Don't Look Back In Anger: The 90's Makeup Trends We'd Rather Forget

While sorting through my makeup collection recently I came across the first lipstick I ever owned. I was 7 years old and it was a very frosty light-yellow-gold from Rimmel called Galaxy; I can remember vividly that it made me look incredibly washed out and is quite a strange choice for a girl of any age, let alone a 7 year old. With the 1990s grunge trend back on the rise (albeit in a much more updated and wearable style,) I'm taking a look back at the 90s beauty trends that we all hope will stay in the 90s.

Chocolate Lips
While nude dusky pinks were the lip fashion of choice throughout the 90s, a red-brown lip (think Mac Taupe or Film Noir) was 'a la mode' for those trying their hand at something a bit different. Sported by young celebrities from Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Aniston, to Christina Aguilera and Victoria Beckham, the brown lip was particularly striking when paired with pale skin and a thinly lined eye. Translated onto the city streets, this trend was often worn with a bootlace or tattoo-style chocker necklace - both of which should definitely stay in the 90s too.

Grey Eyeshadow
Famous as part of the 'organic eye colour' trend, matte grey eyeshadow was a popular pick for a paired down look when blended as a single colour up to the crease of the eyelid. Winged out to the sides and with nothing under the eye, this shadow emulated a 60s vibe which hasn't yet gone out of fashion. However, as a single colour I sincerely hope the dull grey hue won't be making a comeback.

Flat Matte Skin
For anyone too old to star in Saved By the Bell, the 90's skin style was all about the matte look with a barely-there hint of the dewiness we opt for today. Powdered down to prevent any shine, the trick was all in the contouring rather than highlighting. While matte skin in itself isn't a punishable offence, a face so matte it looks flat and lifeless is a world away from the more realistic radiant glows that have been developing over the past few years.

Glitter Glitter
A stark contrast to the other trends of the decade, if you were secretly practising Spice Girls dance routines in your bedroom there’s a good chance you would have had some form of glitter in your makeup drawer. Glitter was everywhere. Literally: in hair sprays, body roll-ons, lipglosses and even in loose pots that were applied to the face. Luckily the chunky glitter of the 90s  has been ditched in favour of subtle highlighters, reflective eye dusts and bronzing body shimmers. 

The Real Grunge
Nirvana's over-casual fashion legacy was a fundemental part of the decade and the 90's grunge style showed none of the glam that it does today. Taking inspiration from Courtney Love, black eyeliner was messily smeared around the eyes (with the intention of looking like you'd slept in your makeup,) while blood-red lipstick was worn to strongly contrast against a pale complexion. With the grunge fashion taking its name from the American slang 'grungy' (which literally meant filthy,) the unwashed hair and day-old make up look can definitely stay in the 90s, in favour of this year's updated and purposeful trend.

Which 90s trends do you hope won’t be making a comeback?

Written by Kirsty Paterson


  1. I fear the day that lipliner a shade or two darker than your lipstick makes a reappearance. Admittedly I was too young for make-up in those days, but I remember being shocked at the time, and I continue to shudder at the thought of it now. Having said that Charlie from Big Brother this year, was sporting that look, and she is only 27, so can't even justify it by saying she wore it first time around!
    Such a fun, unique post! x

  2. Anonymous30.8.13

    Such a great post- I loved the 90s, but am glad these trends won't be making a re-appearance any time soon too! I particularly hope flared jeans won't come back, don't think I'll be willing to follow that trend!

  3. Oh god, is it bad that I loved all of these trends? True 90s! xx

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  4. Hahaha, you've just reminded me of my gold roll-on body glitter, beaded choker, and UV green body art pen. I seem to remember wearing all three at the same time...

    Liz xx

    Distract Me Now Please

  5. Oh goodness I remember all the glitter it really was everywhere I remember having the roll on ones and the ones you spray in your hair my dad used to hate them as it all went in the bath when I washed it off then he would have a bath after and come out all glittery hahaha! Good old 90's!

    Jamie-Lee | Glitter Infatuation | Beauty & Lifestyle Blog!

  6. Brown lipstick! I completely forgot about that one and it can definitely stay in the 90s and never come back. I'm definitely guilty of glitter lipgloss and glitter hairspray - and does anyone remember those tubes of glitter suspended in jelly that you could just put everywhere? Eurgh!

  7. I remember some of my awful 90s makeup choices. I thought pairing nude lips with a matte face and slicked back ponytail hair was good. Oh no... But, we may look back in 20 years time and wonder why we wanted that dewy effect. xo

    Adrienne | Late Night Nonsense | Bloglovin'

  8. Does anybody remember Mini Buns? Gosh I dread their comeback. Don't feel like washing the hair? or a Bad hair day? Out came the mini buns. Butterfly clips were cute, they were good up until they paired up with mini buns.


  9. so pretty!


  10. Despite the changes in being cool or not cool I have not stopped wearing glitter (-:


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