How to wear 90s makeup in 2014

Image: Yes, it’s time to channel Neve Campbell once again

The perfect ’90s look is impossible to achieve today…


Ah, that feels good. I’ve been holding in that “NOT!” for a long time now. To shout “NOT!” after a statement is instantly aging, yet also, so satisfying. Typing “#jks #lol” just doesn’t feel the same.

This spring/summer season, the ’90s are back in all their glittery, grungy glory. And it doesn’t mater if you’ve lived it before. You can wear ’90s-inspired hair and makeup while still looking selfie-ready for this new millennium, instead of coming off like an unwanted Y2K bug. It’s time to reach for that chocolate-brown lipstick, baby, one more time.

1. Baby braids

Dieter Brummer and Melissa George as Shane and Angel in “Home and Away”.


The '90s was 'baby' everything. We wore baby tees in the shade of baby blue, Baby Spice was adorable (still is!), and we loved to weave baby braids into our hair and then arrange them with baby butterfly clips. I had a baby recently, and let me tell you, nothing is more adorable and cuddly than a newborn bubba. You can understand why '90s chicks wanted some of that gooey gorgeousness for themselves.

How to look 90s in baby braids

Spend hours and hours weaving tiny, precise braids all over your head, secured with the little elastics that you use with your braces. Everyone will say, “Have you just been to Bali?” Or, wear two chunky braids framing your face, like Angel in Home and Away (DO NOT MENTION THIS TO MELISSA GEORGE, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES).


How to look 2014 in baby braids

Give this look a romantic makeover by weaving two randomly-placed braids on either side of your head, leaving sections of hair freely flowing next to your face to avoid the I-hatepashed-Dieter-Brummer-on-Home-and-Away look. I like to have one plait that is French-braided near my scalp (bonjour!), and then another braid that is hidden under my hair, which peeks out to say "hello" at opportune moments.

I particularly like wearing my hair in baby braids when it is a bit messy and dirty, and I amp up the texture even more by gently running a bristle brush up the finished braids, from the elastic to the roots. Bonus points if you are ice blonde and can look like Khaleesi.

2. White inner-eye shimmer

90s and forever icon Britney Spears


There was an adorable fantasy element to beauty in the '90s, with the approaching new millennium conjuring up visions of fairies, robots and aliens, all dusted in glitter, of course. Shimmer, sparkle and glitter were worn all the time, at all occasions. A popular look was to wear white, shimmering eyeshadow on the inner corners of your eyes, to create a bewitchingly 'awake and angelic' look.

How to look '90s with white shimmer on the inner corners of your eyes

Not only do you have shimmering eye shadow on the inner corners of your eyes, it's also all over your eyelids, which are rimmed with coloured eyeliner. Glitter adorns your hair, cheeks and body. I used to be a little glitterbug, until the very cute boy I worked alongside at my weekend department store job said, “If you were my girlfriend, that glitter on your face would seriously piss me off.” Point taken, boy with Bambi eyelashes.

How to look 2014 with white shimmer on the inner corners of your eyes

Keep the shimmer on your eyes only, and make the rest of your makeup matte and spare. To start, I used L’Oreal Color Riche Eye Color Pencil in Delicate Beige, which is a deliciously creamy and non-creasing shimmer pencil, all around my eyes, including on the waterline of my lower lid. This keeps the look extra awake and extraterrestrial. It is acceptable – nay, it is advised! – to keep the cream liner quite messy and random, so that you look like a fairy who has partied all night, fallen asleep inside a daffodil and just woken up, rubbing silvery stardust from your eyes.


I then used a powder shadow (Max Factor Eyeshadow in Wicked White) on the inner corners of my eyes, allowing some of the shimmer to scatter around wherever. Using a powder eyeshadow on top of a cream pencil will “set” the cream pencil, while also adding an extra sparkly dimension. I kept the rest of my makeup earthy and natural, as adding more colour, sparkle or intensity will make this look quite dated.

Let's stop for just a moment to get all nostalgic about the '90s beauty icons we all desperately wanted to be:

3. Brown lipstick

Remember this?

If one colour comes to mind when I think of the 90’s, it’s brown. A matte brown lip was the look du jour at my suburban public girls’ school. In Geography class, we used to take turns trying on a matte, brown Australis lipstick that made us look immediately sexy and dangerous, which is everything that you want when you’re a teenager. That, and Dean Cain. Or was that just me? The brown lipstick was the exact colour of Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate, so it actually looked like we'd been munching chocolate all day long, or perhaps even trying some teenage sexual experimentation by making out with a Freddo Frog. I don’t know what you’re into; I don’t judge.


How to look '90s in brown lipstick:

Wear a matte brown lipstick on top of enthusiastically-applied brown lipliner, with brown eyeshadow and a matte, terracotta-toned blush. Complete the look with brown corduroy jeans, a tight brown baby t-shirt, a piece of brown leather thong tied around your neck and a chocolate-brown Napro dye job on your Natalie Imbruglia-style crop.

How to look 2014 in brown lipstick

Top your matte, brown lipstick with a slick of lip balm, rubbing it in with your finger, so that you’re left with a soft, brown lip stain with a subtle sheen over the top. Prevent this look from becoming too muddy by sparkling things up with shimmery eyeshadow and a dewy, super-pink blush on the apples of your cheeks. In this picture, I used Rimmel Lasting Finish Matte by Kate Moss lipstick in no. 112, which is a beautiful, cocoa powder brown with undertones of apple red, and it even has a very '90s berry scent. I swear by Rimmel lipsticks because they are highly pigmented, moisturising, lustrous and super-cheap. Be obsessed!

4. Winona Ryder makeup

It was all about the smart, sassy brunette girl during the 90’s, particularly Winona Ryder as Lelaina in the 1994 film Reality Bites, and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 BBC mini series, Pride and Prejudice.

These girls could run around all day and then hold heated, energetic debates with their crushes at night, all while looking youthful, pretty and passionate. I wanted their makeup, but even more so, I wanted their brains and their men - Ethan Hawke and Colin Firth, hello!


How to make it work

This makeup look is timeless, because it is simple yet also extremely pretty. Of course, your best accessory when channeling Lelaina or Lizzy is your brain, so read as much as you can.


This look requires quite a strong brow, which I assume comes in handy when you need to arch your eyebrow because you are seated next to a dull dinner partner. So, bust out that eyebrow pencil and get to work filling in any bare patches. For your eyes, use a sharp, black eyeliner to line your eyes right in there amongst the lashline. Beauty nerds call this “tightlining”. This gives your eyes an intense, lush-lashed look, while also being subtle. Use a pink blush with a hint of shimmer on the apples of your cheeks, so that you look naturally flushed, as though you have been trampling through muddy fields or dancing around to "My Sharona" in a gas station. Bourjois blushes are gorgeous, as they have a multi-dimensional sheen, believable yet on-trend colours and a scent that will remind you of your glamorous mother.

Dab on a small amount of bright red lipstick and smudge it in with your finger. The newly-iconic Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss lipstick in no. 10 is perfect for this look, as it is very long-lasting (think staining) and a true, bright red. Add some lip balm over the top to create a reddened, youthful mouth, perfect for making witty and flirtatious comments.


Finally, this look requires a lot of highlighter on the inner corners of your eyes, your temples and the tops of your cheeks, to suggest energy and dewiness. Max Factor Eyeshadow in Wicked White is actually a brilliant all-rounder highlighter, although it is sold as an eyeshadow. It is a solid powder in a little round pot, and I love to apply its sparkly goodness wherever I need that extra glow.


So, like it or not, the '90s is a serious trend this season. If you want to get back to a semi-charmed kind of life, you can either buy a pair of denim overalls (which I almost did!) or try out one of these makeup tricks. I once wore a pair of short overalls on a date with my now-husband, and he laughed in my face when he saw me and said, “You look like a giant child!” That is why I am going to be wearing '90s-inspired makeup, instead of '90s fashion, this season. Like Ace of Base said, that’s all that she wants.

Did you rock any of these looks in the 90s the first time around?

Visit Cherry Beale on her website here, and on Twitter here.

And while you're feeling nostalgic, remember how huge belly button rings were? In case they ever come back in (someone has to be the first) we've got you covered here.

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