For people growing up in the 90s, (this author excluded, much to the dismay of my editor) makeup trends were largely set by the Bollywood queens of the heyday. The Karishmas, Kareenas, and Kajols playing the Tinas, Poojas, and Simrans all had the iconic caffè latte lipstick, poker straight hair with the middle part, terracotta orange blush, and super expressive eyebrows, all lending themselves perfectly to a slight grunge look that was popular in the international arena. India was taking its baby steps into globalisation and with women like Aishwarya Rai, Yukta Mookhey, and Sushmita Sen all winning at the pageants, we proved that we were able to keep up with the trends and standards of the day.
The early to mid-2000s gave way to a brighter, girlier aesthetic, and the 90s trends slowly faded out of rotation. But as trends go, history has a way of repeating itself. Thirty years on (sorry fam’, it really has been that long), we have come full circle with the way we do our makeup. The new set of Instagram and Tiktok starlets and influencers are the ones we take our beauty cues from now, but they are taking inspiration from the icons of the 90s. So without further ado, let’s compare how we have changed and adapted the way we do our makeup to make it more unique and suited for the trends of today.
The 90s had a strong affinity for overlined lips, most commonly a deep brown-red lip liner against a lighter shade of lipstick or bare lips in the middle. Recently, we have adopted the same look with a light layer of gloss for a more layered, multi-dimensional look.
Another huge lipstick trend was the frosted, metallic lipstick which is making a comeback in a big way. From the slightly sticky-looking iced lips of the late 90s to the more glossy and sheer sparkle lip toppers of today, shiny lipgloss is the perfect addition to a pale pink or tawny nude lipstick to create that pearlescent glow.
A more natural, slightly matte finish was the look of the day, courtesy of the western supermodels of the time, like Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Linda Evangelista. Faces were layered with foundation and powder for an airbrushed look of perfection.
Of course, it’s easy to say that when you’re not dealing with the humidity of a tropical climate. According to makeup artist Lynn Riviera, skin prep is the most important to get that airbrushed look. Today’s trick is using a moisturiser and foundation most suited to your skin type, plus a light, loose translucent powder, which is a surefire way to ensure that your makeup won’t melt off your face.
Additionally, whether it’s 1997 or 2022, a light touch of bronzer to sculpt the face is the most necessary touch to bringing this 90s trend to your face.
Grungy black eyeliner and thin eyebrows were the go-to trends for eyes, but it’s safe to say that this definitely went through a much-needed update and upgrade in the years since. Instead of a line of straight thick eyeliner across the eye, opt for a smoky eyeshadow or a thin flick of a cat eyeliner for a more dramatic look. Also, if you’re tired of wearing falsies, here’s your chance to take them off. Pick a lengthening mascara over a volumising one for separated spider lashes.
As for your eyebrows, I’m not sure they can take much more after the ‘Great Tweezing’ of the early 2000s. Take a hint from Kajol and keep them light and fluffy.
Lastly, this one is pretty straightforward. Most eras have hairdos that have become iconic, but the most 90s hair trend that we can think of is the middle part with poker straight hair. You can update this with mini braids or wispy bangs framing your face. Head wraps, hair jewels, and butterfly clips are also hugely 90s and have been through their own 2020s elevation. For my fellow curly girls, give space buns or the half-up half-down hair a shot.
Join Homegrown to rewind and unwind this month!
On the 16th of July, dance your way back to school where you’ll witness the 90s in all its glory! Style your hair with Brylcream, slip into your Bata shoes and stock up on Phantom cigarettes cause this is going to be a party like no other.
If you weren’t born in the 90s, this one is for you!
Date: 16th July, Saturday.
Time: 9 pm onwards
Venue: antiSOCIAL, Mumbai
Buy your tickets here.
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