TikTok Won't Stop Buzzing About These 5 Lip Combos for Brown Skin

What's better than discovering the perfect brown lip combo for your melanin-blessed skin? Correct answer: nothing. Brown lips have undeniably taken the beauty industry (and, as a consequence, entertainment) by a storm—a revival of the same trend that ruled the '80s and '90s. But just like any trend, its popularity on social media is not without discourse, debate, and unfortunately, underrepresentation. So, I decided it was about time to create a source for the Brown and Black girls looking for a bit of inspiration from familiar faces and sources who just get it

Meet Danessa Myricks and Renée Loiz, superstar celeb makeup artists who've known many a brown lip combo. Myricks has created celebrities, worked with entertainers in music and film, founded a bestselling brand, and has made major contributions to the beauty industry through her collaborations with other brands and artists. Louiz is a celebrity makeup artist who works with stars like Quinta Brunson, Cynthia Erivo, and Kirky Howell-Baptiste. She's also a founder of Color May Vary a Black-owned beauty guide celebrating Black-owned beauty brands and products in the industry.


(Image credit: @lauraharrier)

"Brown or neutral shades have always been a staple in every makeup artist's tool kits because they are grounding colors. Often color trends are cyclical, and we see this trend resurfacing from the early '90s," explains Myricks. "These shades are perfect for sculpting, lining, and defining all areas of the face, but when applied to the lips they provide emphasis without taking over the entire look." And haven't we seen a '90s comeback in the last year? Brown lip combos have been spotted on countless celebrities on and off the red carpet; even sparkling online discourse as to where the credit for the popularization of brown lip combos truly lies.

Loiz agrees, highlighting the history behind the trend with a reminder for artists to give credit where credit is due. "Trends come from those being inspired by something from the past and making them look current," she begins. "We see this over and over again and now with the brown lip combo, which came from the Chola culture and Black girls in the late '80s and '90s, has become the latest must-do lip combo." So, which brown lip combos do pro makeup artists actually use and how are they created?


(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

Myricks' pro tip is to approach creating a brown or nude lip the same way you would make a choice for your overall complexion. For her, this process starts by determining the shade used to shape the lip: the deeper the tone is in comparison to the skin, the bolder the lip will be. She recommends going for a warmer brown tone to create intense shaping with a softened edge. 

Next up is deciding on the shade that will be used at the center of the lip just like you would select a concealer, highlighter, or powder to create brightness for the center of the face. "Remember that shades that are lighter than our skin tone create the illusion of making a feature appear more pronounced and larger," says Myricks. Her general rule of thumb: the lighter the shade is in comparison to the skin tone, the larger the lip will appear.


(Image credit: @yarashahidi)

Loiz takes a similar approach, spotlighting the importance of determining the undertone of a brown lip liner when used to create the perfect lip look. "I love a brown lip liner that has a pink undertow because I feel like that matches the lip color more," she shares. "Another trick I’ve used is a brownish-red eyebrow pencil to line the lips, Camille Ariane makes a great red-brown lip liner!"

Myricks' Favorite Products for Brown Lip Combos


(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

Loiz's Favorite Products for Brown Lip Combos


(Image credit: @jastookes)

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Maya Thomas
Assistant Beauty Editor
Maya Thomas is Who What Wear's assistant beauty editor based just outside of Seattle, Washington. Her strong love for all things beauty and fashion stems from a strong childhood interest in the fine arts. During a gap year spent in Paris studying the history of French fashion, she shifted her focus to English literature and journalism as a student at Loyola Marymount University with the goal of one day pursuing a career in fashion. After graduating in May 2021, Maya began freelancing for Parade.com as a contributing commerce writer while also building a following on her lifestyle blog, Itsmayalala.com. When she's not writing, Maya spends her free time catching up on reading, perusing art galleries, and enjoying a night out at the ballet every now and then.