Whether you’re on a mission to recreate the best ’90s looks that serve as modern-day inspiration, or you’ve simply never stopped obsessing over the iconic blue eyeshadow, brown lipstick, or grungy black eyeliner, one thing is certain. The makeup trends from the ’90s are without a doubt emblematic.
It would be pretty challenging to find an era filled with more timeless— and conflicting — beauty looks than the 90s. Why did this decade manage to capture the hearts of many? Most likely because despite all the glitter and shimmer, this era had a little something for everyone, no matter your personal style.
From mastering the art of layering vibrant eyeshadow colors to the humble beginning of the facial contouring trend and, of course, the ’90s brown lipsticks, there is a range of nostalgic beauty looks that will forever be engraved in our minds.
This 90s makeup aesthetic throwback simply isn’t complete without Black women. Beyond their stunning beauty, these ladies have broken boundaries and served some of the most coveted beauty looks of all time. Via authentic self-expression, their 90s makeup and hair looks managed to influence and ensure that younger generations could see themselves reflected in film, television, and magazines. As always, HGC aims to uplift and expand the black community through designs that reflect our style but to also spread a message, just like our black by popular demand collection.
For millennials, the ’90s represent a joyful nostalgia that calms and revives the most precious childhood memories. We rounded up a list of some of the decade’s most memorable and style-inspiring makeup looks that are certainly worth recreating today.
Of all the makeup finishes out there, matte was certainly the go-to option for every 90s makeup look. Although recreating the over-matte look the 90s girls were swearing by can definitely go the wrong way, swapping your traditional chalky powder for a tinted finish is definitely a better option for the present day.
In the makeup realm, the return of the dark lipstick was not at all surprising. Many call it “the Naomi,” a tribute to the staple style worn by supermodel Naomi Campbell. Naomi was famous for creating a lip look that soon after became a signature style of the ’90s. However, channelling your inner nostalgia doesn’t mean that you must follow this celebrity-approved trend to a tee. Rather, you can swipe on a brown and beige lipstick hue to embrace the ’90s girl aesthetic. Evidently, brown lips are super-flattering on every skin tone and looks so fresh.
If matte lipsticks aren’t for you, there is always the option of adding a gleaming bronze-gold effect with the help of a natural tinted gloss for a fresh take on the ’90s makeup look.
That healthy, naturally bronzed look never goes out of style, however, for the 90’s girls body shimmer was somewhat of a necessity. This glowy trend has survived and transformed into shimmering body oils or classic powders in all the places where your body catches the light for the ultimate sun kissed glow. Luckily, this high shine look still exists decades later.
You’ve probably seen cat-winged eyeliner on modern-day celebrities, but this beloved beauty trend has a rich history. Applying precise and even lines might be a bit tricky at first, but thankfully, we have plenty of inspiration.
In case you’ve already mastered the application process, maybe it’s time to revive a messy, ‘90s grunge makeup style with smudged eyeliner instead. Pick up your favorite black eye pencil and line across your top and bottom lash lines. Go ahead and use a smudge brush to blend it further on your lids and underneath your eyes.
Glittery shadows are certainly making a big comeback. While the best 90s makeup looks suggest pairing your glittery eyelids with the celebrity-favorite red lipstick, a modern version of this iconic trend could be a glitter eyeshadow with a simple glossy lip. Potent doses of color, especially blue, will always remind us of the ’90s-era.
We couldn’t mention ’90s makeup without referring to the frosted lips trend. The 1990’s were a celebration of iridescent pastels. You can wear a frosty lip with a matching frosty eye or the aforementioned smudged eyeliner for a classic ’90s aesthetic makeup look. You can start with creamy lipstick and pat a powder highlighter with lots of luminosity on top.
Even though the last decade has been a celebration of full eyebrows, the 90s are known for serving us with thin, perfectly plucked eyebrow looks. Clean and defined arches were also a must! Opt for a pencil to outline your brow shape. Fill in the gap with light strokes and then go ahead and comb up to follow your natural arch shape for the perfect 90’s brow aesthetic.
90's French manicure
Sure, nail art might not be considered as a “makeup trend”, however, the quintessential ‘90s manicure deserves a spot on this list. With a nude or pale pink base and a crescent of white on the ends, the French tip trend was the number one choice back in the day. Arguably, the best ’90s looks might not be as a celebration of minimalism, but French manicures were everyone’s simple yet sophisticated choice.
Today the French manicure is back, only this time it’s all about vibrant colors and unexpected hue combinations. From lilac, pink, and blue to lighter base colors and darker colors on the crescent, the French tip trend is bolder and more colorful than ever before.
Dark berry lips
Last, but not least, dark, vampy-like berry lip was definitely one of the most prominent 90s beauty trends. Even though this trend hasn’t ever quite disappeared, today, the trends are more focused on brown lip colors. The best part is that you can wear your favorite berry hues in a plethora of different ways including matte, glossy, with or without an eyeliner, etc.