Yes, You Can Pull Off Brown Lipstick. Here’s Your Guide to Finding the Perfect Shade

Avoid the cardboard lip look with our tips!
BY Sarah Lim
| Last updated Jul, 2023
Yes, You Can Pull Off Brown Lipstick. Here’s Your Guide to Finding the Perfect Shade

Finally, brown lipstick is being recognized as something sexy—and not poopy! Brown lipstick is one of the top beauty trends for 2023, and it’s going full steam ahead. This trend is one that is highly specific to your skin tone, so you can rock that perfect shade of brown, so reaching for just any brown lipstick simply won’t do.

So yes, you can pull off brown lipstick with a few helpful pointers to make this trend work wonders for you. Here’s your guide to finding the best brown lipstick so you can feel 90s-esque without the cringe.

How Do You Find Your Skin Tone? 

There are two parts to finding your skin tone—finding your skin tone and finding your skin undertone. Both will influence which shade is the best brown lipstick for you.

Skin tones can range from fair to medium to dark, generally speaking. Your skin tone is influenced by how much pigment, or melanin, you have in your skin. So people with low amounts of melanin will have fairer skin, and those with heavier amounts will have olive or darker skin.

The best way to identify your skin tone is to remove any makeup and examine your complexion in natural light to see if you are fair, medium, or dark.

But how is your skin undertone different?

You can think of your skin tone as the surface color of your skin and your skin undertone as the hue beneath. So while your skin tone can change with sun exposure, your skin undertone won’t. 

Skin undertones range from warm to cool to neutral. Knowing your undertone is important because it’s going to influence the shade of brown you choose for your lipstick, and which one looks best on you.

Find your undertone with these helpful tips here!

Find the Best Brown Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

Find the Best Brown Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

Now that you know a little more about your skin tone and undertone, it’s time to find the best brown lipstick for you. We’ve included recommendations for both warm and cool skin undertones, but remember that if you have a neutral undertone, you don’t need to worry about which brown looks best based on your undertone, just your surface skin tone!

If You Have Fair Skin

If You Have Fair Skin

Remember that brown lipstick can make you look pale if you already have fair skin, so sticking to lighter browns is your best bet here. 

  • Cool undertones 

Those sultry browns with a blue-based or berry undertone will work wonders on you, but remember, if you choose to go dark, make sure to play up your look with some blush so you don’t look too washed out.

  • Warm undertones 

Go for browns with a more orange or red undertone, but consider avoiding browns that have deep red undertones and go for more of a pink, rose, or peach undertone based on how fair your skin is.

If You Have Medium-Toned Skin

Brown lipsticks tend to be most flattering on olive and medium skin tones, so you’re in luck. Based on your undertone, you can play around with brown hues to see which ones you like best.

  • Cool undertones 

Reach for browns that have a blue-based red undertone or a plum undertone. Medium skin tones can also pull off more true browns or earthy browns.

  • Warm undertones 

Go for those fiery undertones in red or orange, or think about brown hues that have a deeper red or mauve undertone for a dramatic effect, but be selective about browns that have a yellow undertone.

If You Have Dark Skin

Dark Skin

Darker skin tones can look gorgeous in browns that allow for more of a nude lip or go slightly darker but not lighter, depending on your preference.

  • Cool undertones 

Go for those beautiful browns with a blackberry undertone or those that are more of a true cocoa color if you want to go nuder, depending on your specific skin tone.

  • Warm undertones 

Reach for deep browns that have a rust undertone or are more of a true brown. You can also look for a copper or brown with a bit of bronze to it to create a gorgeous shimmery effect.

What to Know When Applying Brown Lipstick

What to Know When Applying Brown Lipstick

As with any beauty product, knowing how to use it is a big part of what makes it look great on you. When it comes to brown lipstick, there are a few things you should and shouldn’t do to ensure the best brown lipstick looks flawless on you.

  1. The finish you choose matters 

Lighter browns tend to look better if you choose a creamy or glossy finish, while darker browns can look gorgeous in a matte, but remember to properly moisturize your lips when choosing matte so the darker color doesn’t age you by giving you dry lips.

  1. Your natural lip color will influence the final result 

If your lips are naturally pale, rosy, pink, or dark, this will influence how the brown hue shows up on your lips, so keep this in mind when shopping. For example, if you choose a true brown with very pink lips, it may look more red than you’d hoped.

  1. Choose corresponding makeup (but don’t overdo it) 

Choosing matching eyeliner and eyeshadows can help prevent a brown lip from making you appear paler, but go easy when highlighting these features—since a brown lip makes a statement, your other makeup should be more subtle.

  1. Your lipliner should match 

If you’re using lipliner, remember that it should match your lipstick, not be lighter or darker. After all, while we’re welcoming the 90s back, we need to draw the line somewhere (pun intended).

Take Our Skin Undertone Quiz

Still not sure what your skin undertone is? You don’t have to guess and end up with the wrong shade—instead, take our free and easy quiz, which will help YOU find the best brown lipstick so you can get on board with this popular beauty trend for 2023!


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