Beauty: How to rock brown lipstick - drugstore options

It started last year, when everyone and their aunt developed an obsession with Kylie Jenner's make up. The main thing that set her make up (and the '90s beauty trend) apart from what had come before, was the emphasis on natural, muted colours that were nevertheless very present. Think of the look as heavy neutral - no bright pops of colour or retro red lips + cat eyeliner, but a play of greys, browns, taupes, mauves and beiges. I was drawn to the look because it works so well with any type of outfit, bringing out your natural beauty while still definitely looking "made up". Professional and grown up with a side of glam.

Think of any of the Twin Peaks babes, or just check out these '90s babes to see what I mean.

90s make up

Soft and neutral but still "done", right? Well, if you want to try this look for yourself, I'm not going to tell you what to do with your eyes, because I feel like this look works best if you just apply a neutral version of whatever make up flatters your eyeshape most - be it a cat eye, a smokey eye, some pencil or just neutral eyeshadow application. Just make sure you do your eyebrows! Check out my easy eyebrow tutorial if needed. Point is, you probably already have some neutral coloured products for your eye look, but your lips are another story.

I remember rolling my eyes at any lip product that came too close to my natural lipshade. My logic being: why bother if it ain't even really a colour? I associated browns, mauves and even soft peaches with older women. Well, turns out older women were right all along (surprise!). I know that a lot of people are still intimidated by these shades, or just plain not interested. And I'm here to try and change your mind.

brown lipstick: review and tutorial

I divided the quintessential '90s lipcolour in three distinct categories, from left to right: nude brown, soft brown and burgundy brown. Depending on your colouring and how heavy a look you aspire to, you can move from left to right to up the ante. Nude brown looks really lovely on anyone, while the burgundy brown would translate to a Lot of Look on a blonde. But as always, your mileage may vary. Either way, you'll look super current.

Over the past few months I picked up some super cheap drugstore items to recreate these looks. Read on for tips and recommendations.

First, the eye make up I'm working with is the type of look I create in the morning whenever I'm in a rush but still want to look nice: neutral eyelid, a bit darker in the corners, some smudged eyeliner and mascara. Easy and very flattering on my eye shape.

easy, flattering eye make up

Staying in your "safe zone" with regards to eye make up also makes a brown lip more easy to stomach when you try it for the first time, because you know you'll look hot anyway.

brown lipstick swatches

The products I'm showing you today, from left to right: Catrice Ultimate Stay Lip Liner in 090 Holly Rose Wood - 2.39€, NYC Expert Last Lip Lacquer in 600 Turtle Bay Toffee - 3.49€, and Hema Longer Lasting Lipstick in 08 - 3.50€.
catrice ultimate stay lip liner holly rosewood review and swatch

Catrice's Ultimate Stay Lip Liner comes in some lovely colours, like this Holly Rose Wood, but I'm not as crazy about it as I was about Catrice's old twist-up lip liner. This one is very matte, yes, and its pigmentation is OK, but the product is stiff and dry and it takes some work to get an even finish. Still, not bad for the price, it could be seen as another low budget Velvet Teddy dupe. This colour basically a more defined version of my own lip colour, and as such very flattering. Would look lovely on anyone who has pale enough skin. You could also layer some clear lipgloss over it to make it more of a "look".

nyc expert last lip lacquer turtle bay toffee

NYC Expert Last Lip Lacquer is definitely my favourite out of this line up, as the formula is deliciously smooth, very pigmented and gives a lovely, even finish. The colour is quite unique as well, and depending on your colouring could lean anywhere from brown to red to rosey - just google some swatches and you'll see what I mean. I love how the colour is pigmented yet muted. I think this colour would be a lovely alternative to your classic retro red on most people, as it is a mature look that is nonetheless very feminine and flattering. It also works absolutely lovely as a smoothing base underneath darker, dry matte lipsticks, as I'm about to show you.

burgundy brown dark red lipstick

Finally, burgundy brown, the colour that packs a punch. To achieve this colour, I layered Hema's Longer Lasting Lipstick over NYC's Expert Last Lip Lacquer, because on its own the lipstick is patchy as. fuck. Very annoying, practically impossible to make it look nice. But the products look gorgeous worn together, so I'm not mad.

This is the most obviously retro look of the three, and a colour I've loved ever since I was a kid. That elusive dark red that does not lean berry/purple remains hard to find among drugstore brands, but this is a pretty okey solution. These pictures make the colour appear cooler toned than in real life, because once again the cold winter light was very blue. Sorry! Burgundy brown looks stunning on darker skincolours as well, Azealia Banks rocks it like no other. A dark colour like this probably needs lip liner or lip pencil to get a flawless application, unless you are really great at make up. Dark lips just don't look right without a clean line.

Have you tried the brown lip trend? Which of these is your favourite?


  1. Every single one of these shades looks fantastic on you. The two darker ones lean pretty reddish to me, but still have that hint of a brown tone. I actually think I have a shade like your last burgundy brown one. I need to wear it soon!

    Jamie |

  2. I love a brownish lip! Looks really goof on you!

  3. if you want a colour to be less influenced by your own lip/skincolour underneath, you can start with a layer of foundation before applying your lipstick. However, I think a large part of rocking the brown lip with success is to keep an open mind: people didn't all walk around with chocolate coloured lips in the 90s either, the brown-undertone colour family is big and varied! Brown leaning reds are gorgeous :) bet they look stunning on you!

  4. aaaah echt geweldig bruine lipstick, de laatste twee vind ik echt mooi, Twee looks die ik zelf ook graag draag

  5. Did you buy the holly rose wood recently? ?

  6. Yes, it should be available in stores!

  7. Ik ben helemaal voor! Ik heb ook al een perfecte tint gevonden, nu enkel nog het geld ervoor :D
    Naomi, x