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TikTok’s “Cherry Cola” Lip Trend Replaced All My Lipsticks

Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
Finding the ultimate nude lipstick that suits your skin tone to a tee is no easy feat. It's not an exaggeration to say that I tried hundreds before landing on Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Runway Royalty, the ultimate cool nude. But I'm ready to shelve it entirely in favor of TikTok's Cherry Cola lip trend.
If you're a Beauty In A Tik regular, you'll know that I'm always putting my lips on the line for one hack or another. Lip slugging? My chapped lips are thanking me. Oval-ling my lips for extra plumpness? It works. TikTok's "Cherry Cola" (or "Cherry Coke") trend is more of a makeup movement than a smart hack, but it intrigued me all the same — not least because "Cherry Cola Lips" has 117 million mentions on the app (and counting).

What is the "Cherry Cola" lip trend?

The look is simple and consists of lining and filling in your lips with a burgundy, brown, or nude lip pencil. The trick is to apply this all over, rather than just on the lip line. The next step is to enlist a bold red lip gloss, again applied all over. I wouldn't have paired these shades naturally, but the way the red tweaks the brown to a just-bitten, ruddy scarlet really does bring lips to life.
The Cherry Cola vibe is so pretty, it's kind of mesmerizing. I first came across the look on TikToker @blendsbypouja, who used NYX Professional Makeup Butter Lip Gloss in Red Velvet over a brown Buxom Cosmetics lip pencil. Since then, makeup artists like @musthavesxt and @soulsophiamua, as well as beauty content creators such as @ringaroundtherosy and @__jzaa, have followed suit and amassed heaps of compliments. The look is a variation on the trending douyin lips, a lush, berry-toned lip hack that originated in China and has since swept through Korea, Japan, and now the UK and US.
@musthavesxt More like black cherry pepsi cola.. Tarte maracuja juicy lip plump honey suckles #glossybalm #cherrylips #lipstick ♬ original sound - Tanem
The technique isn't exactly groundbreaking and, to state the obvious, makeup looks involving brown lip liner are nothing new either. The product is a timeless classic championed by women of color especially, and has seen us through the '90s and beyond. But instead of a clear gloss or something nude in the middle of the lips, TikTok's beauty enthusiasts are leaning into vivid reds. Perhaps it's something to do with our newfound obsession with mixing our own lip gloss combos, or having fun with color theory. I think it's the ultimate lip look to complement our preoccupation with dewy blush and juicy skin ahead of spring.

I tried it

I try to use up my makeup products before I look to new ones so I reached for the Morphe x Ashley Strong Lip Pencil in Gilded Spirit to recreate this look. [Editor's note: This Morphe collaboration has since been discontinued, but the Lip Pencil in Honeymoon, $6, is a close match.] You can't go wrong with a MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil, though, as the shade range is more extensive than others. One thing to note is that if you're applying lip liner all over your lips, they tend to become pretty dry. Before I go in with any lip pencil or even lipstick, I slather my lips with The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides. This is an excellent moisturizer, which I use most days, but I've found that it makes for an even better lip base.
I didn't have a very pigmented red gloss on hand, but I really like the new NYX Professional Makeup Fat Oil Lip Drip Gloss in Newsfeed, $9, which is a sheer red. I could have stopped here, but to intensify the "Cherry Coke" color, I used a tiny bit of bright red lipstick (Valentino Beauty Rosso Valentino). I slicked this over top the brown lip liner, leaving the space around the edge of my lips free from gloss.
I'm a devoted makeup wearer and I can't quite believe that I hadn't thought to combine these two lip colors until now. I get why TikTok has coined it "Cherry Cola lips": the brown tones down the vibrant red to lend it a burnt quality that errs on burgundy but feels fresh and juicy for spring, rather than autumnal. I much prefer it to my signature nude, which now feels a little outdated in comparison.
@refinery29 Cherry cola might be our new favorite (lip) flavor #beautyinatik #makeuptutorial #beforeandafter ♬ Sleepy - Gui

The final verdict

"Brown and red is a powerful combo," agrees makeup artist Mira Parmar. "They actually complement each other as the brown gives the definition and the red lends the punch. What I love in particular is that there are so many shades to play with, and there is something for everyone's skin tone."
Parmar prefers to use a brown eyeliner pencil to define and fill in the lips, namely Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'n' Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in Barbarella Brown. If you'd rather stick to lip liner, her favorite is Vieve Modern Lip Definer in Bark. (There are lighter and darker shades to choose from depending on your skin tone.)
"For the red," Parmar says, "I love By Terry Lip Expert Shine in My Red and Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lip Color in Velvet Ribbon with a clear gloss for maximum 'Cherry Coke' drama." The key, adds Parmar, is to blend (which you can do using a lip brush) to create that ombré lip. But I found that within a few minutes of wear, the gloss pretty much did this for me, melting into the brown lip liner to create a diffused effect.
If TikTok is anything to go by, this rusty, cherry lip suits everyone, but I have one issue: loading up on gloss means it's not the most practical makeup trend. Throughout the day, the gloss spilled over my lip line and collected in the outer corners of my mouth. Yet I can't help but be sold on the Cherry Cola color. Since my first attempt, I've been doing this regularly but with Vaseline, which is thicker in texture and therefore less likely than a gloss to slip and slide.
The best thing about this slightly vampy lip look? It garners a hell of a lot of compliments.
Shop our picks for creating the Cherry Cola lips trend, below:
This story was originally published on Refinery29UK.
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