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The 1990’s Makeup Guide

We love so many things about the 90s: the thriving pop music scene, TV shows, video games, and many outdoor activities. The memorable years of this decade celebrated individuality and unique styles. If you are in the mood to know about the best and most popular 1990s makeup trends, this guide gives you a detailed overview. We will also offer a 1990s makeup tutorial if you want to embrace the 1990s makeup look. 

Fashion and Beauty Scene in the 1990s

When it comes to beauty and makeup, fashion and beauty enthusiasts looked up to the decade’s most famous fashion icons. From models to celebrities and musicians, everyone had his/her signature style. 

If you pick up any magazine from the 90s, you will come across glamorous supermodels, Hollywood stars with shimmery body makeup, and musicians with dreamy and smokey eye makeup. 

Crimped hair was popular in the decade, and actresses like Tia Carrere gave her rivals some serious competition. However, other styles like Princess Diana’s short haircut, Jennifer Anniston’s straightened hair, and Britney Spears’ wavy strands were also quite popular. 

Top 1990s Makeup Trends 

Let’s take a look at some of the hottest 1990s makeup and beauty trends. 

  1. Burgundy Lipstick

Check out some of the most memorable fashion photos from the 90s, and you will see most of the models and celebrities wearing Burgundy lipstick. The decade’s favorite lip color was definitely a dark berry hue with a tinge of brown. 

Many celebrities and fashion icons sported this beautiful lip color. Even today, you will spot many teens and ladies wearing the dramatic Burgundy lip shade to celebrate the 90s look. However, the updated version comes with a glossy finish. Instead of a traditional 90s matte look, you can choose a glossy maroon lipstick to look more relevant. 

One of the reasons why we still love wearing Burgundy lipstick is because it is the perfect color for cold weather. Wear this lipstick along with black mascara, flawless foundation, and light brown shadow, and you will look straight from a 90s fashion magazine.

  1. Brown lipstick

TV stars from the 90s loved wearing brown shades of lipsticks. Be it, Uma Thurman, in Pulp Fiction or Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, brown lipstick was all the rage. Fashion divas loved emulating these legendary stars by wearing the same shade. 

The brown lip shade revisited the current makeup scene when Kylie Jenner launched her ‘True Brown K’ lip kit. Today, you can find all shades of brown to go well with every single tone. You can choose the best one as per your taste or complexion. 

  1. Blue Eyeshadow

While lipsticks were the focal point of the 1990s makeup trends, eye shadows had a profound impact too. Among the most popular colors, blue eye shadow was the hottest choice. This makeup trend was also popular in the 80s but was in full swing during the 90s. We don’t know of any girl or lady from the decade who didn’t experiment with blue-hued eye makeup trends. 

  1. Grunge Eyeliner

The grunge eyeliner of the 1990s made a recent comeback. But back then, a thick black kohl pencil was all that you needed for looking effortlessly cool. A messy look portrayed the decade’s rebellious style, and many musicians incorporated it as their signature look. Adding black eye shadow was another way to adopt the grunge style. Two coats of mascara finished off the look. Some celebrities and stars soften the effect by adding some shimmer or glitter to the eyelids. 

Today, beauty stylists recreate the style with either a raccoon look or a subtle application. 

  1. Simple Black Eyeliner

Apart from the blue eye shadow and the grunge look, the majority of women preferred subtle eye makeup. The use of mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow was a common part of every makeup routine. However, not everyone preferred the grunge look. 

The best part about the 1990s makeup style was that everyone believed in creating their signature style. That meant women usually chose makeup trends according to their preferences. For example, many women did not want to create a dramatic grunge look and preferred choosing muted lip shades and subtle blush and eye shadow colors. 

  1. Frosted Look

We can’t talk about the 1990s makeup trend without including frosted lips. Blue eye shadow and frosted pink lips made heads turn back at every prom or school dance. 

  1. Natural-looking Skin 

A low-key, natural look was a crucial part of the 90s beauty trends. Many makeup artists and stylists did not consider foundation to be a necessity. However, using blush or shimmer was quite popular for adding glam to the overall look. 

  1. Hair flowers

Blunt cuts, messy buns, and short hair of the 90s replaced the perms and curls of the 80s. But there was another pretty trend. 

Do you remember Drew Barrymore with beautiful flowers in her hair? The pretty floral hairstyles from the 1980s continued to rule in the nineties. Women loved sticking single daisy flowers around their mane for creating casual chaos of petals.

Subtle makeup and pink lip shades complimented these hairdos. Women paired the floral hairstyle with shimmery pink lipstick and muted eye shadows. 

  1. Body Shimmer

The shimmer and glimmer of the 90s are impossible to forget. One of the most famous 1990s makeup trends was body glitter. We don’t think anyone from the 2020s will revive this trend. But back in the 90s, body glitter was the easiest way to look cool and chic. 

Many makeup brands launched dozens of products to make women shine like a diamond. The use of bronzing oil was also popular for adding a warm glow to your natural skin tone. Many stars from the decade flaunted sparkle-coated body parts to create memorable photoshoots and magazine covers. 

  1. Shadow Roots

The look is all about embracing your natural roots, and our bank accounts are already sighing with relief. If you don’t know about this fabulous trend, shadow roots are when a colorist doesn’t touch the roots but blends the color with the rest of your hair. 

That was a great way to enjoy low-maintenance blonde hair. The finished result is more natural, and the upkeep is less expensive. While shadow roots are still quite popular, they were quite a happening trend in the 1990s. 

  1. Super-Smoky Eyes

As the 80s punk style began fading in the 90s, the decade came up with its unique style. The grunge look inspired thousands of beauty enthusiasts and celebrities to flaunt super-smokey eyes, dark shades of lipstick, and thick eyeliner. 

The famous trend is back in the fashion scene and looks great with a leather jacket and boots. You can create the smokey effect by combining dark eye shadows with mascara and eyeliner. 

  1. Dark Lip Liner

Another one of our favorite 1990s makeup trends is the use of harsh and super-dark lip liners. While nobody tries to emulate this trend anymore, the 90s were all about adding more depth and glam to your lips by using a lip liner. Women used a darker lip liner for a light shade lipstick. Some liked keeping the mascara and the lipstick separate, while others blended them together for a long-lasting matte finish. This popular makeup hack made the lips look plumper and more beautiful. 

  1. French Manicure

The famous French manicure from the 90s was a great way to flaunt your cool style. A pale pink or nude base set the base for an s crescent of white on the ends. Not only this amazing manicure styled added natural beauty to the nails, but it also indicated how fashionable you were during those years. 

The minimalist trend was one of the most popular things about the 90s that portrayed sophistication and elegance. Today, the new French manicure is back with improved and advanced kits. 

  1. Arched Eye Brows

Unlike the busy and natural-looking eyebrows from the 80s, fashionable women of the 90s preferred precise arches. During those years, no woman wanted to step out of the house without perfectly plucked eyebrows. Many women had to use a pencil for outlining their shape and created a natural arch shape for a defined look. 

1990s Makeup and Fashion Icons

Now you know about some of the famous fashion and beauty trends from the 1990s. The flawless and natural skin, heavy lipsticks, bold or neutral blush, and eye shadow colors were the most popular styles and trends from the decade. 

Many supermodels like Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, and Cindy were among the first and most important fashion icons from the nineties. These supermodels created and embraced many of the top makeup styles of the decade.

Apart from that, many actresses such as Julia Roberts, Jennifer Anniston, and Cameron Diaz launched many makeup trends. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most famous fashion icons, singers, and models who left a huge impact on the beauty industry of the 1990s. 

  1. Britney Spears

Body glitter, heavy eye makeup, and prominent lipstick – that was the typical makeup style and look of one of the most famous singers in the world. Many fashion critics and gurus consider Britney Spears as the face of the 1990s. Shiny and pretty, Britney never ceases to amaze her fans with new and improved looks. 

  1. Angelina Jolie 

In the 90s, there was no other celebrity who owned blue eye shadow more than Angelina Jolie. This fashion icon is always at the forefront. The actress and philanthropist never shied away from flaunting her love for blue eye shadow, evident from her countless pictures and shoots from the decade. 

  1. Gwen Stefani

Who can forget the neon hair and tube top of this famous singer from No Doubt. Her deep red lips, flashy eyes, and trendy hair created a unique look. 

  1. Drew Barrymore

If you were born in the 80s, you know how irresistibly cute Drew Barrymore looked. This famous star loved wearing a brick-brown lip shade, combining with over-plucked eyebrows and a pretty choker. 

  1. Tyra Banks

Banks was the first African-American model to grace the covers of GQ. We fell in love with her looks and her makeup style. She did her own makeup at fashion shoots and painted her eyebrows. 

  1. Reese Witherspoon

Her pale foundation and pretty eye makeup were quite popular among beauty enthusiasts of the decade. 

  1. Destiny’s Child

This band from the 90s introduced many makeup trends, including glowy eyes shadows as well as pretty red and orange lip shades. 

  1. Christina Aguilera

Another star of the 90s, this music icon usually sported a super-pigmented gloss with a bright pink t-shirt. Fans were crazy about her rhinestone eye shadow and her glossy lips. 

  1. Jennifer Lopez

The epitome of ’90s beauty, Jennifer Lopez, introduced several makeup and beauty styles. From her nude lip shades to soft eye shadows, she looked flawlessly beautiful. 

  1. Jennifer Anniston

Anniston’s portrayal of Rachel Green in the iconic TV series Friends set new bars for fashion and makeup. Her straightened and layered hair, along with her brown-toned makeup, were quite popular in the decade’s later years. 

  1. Courtney Cox

Courtney Cox was the queen of the 90s burgundy lipstick. She created Monica’s signature look from the Friends series with jewel-toned lip shades. 

Other Icons

Here are the names of some other important fashion and beauty icons.

  • Calista Flockhart
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt
  • Kellie Martin
  • Melissa Joan Hart
  • Lisa Bonet
  • Courtney Cox
  • Jennie Garth 
  • Heather Locklear

1990s Makeup Tutorial 

Do you want to look like your favorite stars and celebrities from the 90s? The best part about the 90s makeup is that there weren’t too many makeup accessories involved. Just a few makeup products in your makeup kit can do the trick to create a makeup look from the magical decade. 

You have to focus on three important areas: the eyes, the eyebrows, and the lips. Dark and defined eyebrows, smokey eye makeup, and brown or burgundy lipstick can make you look like your favorite celebrity from the 90s. 

Most women preferred the smokey eye look, using shades of brown and black. However, some women also choose blue, green, and pink eye shadows.

The most popular lip shades from the decade, other than brown and burgundy, were apricot and purple.

Let’s check out this easy 1990s makeup tutorial to create the decade’s makeup look. 

Here are the instructions and steps you have to follow. 

  1. Cleanse your face thoroughly using a gentle cleanser or a toner 
  2. Apply an even layer of powder to your face
  3. Use a pink blush or warm color to highlight your cheeks. 
  4. Define your eyebrows and comb them with an eyebrow brush. You can use black eye shadow or black eyeliner to add a smokey effect. 
  5. Use a brown or a black pencil for drawing your eyes along the contour of the eyelids. You can also use eyeliner for this step. 
  6. Apply a purple, blue, or brown eye shadow to your upper eyelids. Use mascara to ting the eyelashes. Since false eyelashes were also popular in the 1990s, you can benefit from them to add more thickness and volume to your natural eyelashes. 
  7. Pick a pink or burgundy lip shade for painting your lips. 

Tips for Creating the Perfect 90s Makeup Look

Here are some tips and tricks for a flawless look. 

  1. Avoid using a foundation and stick to a concealer 
  2. Keep your eyebrows neat 
  3. Use eyeliner for defining your eyes
  4. Add a lip liner to your lip shade 
  5. Keep your lips glossy but not pearlescent.

Bottom Line

Now you know about the best and most happening 1990s makeup trends. If you want to emulate the 90s makeup looks, follow our guide. Always use the best hair and makeup products because you don’t want to harm your skin or scalp. Whether you are going for body shimmer or dark lipsticks, always buy premium products from quality brands. 


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