'90s Makeup Looks Are Making a Comeback—8 Ways to Wear Them Now

Picture the scene. The Spice Girls are on Top of the Pops, Destiny's Child's debut album is ready to go in your portable CD player and makeup aisles of your local drugstore are full to the brim with frosted eyeshadows and lipsticks—it was an iconic time for beauty. And while there are plenty of '90s beauty trends I'm keen to leave in the decade (thin eyebrows, for one) there are some '90s makeup trends that are coming back around again in 2024. And with a bit of makeup fine-tuning and learnings, I'm seriously into them again.

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Destiny's Child in matching purple dresses and eyeshadow.

It's not hard to miss that all things '90s are making a comeback right now. First things first, the iconic 'Rachel' haircut has made a nostalgic return, with those flicky layers having a revival with a nod to supermodel blowouts and 90s hairstyles. Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, a standout makeup icon from the decade, has now been discovered by a whole new generation with its suits-everyone formula.

So, how to we wear those '90s makeup looks today? Scroll ahead for the best '90s-inspired makeup looks I've saved.

'90s Makeup Looks

1. Brown Lipstick

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Halle Berry wearing brown lipstick in 1999.

Brown lipstick was a universally loved makeup trend among many celebrities in the '90s, and we're seeing brown tones continue to be popular. Nowadays, we thankfully have more inclusive lipliner and lipstick shades to suit all skin tones, and formulas that sit comfortable on our lips all day.

How we're wearing it now:

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(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

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(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

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2. Blue Eyeshadow

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Christina Aguilera wearing an iconic '90s makeup trend: blue eyeshadow.

We can't talk about '90s makeup without talking about blue eyeshadow, right? Back then, the blue eyeshadow was usually of the pastel blue variety, had a frosted effect and was often paired with red lipstick. Nowadays, it's been given a modern update with a matte texture in deep blue, that's worn alone to showcase it in its true glory.

How we're wearing it now:

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(Image credit: @spicy.mayo)

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(Image credit: @erinparsonsmakeup)

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3. Frosted Lipstick

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Kate Moss is one if the major poster girls for '90s beauty.

I'm here for Kate Moss's '90s frosted lip gloss and kohl eyeliner look. While we haven't seen frosted lipstick make a full comeback, we have seen the return of lips that have a subtle shimmer or metallic glow. Look for lipsticks or glosses that offer a iridescent shimmer in neutral tones.

How we're wearing it now:

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(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

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(Image credit: @maryphillips)

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4. Lip Gloss

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Reese Witherspoon wearing glossy berry lips.

Lip gloss was a '90s makeup staple, and we saw just about every kind of shade and finish to the glossy (yet sticky) formulas. In 2024, we're less inclined to reach for those berry tones, and are instead opting for neutrals like brown to coat our lips. Thankfully, lip gloss textures have also come a long way and we now have balmy glosses that impart shine without feeling tacky to the touch, as well as lip oils, which add moisture and a healthy sheen to lips.

Get the Look:

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(Image credit: @maryphillips)

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(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

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5. Frosted Eyeshadow

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Britney Spears wearing frosted eyeshadow.

Ah, frosted eyeshadow. While chalky frosted shades were everywhere during the '90s, we've traded them in for sheer, iridescent veils that add a transparent sparkle to eyelids.

How we're wearing it now:

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(Image credit: @valeriaferreiramakeup)

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(Image credit: @valeriaferreiramakeup)

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6. '90s Minimalism

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Christy Turlington wearing natural makeup.

When I think of the '90s, I think of Calvin Klein campaigns and the minimal makeup looks that accompanied them. In 2024, with brands such as Glossier and Merit championing streamlined makeup and natural-looking results (think lightweight skin tints and a slick of mascara) we can draw a lot of similarities today with those in the '90s.

How we're wearing it now:

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(Image credit: @ninapark)

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(Image credit: @ninapark)

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7. Kohl Liner

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Naomi Campbell wearing kohl eyeliner.

Grungy kohl eyeliner was another trend we saw in the '90s. Back then, the application was usually around the entirety of the waterline (think both upper and lower lash line), but the look has been modernised by softly diffusing the liner around the lash line for a soft-focus effect, and brown is often used instead of black to soften the intensity.

How we're wearing it now:

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(Image credit: @valeriaferreiramakeup)

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(Image credit: @valeriaferreiramakeup)

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8. Matte Skin

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If there is one thing we can spot from the '90s, it's the penchant for matte foundation. While trends like cloud skin have brought the velvety complexion back into the limelight, we're adding blusher and bronzer to add dimension to prevent the look from washing out our complexions.

How we're wearing it now:

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(Image credit: @patidubroff)

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(Image credit: @ninapark)

Get the Look:

Eleanor Vousden
Beauty Editor, Who What Wear UK

Eleanor Vousden is the beauty editor for Who What Wear UK. She was previously deputy editor at Hairdressers Journal, health writer at Woman & Home and junior beauty editor at beauty website Powder. She has also contributed to Wallpaper and Elle Collections with written and styling work.

Working as a beauty journalist since 2015 after graduating in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion, she has been highly commended at the BSME Talent Awards for her work on Powder and also contributed to the title winning Website of the Year at the PPA Awards.

Eleanor’s journalistic focus is to provide readers with honest and helpful beauty content. Through words, video and live broadcast, she has interviewed several celebrity makeup artists, hairstylists and top dermatologists throughout her career, as well as celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson. She has a particular interest in finding solutions for acne and eczema, which she has experienced firsthand. She has also amassed a large collection of fragrances and can never say no to a new candle.

When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty product or treatments, she’s on the seafront in her hometown of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her partner and her miniature dachshund.