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How Female Rappers Influenced The Dark Lip Liner Beauty Trend

lip liner trend
Photo Artwork: Joy Adaeze

As modern female rappers have increased their prominence in the spotlight for their MC skills and hit records, the world has been paying attention to (and inspired by) their unique fashion and beauty choices. Dark lip liner is one of them, a stylish comeback thanks to Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Lizzo, and other female artists. 

[SEE ALSO: How Female Rappers Changed The Hair Game]

Two-tone lips, another take on dark lip liner where liner is blended into the gloss or lipstick of choice, has also gained notoriety with younger generations on TikTok who are discovering the look for the first time. 

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New York Fashion Week kicks off this week, and there is one trend we’re confident will be on the runways: dark lip-lined lips for added edgy elegance.

Earlier this year, JT from Miami rap duo City Girls attended the Mugler Fall/Winter 2023 show during Paris Fashion Week. The fashion press took note of her outstanding take on the dark lip liner trend. The “Act Bad” rapper wore what appeared to be a high-shine nude lip gloss with her mocha lip line etched into a heart shape. Outstanding.

Dark Lip Liner: What’s Old is New Again

If you’re a Millennial or older, this lip look might feel more like a walk down memory lane than a hot new trend. That’s because in the late-’90s, we first saw the trend come to life. The way to wear it was dark liner without blending, where the lip liner almost looked like a ring around the upper and lower lips. 

This bold style, pairing a darker lip liner with a lighter lipstick shade, has returned triumphantly and reimagined with a modern twist: clear, neutral, or bright-colored gloss or matte lipstick for a two-tone vamp effect, and light or bronze metallic for shimmer and shine. Foxy Brown was the first to wear metallic pink lipstick with black lip liner.

The Origin of the Dark Lip Liner Trend

How did this begin in the 90s? The trend emerged when nude lip liners or pale pink shades that worked for white customers didn’t work for Black women and women of color. So, instead, Black and Latina women used brow liners or pencil eyeliners in shades of brown to line their lips. And an aesthetic was born. (Confession: I still do that. A habit I picked up in high school. Honestly, it has been years since I purchased a lip pencil. Weird, I know).

Finding a shade match for darker-skinned women of either ethnicity was a challenge. Dark lip liner was popularized by Cholas, a minority group of first and second-generation Mexicans who settled in LA and the surrounding areas in the ’90s. In Los Angeles’s Mexican neighborhoods, the liner style was a marker of the Chola subculture of Black, Afro-Latinx, and non-Black Latin-American communities living in low-income urban areas. 

Hip-hop culture had not only the Chola look but her own lived experience. The two cultures felt like they “melted” together, which should be a shocker to no one. Hip-hop was created by Black and Latinx youths in the South Bronx during the 1970s — it makes sense that history would repeat itself this way.

Nowadays, the new and improved dark lip liner trend is much easier to pull off. No matter your color selection—four or five shades darker than your skin tone or a liner that’s only two or three shades deeper—you can get it in on the trend whether you draw a straight line around your lips or blend for a softer finish.

Celebrity Inspiration

Other iconic figures in hip-hop have rocked this bold style, pairing a darker lip liner with a lighter lipstick shade. Fast forward to the present day, and this trend is returning but, reimagined with a modern twist.

Celebrities have played a significant role in popularizing the dark lip liner trend once again. Stars like Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, and Bella Hadid have been spotted embracing this bold look on red carpets and social media. Their influence has contributed to the trend’s resurgence and has encouraged makeup enthusiasts to experiment with their interpretations. 

Get the look by focusing the liner on the mouth’s outer corners before lightly feathering it around the rest of the mouth. Fill in almost the entire lip with the liner, then apply the balm or gloss to the center of the lips for a gorgeous shine. 

Keep scrolling for more brown lip liner inspiration from celebrities who have recently worn the trend.

Blended Two-Tone Lip Liner

The allure of the dark lip liner trend lies in its ability to create a dramatic and edgy yet elegant look. The contrast between the dark outline and the lighter lip color adds depth and dimension to the lips, making them appear fuller and more defined. This trend is perfect for those who want to make a statement with makeup and exude confidence. To update the trend, blend and diffuse the deeper liner shade into the lip color.

The resurgence of the dark lip liner trend is a testament to the cyclical nature of fashion and beauty. This edgy and elegant style has returned boldly, inspiring a new generation to experiment with their makeup looks. 

By embracing the dark lip liner trend, you can channel your inner ’90s and early 2000s nostalgia while infusing it with a fresh and modern twist. So, outline your lips, add some drama, and confidently rock the dark lip liner trend on your terms—and with plenty of confidence and flair.

What’s your favorite lip liner and gloss combo? Let us know in the comments below!

Sonya Magett

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