but if you’re Naomi Campbell (sigh, we aren’t), it works beautifully. Notice how her lipstick has just a slight sheen, which emphasizes her lips’ natural hue. We will forgive the gold and blue shadow, of course.
As for Rihanna? Well, she’s kind of in a league of her own. She’s rejecting all normal makeup rules, and going for an extra-dark brown lip, which is giving us seriously ’90s witchy vibes. And it’s Rihanna, so she looks incredible and we envy her and we’ll just sit here and listen to this song until we can do it our own way, too.