From Coffee to Cocoa: The Brown Lipstick Review


In a world where pink and red lipsticks will always reign supreme, browns often go overlooked. But a brown lip is actually extremely flexible, and can take you anywhere from boho natural to super-vampy if you have the right shade handy. A deep rich chocolate brown is a more wearable version of a gothic black lip for almost any complexion; for those with darker skin, the perfect brown will work as a flattering nude and bring out your eyes. Read up and get ready to rethink brown.


Lip Perfection Lipstick in Enchant #240 | $6

A thick formula and satin finish make this a tried-and-true bargain. The terracotta orange–brown is deep and lovely and, let’s face it, a brown lipstick by CoverGirl is the most ’90s thing you could add to your makeup stash since, well, the ’90s! Ah, nostalgia.


Matte Lipstick in Maison | $6

We’re not sure why this cool brown is masquerading as “matte.” It’s glossy, through and through. Nevertheless, it’s balmy and comfortable to wear, so it’s great for chapped lips. Unlike a true matte formula, it fades quickly, so carry it along for touch ups.


Color Lip Last in #24 Cocoa Passion | $13

A warm medium brown in a skinny tube that makes clean application a breeze. Even though it has a slight sheen, it lasts long, so it’s a smart everyday choice.


Lipstick in Tabla | $15

The pigment here is intense: it’s a power-packed milk chocolate hue wrapped up in a formula that’s both mega-glossy and opaque. We love the bold statement it makes on both light and dark skin tones—but the greenish undertones may bring out the red in some complexions. If you tend toward ruddiness go with another shade.


Mango Butter Lipstick in #38 Cinnamon | $18

Extra luscious thanks to the mango butter base, this tan shade would work as an ideal nude for darker skin. It’s golden hue makes it a pretty choice for a subtly amped-up natural look, and the “just licked” glossy shine stays put for hours.

Make Up For Ever

Rouge Artist Intense in #28 | $20

Cool and pink-toned, this is the most understated of the bunch and a great full-coverage basic. If you’re new to brown lipstick, this would be a good choice to ease your way in.

Laura Mercier

Crème Smooth Lip Colour in Cocoa | $26

Here’s a long-wearing satin shade that’s the color of a dark chocolate truffle. It’s browner than the deepest red and looks sensuous and mysterious. If you’re after an exotic, slightly witchy goth look, try this.


Sheer Lipstick in Tanganyka | $26

Lighter skin tones will bring out the warm red in this brown-based color; while darker complexions will get more of a terracotta appearance. This is a much-loved pick from NARS’s sheer range, which is great for daytime. Pat on with a finger for an extra-translucent finish.

Kevyn Aucoin

The Expert Lipcolor in Dantrice | $35

This warm, rich, hydrating brown will leave dry lips feeling quenched, even though the staying power is exceptional. If you’re a fan of burgundies, you’ll like this shade’s red undertones

By Terry

Rouge Terrybly Lipstick in #104 Bimbo Brown | $49

A super-rich, melt-on texture that applies easily, while a chalky undertone cools down the shade once on lips. The anti-aging formula plumps slightly, too. The only thing we’re unsure about is the name—if anything, this brown makes you feel extra smart!