Beauty / Beauty News

Women of colour wore dark liner long before “brownie glazed lips” was ever a thing

brownie glazed lips

Fashion and beauty has always siphoned aesthetics from Black, Latina and other women of colour. This much we know to be true. From the clean girl look to skinny eyebrows to TikTok's so-called "coconut girl", the industry is rife with appropriation.

It's always the same story: a white woman adopts a style that's long existed in communities of colour. They rebrand it as their own where it's elevated to cult status, all the while mysteriously failing to credit its genesis. The worst part? The people who wore the look first are almost always disparaged for it, and by the same folks who embrace it once it becomes a symbol of cool.

Well, it appears history is repeating itself. On TikTok, users are calling out Hailey Bieber for what she's calling "brownie glazed lips", a brown-liner-clear-gloss combination Bieber is pushing as an autumn trend to market her beauty line Rhode. The implication being that she masterminded the beauty look. At the time of writing, the video has garnered over 14 million views.

@benulus This comment is just ONE example of the daily hate comments I get about my lips. #haileybieberlips ♬ original sound - Benulus

Fashion stylist, Berenice Castro, was quick to point out how mere months ago she was receiving comments mocking her signature brown lip liner and gloss pout. "Y'all shit on my lips every time I post. But a white woman does it? It's going to become a trend, it's going to be praised upon." Meanwhile, makeup artist Iris Beilin filmed a satirical video of herself applying "brownie glazed lips", where she exclaims, "oh wow. This is innovative. I have never seen it before."

@irisbeilin Wow!!! I have never seen something like this!!! 🫥🫥🫥 #brownieglazedlips ♬ Acoustic cool jazz guitar ad-lib(861511) - ricca

The problem isn't Hailey Bieber, after all she is Latina herself. The point of frustration is in how the lipliner style is severed from its hard-won roots. Women have been lining their lips since the 1920s. But these styles, worn by dames of the silver screen like Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe were, up until the 1980s, grounded in whiteness. It was only in the 80s and 90s that the dark-liner-light-gloss combination begun to take shape as the prototype for Bieber's "brownie glazed lips". And it was spearheaded by Black women and hip-hop, as well as Latina women and the Mexican-American youth responsible for Los Angeles' chola subculture.

@tajiareed #greenscreenvideo absolutely tf not. #fypシ #foryou #likeamonarch #cleanbeauty ♬ original sound - TJ

You see, back then the beauty world didn't consider darker skin tones like it does today. Products came in limited colours, which meant Black and brown women had to get innovative. They mixed their own foundations and used eyeliner and eyebrow pencils to fill in their lips, doing the best they could in an industry that actively excluded them.

In the comment section of Bieber's TikTok, users reflect on their aunties and mothers who wore the style throughout the 80s up until today. From Arab and Desi women, to the Latina queens inspired by Selena Quintanilla and the Black girls emulating Lil' Kim and Naomi Campbell.

By the time it was the late 90s, the style had leaked outside of the communities that created it and was worn by everyone from Britney Spears to Pamela Anderson. Eventually it faded from the mainstream, kept alive by the communities from whom it originated.

With dark liner on the cusp of re-entering the mainstream once more, we want to shed a little light on the OG's. From Aaliyah to Janet, these are the women who pioneered the look from the beginning. Black and brown women are the blueprint – and don't you forget it.

Lauryn Hill


Yasmeen Ghauri


Naomi Campbell


Janet Jackson


Jennifer Lopez




Aishwarya Bachchan




Jada Pinkett-Smith


Penelope Cruz


Halle Berry


Rosario Dawson


Salma Hayek


Destiny's Child


Devon Aoki



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Images: One, Two