How To Wear The '90s Makeup Trend Every Day

A retro-inspired look that falls between "whatever" and "I made an effort."
Publish date:
February 24, 2015
Laura Mercier, quick makeup, mac, cream eye shadow, 90s makeup, brown eye shadow, 90s lip color

"Put together" is not a concept I'm generally compatible with. I am perpetually in a rush. A lot of the looks I post, I'm like, Yeah that looks dope, let me share it with the Internet, but I've done them on my days off when I have plenty of time to sit and fuss with makeup.

So it's time for a semi-tutorial on my everyday makeup. This is for when I have turned off my alarm instead of hitting snooze and am meant to be at work in 15 minutes (read: most days). It also conveniently happens to borrow from the '90s, which are back.

STEP 1: A quick and seamless base.

I love primers and concealers and other fussy base products as much as the next blogger, but a weekday morning is not the time for them. Instead, let me introduce my fiancee, Laura Mercier. She understands that sometimes you just want to put skin-colored paint on your face and be done with it. This is the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation, and although I could follow it up with concealer, it will do just fine on its own.

STEP 2: Defined brows and a natural flush.

After painting out all that redness, I've gotta put some back in. Time for a natural, peachy pink blush (which is of course discontinued by MAC so I won't tell you the shade) with the e.l.f. Studio Blush Brush. I also filled in my eyebrows, because I feel like my face looks weird without them.

STEP 3: Smudge on a little cream shadow.

Now it's time for the eye makeup. This is the MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Constructivist, but any shadow-y brown color will do.

Cream shadow is good because you can put it on with your fingers. I mean, I guess you can put any shadow on with your fingers, but cream seems to benefit from this. I think the warmth from your fingertips works the color into the skin better.

I rub the brown all over my lid and up past my crease, as well as bringing it under the eyes. I'm not going for a perfect shape.

Sometimes the aesthetic of a deep, bruise-y shadow all around the eyes is described as "heroin chic," but I'm not really down with that term. There's nothing chic about heroin.

STEP 4: Skip eyeliner and focus on dramatic lashes.

I never have time for eyeliner, but I think defining my lashes really grounds a look. At the moment I'm using L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara, but that's only because I opened it and don't want to waste it. I'm really not fussed on it.

STEP 5: The requisite mauve-y '90s lip.

And last up, time for lips. I really, really like MAC Lip Pencils because they are creamy to apply, give lots of pigment with little effort, and stay on your lips for ages. If I'm wearing a lip pencil, I won't bother with lipstick or gloss or whatever the hell else over top. This one, Soar, is being touted as a '90s color at the moment, but it seems fairly pedestrian to me. I mean, a muted mauve-berry shade? In what era have women not worn lipstick in this color?

If my Aquarius look had you concerned, rest assured that this is how I usually wear my makeup. It's quick, it's a bit sloppy, but it makes me presentable, and I like the result.

  • What's your go-to almost-late-for-work makeup routine?
  • What makeup do you most associate with the '90s?