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Hottest Makeup Trends of the 1990s

by Ossiana Tepfenhart 4 years ago in makeup
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An 80s kid takes a look at the makeup trends of the 1990s they wish they could have tried out.

The 90s were a very good time to grow up. I, myself, was a 90s kid. When I was young, I got to see the start of the boom of the internet as well as some of the last "teen classic" years that are so commonly illustrated in the 80s movies of yore.

Due to the fact that I was 12 by the time that the 90s ended, I missed a lot of opportunities to experience all this era had to offer. Looking back, the biggest regret I had was not being a teenager back then.

With 90s club life having been one of the best in history, my biggest regret has to be that I wasn't old enough to experiment with club kid makeup trends of the 1990s...such as the ones below.

Cybergoth Makeup and Cyberlox

Though most people think that cybergoth started in the 2000s, it really was one of the underground's most infamous makeup trends of the 1990s. This look was characterized by neon eye colors, "digital" eyeliner designs, and of course, special effects lenses.

One of the makeup trends that I really, truly miss is the use of cyberlox in hair. These were hair extensions made of ultra-lightweight material called tubular crin, and gave you the appearance of having tubes coming out of your skull.

Admittedly, I've tried this trend. It's not easy to pull off. Even so, I love rocking it from time to time, especially if I'm at a concert featuring some of the best goth bands ever to perform.

The cool thing about cybergoth makeup these days is that it's easier to do than ever before. Kat Von D's hyperpigmented eyeshadow palette will help you feel like the dystopian goth stuck in the circuitboard faster than ever.

Nude Lipstick with Darker Liner

Back before we had contouring that actually did face framing right, we had this sly (not really) trick. Everyone from Kate Moss to the Spice Girls did it. It was the classic "nude lipstick with darker, blended liner" trick.

The goal of this trick was to add a little volume to the lips without resorting to injections. It was one of the makeup trends of the 1990s that most people love to hate, but I hate to say it, I still love it.

Whether you go for the classic brown lips, or foray into other lip colors, this is just an awesome look.

And that's why having a simple lip pencil to add in a little extra color never hurts. Giorgio Armani makes an amazingly smooth pencil in a variety of nude shades.

Classic NYC Club Kid Makeup

If you've ever watched Party Monster, then you already know that look I'm talking about. This was one of the 90s makeup trends that personified the crazy partying and excess that the scene was about.

James St. James may have invented it, but it still remains one of the most individualistic trends I've ever seen. While this isn't one of the makeup trends of the 1990s that most would ever wear, there's something about it that made it undeniably impressive in its own right.

Faux lashes, like the ones found on 90s clubkids, are still standard clubland attire—even if the wild drag queen makeup isn't. These falsies look cute without looking scary.

Face Jewels

Unlike other makeup trends of the 1990s, this one is making a comeback in a huge way thanks to music festivals. Face jewels, during the 90s, were beauty trends that were almost exclusive to the club kid, psytrance, and underground rave scenes.

However, they looked awesome—especially when done the way Gwen Stefani did them. They still look awesome. If you don't agree, I'm sorry, but you're wrong. They are amazing.

Gypsy Shrine makes a killer individual jewel set for those who want to get creative.

Body Glitter

Honestly, did this trend ever really go away in full? We're not so sure it has. But, back in the 90s, body glitter was the way to go at the clubs, often to the point that it'd end up on clothing of people who never even enjoyed glitter at all.

It's still around, and to a point, is now considered to be mainstream makeup for music festivals, concerts, and even Instagram-worthy portrait photos. Thankfully, today's body glitter is a lot less harmful to sensitive skin and also takes on a more shimmery look.

Too Faced's Ultra-Fine Glitter is a great way to avoid the chunky, trashy-ish look of 90s glitter while still killing it on the glam side.

Metallic Eyeshadow

Metallic eyeshadow was one of the makeup trends from the 1990s that basically personified the decade. It was shimmery, futuristic, and at times, over the top. Even so, it was very hard to find someone who wasn't able to rock it beautifully.

The problem with metallic eyeshadow, back in the day, was that it would crease, smear, or get so metallic-y that it kind of looked bad. These days, the trend is back and the metallic appearance is way more subtle and streamlined.

What's even better about the return of this trend is that they have amazing eyeshadow colors for every eye color out there. Speaking as someone who has a love of wearing metallic eyeshadows for their green eyes, this trend will always be part of my wardrobe.

Too Faced made a gorgeous eyeshadow palette that still has a little bit of metallic edge to it, without the insane levels of shine from the 90s. We approve.

Dark Red Lips

If you were grunge, goth, or just really into the alternative rock scene, then you already know what this trend was all about. It was all about showing off your inner vamp—and, honestly, this is one of the makeup trends from the 1990s that never fully died out.

Back in the day, it was paired with foundation that was just a pinch too light. Though that trend faded as it got increasingly paler, the truth is that the classic 90s "edge" look still has a loyal following because it looks that damned good.

RealHer has a striking red lipstick that looks great on all skin tones and kicks the drama up a notch.

Frosty Lipgloss

Shimmer was everywhere in the 90s, and people had a tendency of overdoing it. So, you'd see metallic lips, shimmery eyeshadows, body glitter and...basically the rest of my day-to-day makeup set, really. (What? I like sparkles.)

Frosty lipgloss was one of those makeup trends from the 1990s that was incredibly hard to pull off. It was light, shimmery, and somehow always had the magical ability to make your teeth look yellow.

If you were one of the few and proud who could pull it off, kudos.

This icy, frosty shade of lip gloss offers a great way to top a darker shade of lipstick. Maybe you can avoid the "yellow tooth" phenomenon of the 90s after all...

Pencil Thin, Drawn on Eyebrows

To a point, I want to try this trend simply because I want to see how awful I can look. For reasons unbeknownst to me, this was one of the absolute hottest makeup trends from the 1990s—and it continued on into the early 2000s thanks to Jersey Shore guido culture.

Some people really do look great with thin eyebrows. However, not all of us do. I, myself, look unstable with thin brows and do not have the eye for being able to draw them on. Such is life.

Adding a little bit of brow penciling into your natural brows is one of the better things we learned to do during this era. The Brow Wiz pencil from Anatasia Beverly Hills is a good tool if you want to get your brows on fleek.

Blue Eyeshadow

Now mostly relegated to the edges of society where women with names like "Lurlene" hang out with eight kids outside their trailer park, blue eye shadow remains one of the most controversial makeup trends of the 1990s.

Sadly, I'll be the first to admit that I'm squarely in the "anti-all-blue" category, but that I'm a believer that blue eyeshadow can be used well as long as it's one of many colors on your face. The hard part, though, is having a skin tone that works well with blue eyeshadow.

Frankly speaking, this is a 90s makeup trend I'd like to try, but would be very unlikely to enjoy the results of.

Blue eyeshadow has finally gotten an update. This palette from Urban Decay has three blueish hues that can be paired with other colors for a strikingly exotic look worthy of the runway.


About the author

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of New Jersey. This is her work account. She loves gifts and tips, so if you like something, tip her!

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