Brown Lipstick's Back!

One thing was missing from the spring runways’ flood of ‘90s nostalgia: the brown lip. Last seen around the same time Drew Barrymore was starring in Scream, the intimidating shade has popped up on a range of lips, from Jessica Chastain’s to Olivia Palermo’s—an about-face from the current reign of bright lip colors.

Want to be historically accurate? Start and end with a lip liner. “We used matte liners for that spicy, grungy color,” Barrymore says of the ‘90s. She recommends (4) Flower’s Lip Liner ($7) in Toffee; we’re also fans of Lancome’s Le Crayon ($25) in Caramel and (3) CoverGirl’s LipPerfection Liner ($8) in Smoky. (For the sake of experimenting, try using your go-to brow pencil—it might sound weird, but it’s matte and the color already suits your skin.)

If using a pencil on your lips sounds scary, take your cue from Chastain or Palermo and try a glossier brown lipstick. Makeup artist Kristofer Buckle used (1) Dior’s Rouge Dior Nude Lip Blush ($32) in Twill on Chastain at Chanel’s pre-Oscar dinner. Palermo, who also wore Dior, says her shade was just a sample, but try Dior's Addict Extreme Lipstick ($31) in Incognito.

Not sure where to start shade-wise? (2) M.A.C.’s Pro Lip Palette ($40) in 6 Modern Browns offers six different colors, one of which is bound to work (or you can blend until you hit the perfect note). Nars’ new Satin Lip Pencil ($25) in Cognac is easy to use, and (5) Burberry’s new Lip Velvet ($30) in Hawthorne Berry is a true chocolate brown. If you want the matte texture of a pencil in the form of a lipstick, try Kevyn Aucoin’s new The Matte Lip Color ($32) in Infinite. Once you have your ‘90s lip mastered, be sure to pair with a modern outfit. In other words, unless you want to appear in costume, stay away from plaid.