Lip Liner And Gloss Are A Match Made In Makeup Heaven. Here's Why

Many fashion and makeup looks come and go, but one classic look that has always been constant and recently soared in popularity on social media over the past few months is the iconic lip liner and gloss combo "trend." The simple yet impactful lip look, which features juicy lip gloss that's contoured with a dark and rich lip liner, recently circled back around on TikTok after Hailey Bieber "dubbed" the makeup technique "brownie glazed lips"; however, the combo has a rich history rooted in going against the typical mainstream beauty standards that date back to before the model was born.

While Bieber renaming the makeup look sparked quite a bit of controversy, one thing we must note is that it did potentially introduce another generation to the simple makeup technique that's known to many women across Black and Hispanic diasporas simply as "lip liner and lip gloss." Iconic since it first reached mainstream popularity over 30 years ago, everyone from supermodel Naomi Campbell to the group of cholas down the street was often seen sporting the lip look that's basically a match made in makeup heaven.

It's giving '90s nostalgia

Mimicking multiple fashion and beauty styles and trends from arguably one of the best decades, it's no surprise to see many people across social media dipping into the nostalgic pool of the '90s and rocking the minimalism look that's making a comeback, including the return of baggy cargo jeans, bucket hats, and the iconic huge hair claw clips. It's safe to say there's something about the simplistic beauty of the '90s' fashions, makeup looks, and trends that seem to have a strong chokehold on us.

As one of the most popular beauty trends of the '90s, the stunning and simplistic combo of lip liner and lip gloss is a highly coveted look of today and easily proves what we all know: the '90s beauty staple is having a much-deserved moment right now. "It's become so popular again because it plays into the '90s nostalgia trend and pays homage to the glamor of that time in a way that still feels effortless," David Birdwell, a makeup artist and the BUXOM Cosmetics executive director of global education and artistry, tells HelloGiggles.

An ode to women of color

Given how favored the '90s were, it's almost expected to see an abundance of people across social media channel throwback pictures of their family members or favorite celebrity from the '90s walking the red carpet who donned the lip combo of a darker lip liner and a nude lip gloss. However, while the lip gloss and lip liner combo was easily one of the most favorable beauty moments at the time, it was also simultaneously one of the few makeup options women of color had available for them in a beauty industry that intentionally ignored and excluded women of color. "Shades of brown weren't even considered in the makeup industry...Black and brown women had to be the creators of their own beauty with so few references and tools," acclaimed makeup artist and Fashion Fair Cosmetics' global makeup ambassador Sam Fine tells Allure

With the exception of a few makeup brands, many women of color had to work with what they had access to — black and brown brow pencils and eyeliners — which happened to be flattering against darker skin tones. "Black and brown women had to be the creators of their own beauty with so few references and tools," Fine further told Allure. Although unfortunate, this experience inspired and unearthed this cultural makeup statement in the homes of many Black and brown women, and it would made its way mainstream.

Channeling femininity

For those of us who grew up watching our moms, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters effortlessly line their pout with their chocolate or black liner and apply clear lip gloss to their lips at the end of their makeup routine, we longed to do at some point when we transitioned from young kids into our teenage years and eventually adulthood. Along with spritzing a few sprays of perfume onto our bodies and adorning ourselves with bold statement jewelry, this pairing of lip liner and lip gloss was truly the ultimate sign of femininity.

Before it went mainstream, this combo defined femininity for the women who were both not acknowledged or seen in the world of beauty but who also had to learn how to create their own standard of beauty. They needed to view themselves as the focal point of beauty rather than abide by the typical American beauty standards set in place for white women. Professor Bernadine Hernandez, Ph.D., from the University of New Mexico identifies the liner look as a "gender performance" of femininity, albeit not a "proper" femininity, per Allure. "If you think about the lip liner that's not really blended — it's not proper, it's not right," Dr. Hernandez tells the outlet. "Even the outlining of the lips, it's something that's very symbolic of a type of gender performativity that is definitely racialized."

How to wear the iconic combo

Pairing lip liner and gloss together to give you the perfect look for your pout is quite simple. The first step is to prep your lips by exfoliating with your favorite lip exfoliant to remove any dry and flaky skin from your lips to help smooth them out. There are so many DIY lip scrubs and options available to purchase; however, both Fresh lip scrub and Pro Kiss'r Lip-Loving Scrubstick are our favorites. Next, you'll simply want to apply a light lip balm to help zap some moisture into your lips and prevent them from drying out and chapping.

The third step is to apply the first part of the iconic duo: the lip liner. Depending on the look you want to achieve, you can opt to reach for a darker brown lip liner and trace the pencil on the perimeter of your lips (or go slightly above if you want to achieve a fuller-looking pout) or fill in your lips completely with a lip liner. If you choose to go for the latter option, celebrity makeup artist and Dior Makeup brand ambassador Sabrina Bedrani recommends using a lip liner that's not too dry, especially since it will be applied all over the lips (via Coveteur). If the line is too harsh, use your finger to soften it out before moving on to the final step of nailing this lip look, which is simply applying a clear or nude lip gloss to your lips.