lip makeup

How to Get a ‘90s Ombré Lip in 5 Simple Steps

This throwback look is great for faking a plumper pout.
May 26, 2023
Ombre Lip

If you remember life in the ‘90s (or have an affinity for the decade), we’ll bet that you’re familiar with '90s makeup trends. From frosty lip gloss and spidery lashes to brown lipstick and heavy eyeliner, statement makeup looks dominated the decade. One of our favorites and arguably one of the most iconic looks from this time is ombré lips. Composed of dark lip liner blended into a lighter shade of lipstick, supermodels, musicians and celebrities alike frequently sported this makeup look during this time. 

Like most beauty trends, what was once old becomes new once again and aspects of grungy ‘90s makeup, like ombré lips, are making a major comeback on social media. Read on as we share a step-by-step guide on how to achieve an ombré lip look in five easy steps. 

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What Are ‘90s Ombré Lips? 

If you’re unfamiliar with the look, the ombré lips that were ultra-popular in the ‘90s featured dark, visible lip liner, paired with a contrasting shade (often a milky, nude hue) in the center of the lips and a layer of clear lip gloss. The lip liner was blended very subtly to create an ombré gradient while maintaining that contrast against the center of the lips. This makeup technique can be done with any shade, but back then, brown, beige and neutral shades were usually the go-to. 

Today, with the influx of ‘90s and Y2K trends back into mainstream media, brown lip liner is still just as popular. But, many are also flaunting an ombré lip look with more vibrant shades like red and pink.

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How to Create Ombré Lips 

To bring back all of the ‘90s nostalgia and recreate the trend, follow these five simple steps for a social media-worthy, ombré lip moment.

1. Exfoliate Your Lips 

Starting with smooth lips is incredibly important in order to make your lip products apply evenly 一 especially when you’re creating a lip-focused makeup look. With a lip scrub or a damp washcloth, gently exfoliate your lips to buff away any dead skin or dry flakes. If your lips feel dry after, tap on some lip balm, but make sure not to apply too much as you don’t want the lip liner you’re going to apply to slide around. 

2. Line Your Lips

Next, line your lips with a brown-toned lip liner like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner in More Chocolate or the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Anti-Feathering Lip Liner in Dark Chocolate. Trace the outline of your lips, keeping the line in the center fairly thin and going thicker at the outer edges. This will create the illusion of fuller lips, which is important depending on your lip shape

3. Diffuse the Lip Liner 

To create the ombré effect, use a small lip brush to gently fade the lip liner. Blend the color towards the center of your lip so it’s darkest at the lip line and fades in towards the center. 

4. Apply a Pale Lipstick Shade

Grab a nude lipstick that has similar undertones to the lip liner you chose, but make sure it’s three to four shades lighter. If you’re looking to create a really dramatic contrast, try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Matte-Camedia or Matte-Itude. If you prefer the ombré look to be more subtle, choose a lipstick that’s only two to three shades lighter than the liner. 

Apply the lipstick to the center of the lips and make sure not to go over any of the lip liner. With your finger or a clean lip brush, blend the edges of the lipstick with the darker lip liner to create a diffused, gradient effect.

5. Top Off the Look With Gloss

While you can certainly leave the look as is, it wouldn’t be a true nod to the ‘90s if you didn’t top it off with lip gloss. Back then, it was all about the shine, so applying a clear lip gloss like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Gloss Plump in Mirror will give it the perfect finishing touch. 

Next: How to Match Lip Liner to Lipstick for a Knock-Out Makeup Look


Photo Credit: IG/, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier

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