The '90s Beauty Look I Thought Would Still Look Good On Me Today

I went through tons of photos from middle school, high school and college to a find '90s look I could get away with in 2013.
Publish date:
July 23, 2013
blushes, lipsticks, eyebrows, retro, Revlon, wet n wild, bronzers, Flower, lip liners, '90s, Breet Freedman

We've got a lot of 20-somethings writing for xoVain, but it's my 30-something ladies--Lela, Allegra, Glennis, Beth, etc.--who can truly understand what it was like to be susceptible to the trends of the '90s. Because who's more susceptible to trends than teens?

I turned 11 in 1990 and 20 in 1999, so my adolescence WAS the '90s. And my hair and makeup choices proved it. My mother recently scanned hundreds of photos, and I sifted through every last one looking for a makeup look that was distinctively '90s but could still work right now.

The one I came up with?

Straight, thick hair, intense eyebrows, a touch of color in my face, and some serious '90s-brown lips.

Bold brows and brown lips were my everything for much of the '90s, and I wasn't alone. This iconic Rolling Stone cover featuring the ladies of Twin Peaks may be single-handedly responsible for the trend.

And while everyone else was running this picture over to their hairstylist...

I was trying to match the lipstick.

And I'm really looking forward to seeing The To Do List this Friday because, from what I've seen in the trailer, Rachel Bilson and Alia Shawkat are wearing brown lipstick in several scenes. (Props for authenticity!)

My version was less polished--I was angry at the world, which manifested as not wearing eyeshadow--but still true to the time, but I think we can definitely make it work for 2013. Let's do this!

I skipped foundation because I did that sometimes back in high school. (Can you say "rebel"?) To get more of a glow than my vitamin-D-deficient 34-year-old skin can muster, I used a fluffy brush to apply the bronzer side of Flower Glow Baby Glow Blush/Bronzer Duo in Sunkissed & Single (half-accurate) over my face.

I then used the same brush--for authenticity's sake, because I definitely would've done that in high school--to apply the blush side higher on my cheeks than I normally do, as well as farther in towards my nose.

I used to pluck only the strays between my brows, so I had some seriously thick caterpillars on my forehead in high school. Subsequent experimentation with different eyebrow shapes has left me incapable of growing them back this heavy even if I wanted to.

I used Brett Freedman's Ultra-Brow Powder and a small, stiff angled brush to fill in the sparse sections of my brows, especially towards the middle. Then, to make them appear noticeably thicker, I used the powder to draw a line under the brows, following the the shape of the arch.

I used only a teensy bit of Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Waterproof mascara because, from what I can see, I'm wearing nothing but mascara on my eyes in the photo, and it was probably waterproof because I was always crying about something.

The lips are the focal point of the look, and brown lips were eh-vree-thang in the '90s. The reds were brick, the mauves were muddy, the browns were coffee, chocolate, and... more coffee!

I started by lining my lips slightly outside the natural lip line with Wet n Wild Color Icon Lip Liner in Willow, a warm light brown, and then colored them in, which hurt a little because I didn't sharpen it beforehand and I ended up scraping myself with the raw wood edges. But I'm OK, don't worry.

I then applied Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Fig Jam, which is basically if brown, burgundy and mauve had a baby. (I love these Lip Butters, by the way--super-moisturizing, which you couldn't really say about any lipstick in the '90s. Hooray, progress!)

So, does it work in 2013?

It works-ish...?

Perhaps it's because I'm just not used to seeing myself with my features in this particular balance or because I was exactly half my age in the photo I'm mimicking, but not I'm super-crazy about it.

I do genuinely like the individual products, though, and who's to say this '90s-inspired combo wouldn't look rad on you?

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to correct everyone who types 90's. It's '90s. The apostrophe stands in place of the 19. And yes, I was just as pedantic in the '90s. AP ENGLISH--WUZZUP.

What totally '90s look did you wear that you think you could still pull off today?