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20 Chic '90s Makeup Looks to Recreate

<p>Getty Images</p>

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Funky, frosty, surprisingly simple — that’s right, we’re talking 1990s makeup. The ’90s was a decade of contradictions, excess juxtaposed with irreverent grunge, pared-down minimalism set against quirky futurism, and those contrasts made for some seriously striking beauty. And with the resurgence of all things ’90s and early aughts, the decade’s most noteworthy makeup moves are getting a modern upgrade and are more wearable than ever.

“My mind instantly goes to the ’90s supermodel and iconic makeup looks by Kevyn Aucoin,” says makeup artist Omayma Ramzy. “Matte skin, matte eyeshadows, nudes and soft tones, lip liner, and brick-brown-toned lipsticks.”

Related: A Look Back at the Most Iconic Supermodels of the ‘90s

For Euphoria makeup lead Donni Davy, it’s all about application. “There’s an effortlessness and simplicity that comes along with the 1990s makeup style that I am such a fan of, and I use it in so many of the looks I do on set,” says Davy. “Eyeshadow is a wash of color over the lids or concentrated more along the lash line. Like, no cut crease, nothing graphic, just eyeshadow being used to color the lids.” The colors themselves range from shimmery pinks and blues to matte grays with lips, often lined, painted in nudes and brickish burgundies.



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The through-line here is straightforwardness. "There are ties between the 1970s and the 1990s with regard to soft applications of eyeshadow, and not generally a big emphasis on graphic or winged liners,” says Davy. That said, the addition of contemporary beauty’s want of artful touches blended with the no-sweat sensibilities of the 1990s makes for an ideal blend of old and new.

Here, 20 ‘90s-inspired makeup looks to help you come as you are, as you were, or as you want to be. 

Silver Shimmer

<p>Getty Images</p> Yara Shahidi

Getty Images

Yara Shahidi

Shimmering silver shadow and a peachy nude lip is an unquestionably ‘90s combination. Make like Yara Shahidi and add a feline flick of liner and a brushed-up brow to pull the look into this century. 

Cocoa Shadow

<p>Getty Images</p> Emily Ratajkowski

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Emily Ratajkowski

Our current lean toward warm browns is also defined by the ‘90s beauty scene. Emily Ratajkowski keeps her chocolate shadow current by pulling it into an eye-extending shape—and pairing it with ample contour. 

Pinks and Blues

<p>Getty Images</p> Sydney Sweeney

Getty Images

Sydney Sweeney

If reflective pink and blue were the predominant playful shades of the ’90s, then Sydney Sweeney’s look is the ultimate modern interpretation. A wash of pale pink shadow is punched up by a touch of silvery blue at the inner corners, the pastels grounded by black liner. 

Deep Liner

<p>Getty Images</p> Kylie Jenner

Getty Images

Kylie Jenner

Deep lip liner was a 1990s calling card—one which Kylie Jenner carries off with aplomb. Extra-long lashes and a swipe of glassy lip gloss turn this would-be retro move into a practice in referential glamour. 

Y2K Gaze

<p>Getty Images</p> Dove Cameron

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Dove Cameron

Dove Cameron’s aquamarine makeup is a late ‘90s fever dream. A bright blue frame and pressings of watery glitter play well with a pinkish nude lip—and the era’s face-framing tendrils.

Related: What Comes After Y2K Fashion?

More Is More

<p>Getty Images</p> Rowan Blanchard

Getty Images

Rowan Blanchard

Between the over-lined and gilded lips, brow-reaching wash of brownish silver shadow, and the matte-finish skin, Rowan Blanchard’s look is more ‘90s than now. Though the decade tended toward minimalism, the more-is-more moments were definitely present, and always memorable. 

Goth Glam

<p>Getty Images</p> Willow Smith

Getty Images

Willow Smith

The ‘90s weren’t all grunge and glitter—goth rock glam also had its place in the decade. Willow Smith’s black lips and harlequin liner offer an ode to the darker elements of the era. 

Latte Makeup

<p>Getty Images</p> Kendall Jenner

Getty Images

Kendall Jenner

“For a classic ‘90s look, we love seeing all the latte colors,” says Ramzy. Now that latte makeup has returned in full force, modernizing the throwback mode—a la Kendall Jenner—is as easy as relying on a palette of browns.

Frosty Finish

<p>Getty Images</p> Madelyn Cline

Getty Images

Madelyn Cline

Madelyn Cline’s pop star styling plays well with a sheer wash of frosty white shadow. But while the ‘90s would have found the hue on the lid alone, Cline’s inner corner application helps transport the moment.

Rainy Day Shadow

<p>Getty Images</p> Gigi Hadid

Getty Images

Gigi Hadid

Another retro shadow made new via its shaping. Gigi Hadid’s French blue shadow finds contemporary form via a straight-across cat-eye application.

Merlot Lip

<p>Getty Images</p> Taraji P. Henson

Getty Images

Taraji P. Henson

Ramzy lists brick-brown lips and arched brows as two quintessential ‘90s trends. Add to that a high, slicked ponytail and shimmering shadow, and you have Taraji P. Henson’s noteworthy look.

Chrome Lids

<p>Getty Images</p> Lupita Nyong'o

Getty Images

Lupita Nyong'o

A brick-brown lip plus ample sterling shadow (brushed to the brow!) make Lupita Nyong’o look like a time traveler from the mid-'90s.

Teal Glimmer

<p>Getty Images</p> Lili Reinhart

Getty Images

Lili Reinhart

Lili Reinhart’s deep teal shadow may be pulled from the past, but the subtle application at the outer corners feels modern. A pink lip and swirl of coordinated blush balances the look.

Nudes on Nudes

<p>Getty Images</p> Hailey Bieber

Getty Images

Hailey Bieber

Pour us another latte. Hailey Bieber’s all-over nude makeup—and its harmony of matte, gloss, and shimmer—is entirely today, but the palette finds roots in the past.

Related: How to Master Natural Makeup Looks Like an MUA

Bleached Brows

<p>Getty Images</p> Julia Fox

Getty Images

Julia Fox

Bleached brows are born of the ‘90s punk rock scene, a subversive trend that made its way to the decade’s runways. The striking look is still finding popularity today—even within looks a touch less literal than Julia Fox’s frost queen situation.

Burgundy Lip

<p>Getty Images</p> Margot Robbie

Getty Images

Margot Robbie

A pout painted burgundy is all Margot Robbie needs for a quiet ‘90s nod—though arched brows and face-framing tendrils don’t hurt.

Sterling Wing

<p>Getty Images</p> Hunter Schafer

Getty Images

Hunter Schafer

Another Y2K-era moment, Hunter Schafer’s chrome cat eye is cyborg chic, and calls to mind the sort of futurism of late-'90s predictions. But that pink lip, dewy skin, and wet-look hair? Those details are all about today.

Brickish Details

<p>Getty Images</p> Barbie Ferreira

Getty Images

Barbie Ferreira

Maybe it’s the bangs and bandana; maybe it’s the full face of brickish brown. Barbie Ferreira’s extended red liner and nearly nude lip team in an entirely ‘90s vibe and make the case for coordinated colors.

Matte Lip

<p>Getty Images</p> Dua Lipa

Getty Images

Dua Lipa

Matte finishes were a big part of the ‘90s that also finds favor today. Dua Lipa’s matte, pinkish nude lip is balanced by touches of shimmer and shine, all framed and furthered by an Old Hollywood mane.

Terracotta Nudes

<p>Getty Images</p> Taylor Hill

Getty Images

Taylor Hill

Taylor Hill’s nudes veer to the terracotta end of the palette—think stylish and summery. The subtly orange incorporation plays well with the model’s bronzer, creating a fresh, warming feel.

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