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How To Create A 90’s Makeup Look

How To Create A 90’s Makeup Look

The 90’s was in many respects the greatest decade there’s been, at least for a while. Brit Pop was on the radio, Friends was on the TV and Girl Power was in the air. The 90s was also all about the looks, and makeup was a big part of that. Blue eye shadow sitting beneath ultra thin eyebrows and dark lipliner and lipstick was the order of the day, and looking back now, it’s amazing how prevalent these looks were.  

Of course, every 90’s subculture had its own makeup style, grunge, rave and pop all had their own distinctive makeup feel. Here, we guide you through how to get an overall 90s look and then delve into rave and grunge looks as well.

In this guide, we'll walk you through how to create a 90s makeup look that's perfect for any occasion.

Step 1: Start with a matte foundation

The key to a flawless 90s makeup look is matte skin. Start by choosing a foundation that matches your skin tone and has a matte finish. Apply it evenly all over your face, blending it well around the jawline and hairline. Use a damp makeup sponge or a foundation brush for a smooth finish.

Step 2: Use a brown lip liner

One of the most iconic makeup looks of the 90s was the dark lip. To create this look, start by outlining your lips with a brown lip liner. Choose a shade that matches your natural lip color or is slightly darker. Use short, feathery strokes to create a natural-looking outline. Fill in your lips with the liner as well, to create a base for your lipstick.

Step 3: Choose a dark, matte lipstick

Once you've applied your lip liner, it's time to choose a dark, matte lipstick. The 90s were all about dark shades like burgundy, brown, and even black. Choose a shade that complements your skin tone and apply it to your lips using a lip brush for precise application. Blot your lips with a tissue to set the lipstick.

Step 4: Create a smokey eye

The smokey eye was another iconic makeup look of the 90s. To create this look, start by choosing a neutral eyeshadow palette with brown and beige shades. Apply the lightest shade all over your lid, then apply a darker shade to the outer corners of your eye, blending it outwards. Use a black eyeliner pencil to line your upper lash line, then smudge it out with a small eye makeup brush. For added drama, apply a dark shade of eyeshadow along your lower lash line.

Step 5: Apply mascara

To finish off your eye look, apply mascara to your upper and lower lashes. Choose a lengthening or volumizing mascara to create a dramatic effect. Apply two coats of mascara for a fuller look.

Step 6: Add a touch of blush

To add some color to your cheeks, choose a warm-toned blush in peach or terracotta. Apply it to the apples of your cheeks, blending it outwards towards your temples. Use a light hand when applying blush, as you don't want to overdo it. Of course use a blusher brush for a perfect finish. 

Step 7: Finish with a setting spray

To make sure your makeup stays in place all day, finish with a setting spray. Choose a matte finish spray to keep your makeup looking fresh and flawless. Hold the bottle about six inches away from your face and spray in a T-shape motion.

How To Create A Grunge Makeup Look

If you want to create a grunge look, repeat the steps above but remember, you need to go even heavier on the dark makeup and when it comes to the eyes, you’ll want to commit even more to the smokey, hazy feel. 

One of the big differences between grunge and other 90s makeup looks is that grunge was all about big, bushy eyebrows. To create this look, use an eyebrow pencil or powder to fill in any gaps in your brows. Use short, feathery strokes to create a natural-looking shape. Brush your eyebrows upwards to create a more bushy, undone look.

To complete the look, try a bit of light contouring using a good contouring brush and an even hand and you can try adding a bit of blusher to the apples of your cheeks as well, depending on exactly the look you’re trying to achieve. 

How To Create A Rave Makeup Look

The rave look is all about bold dayglo colours and big, eye catching makeup. In some ways it was the antithesis of other 90s looks, eschewing dark eye shadow in favor of pinks and greens, however apart from the bright palette many of the principles remain the same. 

Step 1: Base

Start by applying a thin layer of foundation or a tinted moisturizer to even out your skin tone. Use a concealer to cover any blemishes or dark circles under your eyes. Set your base with a translucent powder.

Step 2: Eyebrows

90s rave makeup looks often featured bold, statement eyebrows. Fill in your eyebrows using an eyebrow pencil or powder, creating a strong, defined arch.

Step 3: Eyes

For the eyes, start by applying a bright, shimmery eyeshadow all over your lid. Then, use a darker shade in the crease to create depth. You can also add a pop of color on the lower lash line, such as neon green or pink. Finish with black liquid eyeliner, winging it out for a dramatic effect. Apply several coats of black mascara to your top and bottom lashes.

Step 4: Cheeks

As we’ve seen in our grunge look, In the 90s, blush was applied in a circular motion on the apples of the cheeks. Use a bright pink or coral blush to create a youthful, flushed look.

Step 5: Lips

For the lips, opt for a bold, vibrant shade such as hot pink or bright orange. This is another good time to opt for the 90s love of matt in your choice of lipstick

Step 6: Accessories

Complete the look with accessories such as colorful hair extensions, glittery hair clips, and statement jewelry. Some 90s ravers opted for spaceman style glasses or goggles, which is another nice way to complete the look. 

Remember, the 90s rave makeup look is all about having fun and expressing yourself through bold colors and statement pieces. Don’t be afraid to experiment with really big, bold looks. 

So there you have it, our guide to creating iconic 90s makeup looks. Be sure to check out our other 'how to' guides