90s Makeup Tutorial


The 1990s marked a significant era in the world of makeup, as it introduced unique trends and styles that continue to influence the beauty industry today. From matte skin to bold lip colors, the 90s makeup trend was all about self-expression and pushing boundaries. Understanding this iconic decade’s makeup aesthetic is crucial for those seeking to recreate its distinctive looks.

Brief Overview of the 90s Makeup Trend

The 90s makeup trend was characterized by minimalism with an edgy twist. Unlike the heavy and dramatic looks of previous decades, this era embraced a more natural appearance while still incorporating striking elements. The emphasis shifted towards enhancing one’s features rather than masking them with excessive layers of products.

One of the defining features of 90s makeup was matte skin. The popularity of matte foundations soared during this time, as people strived for a flawless complexion devoid of any shine or dewiness.

This preference for a velvety finish led to the widespread use of powder-based products to set foundation and control oiliness. Another notable aspect was the iconic thin and arched eyebrows sported by many celebrities and fashion icons like Kate Moss and Drew Barrymore.

These brows were plucked into slender shapes, often leaving only a thin line above the eyes. Achieving this brow shape became a coveted skill among makeup enthusiasts.

Importance of Understanding the Historical Context for Recreating 90s Makeup Looks

To truly capture the essence of 90s makeup, understanding its historical context is essential. The trends that emerged during this era were influenced by various factors such as pop culture, music movements, fashion runways, and even political influences like grunge or punk subcultures. By delving into this context, you gain insights into why certain styles prevailed over others in that particular time period.

For example, grunge music and alternative fashion greatly impacted the makeup trends of the 90s, resulting in popular looks like smoky eyes and dark lip colors. Moreover, understanding the historical context allows you to appreciate the significance of these trends in shaping beauty standards and cultural representations.

By uncovering the stories behind iconic 90s makeup looks, you can better appreciate how they empowered individuals to express their identities through makeup. Recreating 90s makeup looks without comprehending their historical context might lead to mere imitation rather than capturing the true essence of that era.

Therefore, exploring the influences and inspirations behind this trend is crucial for achieving an authentic portrayal of 90s makeup styles. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into specific aspects of 90s makeup, such as foundation and base makeup techniques, eyebrow shaping, eyeshadow choices, cheek contouring methods, lip colors, highlighting techniques, and setting tricks.

By examining each element in detail with respect to its relevance in 90s fashion culture, we will equip you with all the necessary knowledge to recreate these stunning looks for yourself. Get ready to immerse yourself in a world where nostalgia meets modern-day artistry!

Foundation and Base Makeup

The 90s were characterized by a distinct preference for a matte finish when it came to foundation choices. This meant that the skin appeared smooth, even-toned, and devoid of any dewiness or shine. Foundations with a matte finish were highly sought after as they provided a velvety texture that gave an airbrushed effect to the complexion.

Popular options included powder foundations, oil-free liquid foundations, and cream-to-powder formulas, all of which aimed to achieve that coveted matte look. These formulations helped create an impeccable canvas for the rest of the makeup application.

Tips for achieving a flawless base using techniques like color correction and concealer

To achieve a flawless base in line with 90s makeup trends, it is essential to understand the importance of color correction and concealer application techniques. Color correction involves using specific shades to neutralize any discoloration on the skin before applying foundation. For instance, green correctors can counteract redness while peach or orange correctors can diminish dark circles or hyperpigmentation.

By mastering this technique, you can create an even-toned canvas ready for foundation application. Additionally, strategic use of concealer is crucial in achieving a seamless base.

It is recommended to choose a shade slightly lighter than your natural skin tone for brightening effects under the eyes or on high points of your face such as the center of your forehead or bridge of your nose. Applying concealer after foundation will ensure better coverage while preventing any cakiness.

Discussion on powder choices and application methods for a long-lasting finish

Powder played an integral role in creating long-lasting makeup looks during the 90s. The loose or pressed powder was used to set a foundation, control shine, and give a smooth finish to the complexion.

Translucent powders were particularly popular as they offered a colorless option that did not interfere with the shade of the foundation. When it comes to applying powder, it is important to use a fluffy brush and lightly dust it all over the face, focusing on areas prone to oiliness.

It’s recommended not to over-powder as it can lead to a cakey appearance. Instead, opt for a sheer application that preserves the natural radiance of the skin while ensuring makeup longevity.

III. Eyebrows and Eye Makeup

Description of iconic eyebrow shapes in the 90s (e.g., thin, arched brows)

During the 1990s, eyebrows were all about thinness and a pronounced arch. This trend was heavily influenced by iconic celebrities like supermodels Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford, who sported ultra-thin brows that elegantly framed their faces.

The thin brow shape was achieved by carefully tweezing away excess hair to create a more defined and angular arch. This style of brows gave off a youthful and sophisticated look, allowing the eyes to take center stage in makeup looks.

Step-by-step guide on achieving the perfect brow shape using tweezing or pencil techniques

To recreate the signature 90s thin brow look, start by brushing your eyebrows upward using a spoolie brush or an old clean mascara wand. This helps to reveal any stray hairs that need to be removed. Using precision tweezers, pluck stray hairs from underneath the brow line, ensuring you maintain a thin shape with a noticeable arch.

If you have sparse brows or want to enhance your natural arch further, consider using an eyebrow pencil or powder. Choose a shade that closely matches your natural hair color and lightly fill in any gaps or create a more defined shape by making small feathery strokes following your natural brow line.

Remember, less is more when recreating this look; aim for subtle enhancements rather than bold lines. It’s crucial to keep the overall appearance soft while still maintaining that signature arch.

When it comes to eyeshadow colors in the 90s, two distinct trends emerged: shimmery neutrals and bold blues. Shimmery neutrals, such as champagne, gold, and bronze tones, were popular for creating a glamorous yet understated eye look.

These shades added a touch of luminosity to the lids and worked harmoniously with the overall makeup aesthetic of the decade. On the other hand, bold blues were favored by those who wanted to make a statement.

Electric blues and deep navy shades were often applied to the eyelids or used as an accent color in combination with neutrals. This vibrant eyeshadow choice provided an edgy and rebellious vibe that was prevalent during the grunge era.

Techniques for creating classic eye looks such as smoky eyes or grunge-inspired styles

To achieve classic eye looks like smoky eyes or grunge-inspired styles from the 90s, it’s important to master blending techniques and strategic placement of eyeshadows. For a smoky eye look, start by applying a neutral base color all over the eyelid and blend it into the crease.

Then use a slightly darker shade in a similar tone and apply it to the outer corner of your lid and along your lower lash line. Blend these colors together using small circular motions until you achieve a seamless transition between shades.

For grunge-inspired styles, focus on using bold colors like deep purples or burgundies paired with dark browns or blacks. Apply these shades to create depth in the crease area and lower lash line while softly blending them for that trademark effortless appearance.

Remember, practice makes perfect when it comes to mastering these iconic 90s eye makeup looks. Experimentation with different colors and techniques will help you find what suits your features best while embracing that nostalgic charm of this era’s makeup trends.

Cheeks and Contouring

Overview of blush trends in the 90s, including rosy cheeks or bronzed looks The 90s were a decade of contrasting cheek trends. On one hand, rosy cheeks reminiscent of a youthful flush were highly sought after, while on the other hand, bronzed looks that added warmth and depth to the face were equally popular.

Achieving these iconic blush trends involved careful color selection and application techniques. For a rosy-cheeked look, opt for shades that mimic a natural flush, such as soft pinks or peaches.

Avoid overly bright or dramatic hues as subtlety was key during this era. Matte or satin finishes were typically preferred over shimmery formulas to maintain a more natural appearance.

On the other end of the spectrum, bronzed looks dominated the 90s makeup scene. A sun-kissed glow was highly coveted.

To achieve this look, choose warm-toned bronzers with a matte finish that are one to two shades darker than your skin tone. Apply the bronzer to areas where the sun naturally hits your face—such as temples, cheekbones, and jawline—and blend it out for a seamless transition.

Tips for contouring to achieve a sculpted face shape using matte bronzer or powder products Contouring played an integral role in achieving a defined and structured face shape during the 90s.

Sculpting techniques allowed individuals to create sharper cheekbones and more chiseled features. To contour effectively during this era, matte bronzers or powder products with cool undertones were commonly used.

Cool-toned products helped create shadows without appearing too warm or orangey on the skin. Start by identifying your face shape—oval, round, square—and focus on specific areas that you want to define or enhance.

Apply the contour product to the hollows of your cheeks, along the jawline, and at the temples. Blend the product using a brush or sponge for a seamless transition between your natural skin tone and the contoured areas.

Remember, less is more when it comes to contouring in a 90s-inspired makeup look. Aim for subtle enhancements rather than overly dramatic transformations.

The goal is to create dimension while maintaining a natural appearance. Additionally, it’s essential to consider your individual features and adapt contouring techniques accordingly.

Not everyone’s face shape is the same, so customization is key for achieving flattering results. Overall, whether you opt for rosy cheeks or bronzed looks, understanding the blush trends and contouring techniques of the 90s will help you authentically recreate this iconic era in modern times.

Lips and Lipstick Choices

In the vibrant world of 90s makeup, lips played a vital role in making a statement. Popular lip colors during this era often embraced earthy tones, with brownish nudes reigning supreme. Shades like “Spice” and “Twig” became iconic choices, epitomizing the sought-after 90s aesthetic.

Additionally, deep berry shades such as “Raisin” and “Bordeaux” added an alluring touch to many makeup looks. These rich hues exuded confidence and effortlessly complemented both daytime and evening ensembles.

Techniques for creating fuller-looking lips through overlining or specific lipstick application methods

To achieve those plump, luscious lips reminiscent of the 90s, consider employing clever techniques like strategic overlining or specific lipstick application methods. Overlining involves tracing slightly outside the natural lip line using a lip liner in a shade matching your lipstick color. This technique visually enhances the size of your lips without being too obvious.

For a more pronounced effect, focus on accentuating the cupid’s bow to evoke that iconic 90s pout. Additionally, when applying lipstick itself, try dabbing a touch of highlighter or concealer on the center of your lower lip before blending it outwards towards the edges.

This creates an illusion of dimension and makes your lips appear fuller. Experimenting with different textures can also contribute to achieving fuller-looking lips; matte formulas tend to make them appear more defined while glossy finishes give an illusion of plumpness.

Discussion on lip glosses and their role in achieving that signature glossy pout

No discussion about 90s makeup would be complete without acknowledging the prominent role played by lip glosses in achieving that signature glossy pout. Lip glosses were a staple beauty item and a go-to choice for anyone aiming to exude youthful radiance. Clear or lightly tinted glosses reigned supreme, adding a lustrous sheen that effortlessly enhanced any lip color.

The reflective quality of lip gloss not only made lips appear fuller but also added an element of allure to any look. Whether worn alone or layered over lipstick, lip glosses provided dimension and shine that perfectly matched the 90s aesthetic.

They were often applied generously, giving lips an almost wet appearance with their high-shine finish. Reviving this trend today allows one to embrace the nostalgia of the era while still looking fresh and modern.

Finishing Touches

Highlighting techniques to achieve a radiant glow reminiscent of the era

To truly capture the essence of 90s makeup, it’s essential to incorporate highlighting techniques that create a radiant glow reminiscent of the era. Opt for shimmery highlighters in golden or champagne tones, applying them strategically on areas where light naturally hits your face: cheekbones, brow bone, down the bridge of your nose, and cupid’s bow. For an authentic 90s vibe, don’t be afraid to embrace an intense glow by building up layers of highlighter.

Avoid matte finishes; instead, opt for formulas with finely milled shimmer particles that catch and reflect light beautifully. This will give your skin a youthful luminosity characteristic of 90s makeup trends.

Setting makeup

To ensure your 90s-inspired makeup lasts all day without fading or smudging, setting it properly is crucial. Start by applying a lightweight translucent powder over your foundation to minimize shine and set it in place. Pay extra attention to T-zone areas prone to oiliness.

For long-lasting lipstick wear, after applying your chosen lip color, blot your lips with a tissue and then dust a little powder over them. This trick helps the lipstick set and stay put, even through meals or drinks.

Spritz a setting spray all over your face to lock everything in place. Look for formulas that offer both hydration and longevity to keep your 90s makeup intact throughout the day.


As we delve into the captivating world of 90s makeup trends, we discover an era characterized by bold choices and self-expression. From brownish nudes to deep berry shades, lip colors were an integral part of creating iconic looks. Techniques like overlining and strategic application methods allowed for fuller-looking lips that embodied the spirit of the time.

Lip glosses added a touch of radiance and allure with their glossy finishes, leaving everyone longing for that signature pout. To complete our journey through this unforgettable decade, highlighting techniques delivered a radiant glow reminiscent of youthful luminosity.

And finally, by properly setting our makeup, we ensure its longevity throughout the day. Embracing the nostalgia of 90s makeup allows us to tap into an era filled with creativity and individuality.

So go ahead and experiment with these trends, adapting them to fit your own unique style while celebrating the essence of this vibrant period in beauty history. Let’s revive this timeless look with a modern twist!


What were the iconic makeup trends of the 90s?

The 90s saw trends like brown lipstick, thin eyebrows, and shimmery eyeshadows as iconic looks.

How can I achieve the grunge makeup look from the 90s?

To achieve the grunge look, focus on dark lips, smudged eyeliner, and minimal foundation coverage.

What makeup products were popular in the 90s?

Popular products included matte lipstick, frosted eyeshadows, and pencil-thin eyeliner.

Are there any modern twists on 90s makeup for today’s trends?

Yes, you can modernize 90s makeup by incorporating bold colors or using updated formulas for a fresh take.

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