The 90s were a time when we didn’t know what undertones were, and the foundation might look a bit too orangey. However, there was so much more to learn about makeup in the 90s than figuring out that you shouldn’t have a line along the outside of your face and that orange foundation was anything but flattering. There was brown lipstick and gorgeous eye makeup, and we’ll never forget the impact the girls of the decade had on the industry.
Models like Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford were well-known. In the days before the internet, we pored over magazines while waiting in check-out lines to quickly glimpse the latest trends. It was more than just models, though. Gwen Stefani and other artists set the stage to turn makeup into what it is today: a way to express yourselves. These are some of the best ’90s makeup trends that to fall back in love with and enjoy today, as well as some we’re all grateful are gone.
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Bring Back Brown Lipstick
Brown lipstick and brown eyeliner were all over the runaways. You could find your favorite shade of brown from every brand imaginable. And we’re not talking about shades of nude lipstick. The bold brown hue made a statement to everyone who saw it. Lining it with lip liner made your lips pop, and it’s time to start wearing this shade again. It’s the perfect makeup trend that should come back every fall.
Magnetic Plush Paints By Nudestix ($28)
Magnetic Plush Paints are the perfect way to pull off one 90s trend after another. You can find them in a beloved brown shade, but that’s not the only thing you’ll love about them. They’re designed to be used on your lids, lips, or cheeks, so you can pull off amazing monochromatic looks. It’s also gluten-free!
Contouring For The Catwalk
Beauty gurus didn’t scour Instagram to see the latest looks from the world’s hottest models. Instead, it was all about what they were wearing at Fashion Week. Fashion Week was the biggest thing for the beauty industry, and every celebrity makeup artist knew it.
One thing that every model had in common was a perfectly sculpted face. Contouring wasn’t significant, but no celebrity makeup artist left it on the runway. Cheekbones and jawlines were always sculpted to a flawless finish.
Only use a contouring shade 1-2 shades darker than your natural skin tone for a more natural look. You’ll get the sculpted model look that you want without looking like you’re wearing a mask.
Contour Collections By Ogee Luxury Organics ($156)
Contour Collections by Ogee Luxury Organics give you three sculpting sticks to help you achieve the perfect contoured look. The shades included are all compatible with each other. Products from Ogee Luxury Organics are certified organic, all natural, made in the USA, cruelty-free and gluten-free. Not a fan of all three sculpting sticks? You can pick them up individually to rock the 90s contouring trend too!
This is one of the beauty trends that some people have never stopped doing, and we never will. There is nothing prettier than a seriously pigmented pastel eyeshadow. All you need is one color, and it doesn’t matter what color it is. If you love blue eyeshadow, pick up a heavenly baby blue eyeshadow and rock it! Create your custom eyeshadow palette full of all your favorite pastel colors at Unhidden Beauty!
I’m not rooting for water lining to come back because it can cause eye infections, but there is something about black liner that you will always love! The black liner wasn’t as artistic in the 90s as you see today. It was dark, grungy, and occasionally smudged out. This was long before we knew that rimming your entire lid with a black liner made your eyes look smaller or before we knew that water lining might be bad for your eyes.
When I say bold lips, I don’t just mean dark brown lips. We’re talking about dark lip liner, bold red lips, and almost no other face makeup. Wearing bold lips or brown lip liner with a precise brow shape, matte skin almost no other makeup was an iconic look anyone could nail today. Just keep the makeup natural, and make the lip color bold.
Bold lip colors, including our favorite dark brown shades, can make you look washed out. This is especially true if you have pale skin. To avoid that, add warmth to your face with a few dabs of bronzer.
e.l.f. Cosmetics Bronzer Palette ($9)
This four-shade bronzer palette is perfect for beginners that want to find the perfect shade. Use it to add warmth while you rock the hottest 90s makeup looks, or use these bronzers to create the contoured look you’ve dreamed of.
Dewy and glass-like skin is all the rage, but there’s something nostalgic about the matte foundation that splashed in the 90s. This makeup trend was about eliminating every trace of oil in sight, and no single drop was seen on anyone’s face.
You can pair your matte finish with almost any other makeup look. Go for a more natural, barely-there makeup look by adding a gloss and a dab of cheek tint, or pair it with all the grungy makeup from your collection. For a genuinely matte foundation, check out Maybelline Fit Me Matte.
Eyeliner was never the shade of your skin tone in the 90s. You didn’t make a statement with faux lashes. Instead, grunge eyeliner was one of the hottest 90s trends. You used dark black eyeliner along your lash lines and rocked it like Pamela Anderson. This is more than one of the throwback beauty trends. Instead, it’s a 90s makeup trend that never went out of style. Don’t forget to complete your 90s grunge makeup style with dark lipstick!
To nail this look, kohl eyeliner will be your best friend. Smudged-out eyeliner is a staple when it comes to grungey eye makeup. This eyeliner from L’Oreal comes with a built-in smudger perfect for pulling off this look!
Overline Your Lips
We all know the overlining the lips trick to give yourself a fuller pout, but the pioneers for this look were in the 90s. Use a brown liner to overline your lips, and throw on glossy pink or nude gloss to complete the look.
Overplucked brows were a horrible trend in the 90s, but that’s only because everyone wanted a perfectly precise brow. The arch was flawless, and no stray hair was in sight.
Barely There Makeup
Models like Kate Moss were known for wearing minimal makeup and looking fabulous. They would dab on a bit of pink blush with pastel eyeshadow and look gorgeous every time. This is one of the 90s beauty trends we still see today with minimal makeup. Thankfully, beauty brands are ready to give you everything you need for a no-makeup makeup look!
Ready to start pulling off the “no makeup” makeup look? This article has all the best products to do it with!
If you want to rock nineties makeup, pick up some lipstick or lip gloss to nail a frosty look. You can use darker colors or a frosty pink. These lip glosses are packed with glitter and shimmer to give your lips the ultimate glow-up!
NYX Filler Instinct Plumping Lip Polish Gloss ($7)
Pick up this lip gloss in Brunch Drunk for the perfect frosted lip look! It makes your lips look plumper while delivering the perfect amount of shimmer! Wear it by itself or as a lip topper over your favorite lipsticks.
Skinny eyebrows were so huge in the nineties that some people used eyeliner as eyebrows. I wouldn’t go that extreme, but there’s nothing wrong with saying goodbye to thick eyebrows for a more defined look. Don’t forget the brow gel to make them look perfectly maintained.
Glitter eyeshadow is a trend that keeps popping up, and that’s all thanks to the 90s. This ranges from subtle, transparent shadows with glitter flecks to full-blown metallic eyeshadow. You can pull off a one-color look or take it to the next level by creating a 90s smokey eye!
If you’re stuck on what colors to wear, remember that glitter in any color always pairs well with black eyeshadow. Transform it into a grungy look by smudging some kohl eyeliner around your eyes.
The inspiring makeup trends that we see today began to take shape in the 90s truly. Makeup was no longer about always having the perfect color combinations during this decade. Instead, it was all about using makeup to express your personality and showcase your individuality. Our favorite 90s makeup trends paved the way for how makeup is used as a form of self-expression today.