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Beauty Trends

How 90s Beauty Dominated New York Fashion Week

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert7 years ago
View Verity Douglas's profile

Dig out your old copies of Just Seventeen as 90s beauty is back with a bang, if last week’s NYFW catwalks were anything to go by. It seems we can’t let go of our love affair with grunge-inspired {eyes}, smudgy {lips} and naturally tousled tresses. Not to mention {hair} and {make up} that channeled Gwen Stefani in her 'Don’t Speak' days. Below is a break down of our top looks…

Smudged-on Lipstick

At Jenny Packham, {lips} were given a laissez-faire texture – instead of looking too pristine and perfect – echoing Courtney Love’s larger-than-life lippie in her days as front-woman for the band Hole (back when she was apparently married to some guy called Kurt…). A great way to recreate this trend is to apply {The Lipstick Queen's Eden} lipstick (a gorgeous balm-stain hybrid) and gently smudge outwards with Beauty Blender’s {Micro.Mini Pro} sponge for a who-ate-all-the-jam effect.

Loose Twirls and Twin Buns

At Anna Sui and Jeremy Scott, hairstylists channeled Gwen Stefani, Baby Spice and Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopez, by twisting locks up into two buns with loose strands framing the face. Want to nail the double bun look yourself? Create a side parting, and secure hair into two high bunches. Then twist and wrap each piece into a bun, securing with bobby pins. For more texture and volume, gently loosen sections of each bun and secure with OUAI Haircare's {Medium Hair Spray}.

Kohl-Rimmed Eyes

Referencing the 'nocturnal party girl', Alexander Wang paid homage to Shirley Manson and Linda Perry with kohl-rimmed eyes fit for a front-woman fond of angst-ridden lyrics. It was applied "very close to the lashes on the top and bottom waterline, then slightly smudged out with a clean brush" making it perfect for liner newbies and seasoned pros alike.

For the ultimate statement smoulder, it has to be {Charlotte Tilbury} {Rock N’ Kohl} eyeliner in Bedroom Black. Trace it along the lower waterline and top lash line, gently smudging out with Charlotte’s {Eye Smudger Brush}.

Breezy Bed Head Hair

Nothing epitomises the 90s quite like Ms Moss in her Calvin Klein campaign days, where hairstylist Guido Palau created a variety of tousled beachy, slightly scraggly waves that helped trigger fashion's obsession with 'the waif' look. These were echoed on the New York catwalks, from windswept curls at 3.1 Philip Lim, to loose twists and knots at Jenny Packham and rough texture at Desiguel. Give your locks some extra oomph by working {Ouai’s Wave Spray} through your strands.

Statement Blue Eyeshadow

Whether you were Tyra Banks strutting down the catwalks, Angelina Jolie at the 1998 screening of ‘Gia’ or Christina Aguilera telling us 'What A Girl Wants', every 90s girl was happy to get keen with blue eyeshadow – and then some. (This was usually accompanied with pencil thin brows and weird white-ish foundation).

Anna Sui resurrected this beauty trend, with rich cobalt colour concentrated on the lids that thankfully wasn’t blended up to the eyebrows, while Oscar de La Renta contrasted soft washes of blue with bold pink eyeliner for a colourful contrast. We suggest daubing your lids with By TERRY's {Ombre Blackstar} in 'Blue Obsession', gently smudging around the brow-bone for a 90s-inspired glam (although we’re to leave the pencil brow trend confined to the history books…).


Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...