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TREND REPORT | The 90s Are Back

Updated: May 28, 2023

Photo by Mariam el Gendy 2023 | Camila Morrone press photos for Daisy Jones & the Six | Instagram

As a product of the 80’s, nothing tickles me more than to see Gen Z babies turning their backs on the heavy, technical “Instagram Makeup” trend and claiming a messier, punkier makeup as their own. Spoiler alert: we Millennials were around for the first iteration of this makeup; but, nevertheless, I am excited to see its return as I have always aired on the side of a grungier, more realistic makeup so this makes my heart sing.

How To Achieve the Look

There are slight differences to the 90’s makeup that I see now versus then, but overall the vibe and the sentiment are the same. Smokey browns, bruised plums, and shades of rosewood and bronze are the mainstay for these looks.

Chattanooga Makeup Artist Emily Hawtin Atlanta Nashville

STEP 1: I apply a generous amount of moisturizer to the skin because we want glossy, dewy skin; never matte or overly powdered. I then place concealer only where there’s a bit of redness or pigmentation. I go so far as to leave a bit of natural discoloration around the eyes. This will just add to the overall grunge look of the makeup.

STEP 2: One of the big differences to this trend now versus then is that we still love a good brow moment. No thin or overly sculpted brows here! Rake through them with a brow gel (clear or colored depending on your brows).

STEP 3: Pick a shade of taupe brown eye shadow that works with your skin coloring. No WARM shades that come off as orange. We’re talking smokey browns and grays that even have a hint of silver to them. Apply them messily to the eyes and sweep them under the eye on the lower lash line. Then smudge a black kohl into the lash line and blend out. Top it all with a couple lashings of black mascara.

Chattanooga Makeup Artist Emily Hawtin Atlanta Nashville

STEP 4: Pick a balm that can be added all over. For myself I love the Tower 28 balm and the Jones Road Beauty Bronze Miracle Balm. I add this to the tops of my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose, and anywhere I want a more glossy look. The piece de resistance is adding it on top of your eye lids. Warning: this will break the makeup up causing it to crease. However, that’s kind of the beauty of the makeup; that undone, “just woke up from a party last night”, model off duty vibe. So for me, the messier the better!

STEP 5: Press a lipstick into the lips, almost making it a stain. The look is “I’ve just been kissed” so no perfect lip lines here. I chose a Rosewood color and after applying it I went around the edges with a small brush to make it look more undone.

And that’s it! Welcome to the 90’s everyone. It was a gloriously weird time and I love that this trend is back in circulation. To see me apply this makeup check my Instagram! And let me know, what trends are you excited to try?


I once heard a MUA say to find your perfect Nudey-Brown color, check your nipples. If I could do a spit take here I would, but the idea isn’t totally off. So if you’re having trouble finding a browney nude for this trend, maybe start there. Or maybe just try a color that’s three shades darker than your natural lips.

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