Hailey Bieber was chastised over the weekend for appropriating a makeup technique popularized by Latinas and Black and brown women since the 1990s in a TikTok video about “brownie glazed lips.”
Bieber’s original video, which has 2.9 million views since it was posted on Aug. 23, features the model wearing brown lip liner with a clear glossy lip treatment from her beauty brand Rhode, with the caption “ready for all the fall things including brownie glazed lips.”
The use of brown lip liner and clear gloss has long been favored by women with darker skin tones, and Bieber doesn’t claim to have invented the lip combo in the video, but her post prompted an influx of primarily white TikTok users to recreate the look and credit Bieber as their inspiration.
As the trend gained traction, critics slammed the framing of a long-practiced beauty technique by women of color as having been “started” by a white celebrity. The controversy erupted over the weekend when the topic began to trend on Twitter.
One video, in particular, in which creator Victoria Lyn referred to the beauty trend as “Hailey Bieber’s go-to fall lip combo,” was cited so many times by other creators arguing that branding the technique “brownie glazed lips” is problematic and meant to help sell Bieber’s cosmetics.
Twitter users highlighted the beauty trend’s longevity and how it was popular with women of color long before Bieber posted about it; they also pointed out how the racism inherent in beauty ideals means that Bieber is being celebrated for doing what women of color have been criticized for.
Some of Bieber’s fans claimed that her mother is Brazilian and may have been the model’s inspiration. However, the look has long been associated with the distinct aesthetics of Cholas, a subculture of first and second-generation Mexican Americans, as well as Black and brown women, who frequently used brown brows and eyeliners and clear lip gloss to create nude lip color when the market lacked shade options to match their skin tones.
The implications extend far beyond TikTok. Though beauty standards are constantly shifting, the idealization of whiteness in beauty remains.
In a Friday TikTok video, Latina creator @benulus said she regularly wears a dark liner and gloss combo in her videos and gets criticized for it, arguing that white women’s appearances are rarely scrutinized in the same way that women of colors are.
“A white woman does it—it’s going to become a trend. It’s going to be praised,” she said in her video. “I’m so flattered that Hailey Bieber always gets inspired by my community, a POC community. But because she does it now, all the people that told me that these lips are ugly are exactly the ones that are going to fall behind that trend.”