Hot New Takes On 5 ICONIC 90s Beauty Trends


90s beauty trends

The ‘90s served us so much in the beauty department that it only makes sense that the decade’s trends have winded back around 30 years later for a major revival. From models stomping down NYFW runways to new flicks like “Do Revenge” on Netflix, 90s nostalgia is at an all-time high. Think butterfly accessories, glossy brown lips, spider lashes, and no holds barred on glitter. 

We asked beauty industry experts to not just share their favorite 90s beauty trends that have made a comeback but to offer some pro tips on how to re-interpret each, so they feel fresh and modern.

1. High Pony & Swoopy Bangs

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Ariana Grande refused to let the high pony die, and for that we owe great thanks. Today’s 90s-inspired iteration incorporates the decade’s dramatic swoop. “Tyra Banks used to wear her hair like this a lot, and I love this look because it is a classic style and a distinctive 90s look,” says Kim Kimble, celebrity hairstylist and founder of her own eponymous haircare line

She adds that it still reads chic and stylish today, and modern hot tools make it a more accessible look for everyone. For best results, use a blow dryer with ion technology to get the smoothest, frizz-free blowout. Use a heat protectant, like Drybar Hot Toddy Heat Protectant Mist, $29, then slick everything back (except for a section of hair at the front) high and tight using a bristle boar hair brush and lightweight hair gel. (We like Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel, $3.60). Swoop the remaining section back and secure with bobby pins.

2. Overlined Brown Lips

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Those universally flattering, earthy brown lips of the 90s are back, and today’s interpretation rings true to the original. 

“I love this trend because as a Latina, it is so nostalgic of the younger days when we didn’t use fillers to extenuate our pout but a brown lip liner and clear gloss to make our lips pop,” says celebrity makeup artist Nydia Figueroa.

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While the trend reads a little more severe all those years ago, she says you can avoid the harsh edges by using a brown lip liner and blending it a bit with a gloss that’s just a step away from your natural lip hue. Available in various shades of brown, the Huda Beauty Perfect Pair Lip Set, $44, includes a matching lip liner and cream lipstick.  

3. Crimps (AKA Mermaid Waves) 

Back in the 90s, the arsenal of hair tools was arguably a bit more diverse than it is today. Not only were there flat irons, curling wands, and curling irons, but hair crimpers were a staple in everyone’s vanity. 

Kimble says that using a crimper is a good way to add some texture into your hair, and that you can modernize the look by creating larger waves and crimps that lean a bit more mermaid. “The mermaid waves give a fresh new texture and are versatile,” she says. “They are cute on bobs, can wear with long hair too etc.” Try the Trademark Beauty Babe Waves Jumbo Hair Waver, $60.

4. Bright Blush

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This 90s beauty trend is all about allowing natural, fresh skin texture to shine while creating that “just got out of gym class” glowy flush a la bright blush. “For this, I would put down the powder formula, which can be super intense, and try a cream or tint,” Figueroa advises. Her top pick for a cream blush formula to create this look is Milk Makeup’s Lip + Cheek Cream Blush + Lip Tint, $22, in Rally. After perfecting your base, apply to the high points of your cheek and up to your temples, and just a touch on the tip of your nose, and blend.

5. Glittery Eyeshadow 

While brown lips and naked skin feel distinctively earthy and low-key, the 90s also knew how to bring on the makeup maximalism. Case in point: the explosion of products. “I love the glittery eyeshadow trend because it just elevates any look and makes it so fun to do,” says Figueroa. “In the 90s, people wore glitter on their eyes, body, and face – and who doesn’t like a little sparkle in their life especially heading into the holidays?”

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A great way to make the whole ‘90s glitter bomb look feel fresh is to avoid metallic glitter and opt for more of a sparkly look. Figueroa says her beauty kit go-to for this Be a 10 Dazzling Eye Pots. She says, “The formula has incredible pigment and gives the eyes a sparkle that lasts all day. I love to use these wet or dry, and a little goes a long way.”

Psst! Check out this roundup of fall beauty trends taking the season by storm. There are a few more 90s looks to peep here, too, including glam grunge. 

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