My Personal Favorite Beauty Moments and Products of the 1990s

While nostalgia for the 1990s had hit a fever pitch in the arenas of fashion and style (I still have my GAP logo hooded sweatshirt somewhere in my mother’s hall closet), when it comes to ’90s makeup and beauty, I don’t find the latter to be as easy to define. Beauty bloggers–that have done their homework–will you it’s all about brown lip shades and too light foundation, but I remember beauty in the ’90s being more or less versions of what had already been around. If at all, it was more about minimalism than being outrageous, like it was in the ’80s. What I remember standing out the most was the rise of lip gloss, how rainbow available hair color became, Blossom’s huge floppy hat and the Spice Girls (though those are more sartorial choices), that ‘in the hood fashionistas looked like Adina Howard, “frosted” makeup (I’ll never forgive that trend of dark lip liner with silver lilac lipstick), how Janet on The Real World‘s Seattle  always wore a chocolate brown hue on her nails, and pixie cuts that so many female celebrities from Meg Ryan, Halle Berry, to Winona Ryder and Toni Braxton made chic.

So while Gucci runway models had vaseline slathered on their faces to highlight their cheekbones or everyday college students got tattoos and body piercings, when reminiscing about the decade of my childhood, makeup and beauty still had its moments. Some products aren’t even on the market anymore, like others have been re-packaged. For kicks, I chose to list my own favorite moments in beauty as I still find it hard to believe 1999 was fifteen years ago!

1. Dawn’s crimped hair in En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go”

2. Shirley Manson in Garbage’s “I Think I’m Paranoid”

3. Girlactik glitter

4. Foxy Brown’s dark plum lip in “I’ll Be”

5. Bonne Bell Lip Smackers

6. Lil’ Kim’s wig changes in “Crush on You”

7. Naomi Campbell’s purple extensions at a 1993 Chanel runway show

8. Keri Russell’s epic curly hair

9. Naturistics Miss Kiss lip gloss

10. Drew Barrymore’s flowers in her hair

11. Liv Tyler in Empire Records

12. Brandy’s makeup in “Sittin’ Up In My Room”

13. Aaliyah’s side-swept, new version of the Veronica Lake, hair

14. Caboodles makeup case

15. Janet Jackson’s Poetic Justice braids

16. Janet Jackson’s smoky eyes in the “Scream” video

17. Gwen Stefani’s Southern California girl meets pop-punk, Bindi look

18. Brown nail polish (like Revlon’s Coffee Bean)

19. Urban Decay’s Lip Gunk lip gloss

20. Bonne Bell Lip Rush lip gloss

21. Bonne Bell Lip Burst

22. Madonna in her “Secret” video

Below is a tutorial video that the actress and producer Drew Barrymore did for New York magazine on how to achieve a genuine ’90s makeup look. Considering her star rose back to fame during this time, she definitely has the 411.

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