Though many of us were too young or too inexperienced to truly appreciate how hot the hair and makeup (and fashion, kind of, sometimes) were in the ’90s, I think there is something to be said that we continuously see fashion diving back towards it like the douchey kid at a pool party trying to impress everybody by snagging stuff from the bottom. Sure, it’s often gross and weird and requires not showering (or putting enough product in your hair that you look like you haven’t showered, though that’s cheating). But does that mean it wasn’t sexy?

No. The best ’90s makeup looks were hot, but not because they tried to be, and not in that “effortless, natural beauty” way — they were just fun, experimental looks, and whatever the wearers found hot or interesting or desirable at the time.

From Courtney Love‘s scarlet lipstick that seemingly melded perfectly into her face to Kim Gordon‘s occasionally thick pencil liner to Kathleen Hanna‘s wonderfully thick brows to PJ Harvey‘s awesome…well, everything, the 90s were full of amazing looks that were all its own.


Obviously, I could just do the zero makeup look and wet my hair, but then this wouldn’t really be a makeup tutorial, now would it? Plus, I like dark eye makeup. I rarely ever wear it out anymore and today, I’m taking a bus up to see my parents. I’d like them to imagine, however briefly, that I have started reverting back to the makeup stylings of my 14-year-old self.

Plus, many well-respected men wore makeup and dyed their hair without getting insulted about their supposed lack of masculinity (thereby enforcing the requirement to “be” masculine) nor being declared “emo,” because having emotions publicly apparently became a comical thing somewhere down the road. To be fair, I’m sure people criticized men who wore makeup then, too, but the music scene itself did it far less than it tends to nowadays.


As you can see, the ’90s was full of awesome beauty (and I didn’t even get started on Daria or the rest of the awesome television world’s looks around then!). Let’s figure out how to do one.

Step 1: Get drunk, go to sleep without removing (all) makeup, wake up looking believably hungover. Because you are.*

Click to the next page to see the rest!

Step 2: Do not wash your hair, or if you do, at least let it air dry.

Step 3: Apply primer (I used Devita‘s natural one) to avoid getting shiny later, then use a BB Cream all over your face. Add a touch of concealer under the eyes, but don’t overdo it with the foundation or coverup. Sweep a thin veil of powder over your face, like Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder.


Step 4: If you want to keep your eye makeup in place, use a primer like Benefit Stay Don’t Stray. This isn’t always necessary, though, since many people enjoy the look of progressively blotchy makeup (I know it sounds gross, but think less Tammy Faye and more post-show, sweaty Trent from Daria…if cartoons wore distinctive makeup).

Apply a matte grey color, like Urban Decay eyeshadow in Desperation, all over the lid.


Then, using the same brush, take a matte black or deep purple shadow and apply it into the crease, then blend haphazardly. I used for the black half of NARS eyeshadow duo in Pandora.


Step 5: Using pencil or gel liner, such as Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eyeliner in Midnight Black, add black liner (I used E.L.F.‘s, always an easy, cheap buy!) around the top lids and along the bottom lashline.


Smudge or soften the line using your finger or a Q-tip.


Curl lashes, then apply a coat or two of black mascara like MAC Plush Lash to both the bottom and top. Don’t comb them out if they’re a bit stuck together.

Step 6: You don’t need to take your eyebrows, but filling them in can give your eye makeup a good frame. I used Clinique’s brow powder, as per usually, and a thin Sonia Kashuk angled brush.


Step 7: Smooth on a bit of lip balm, like Fresh Sugar Rose. Apply lip liner in your natural skintone, then use a deep scarlet lipstick — or even a purple, if you’re feeling brave — to fill in your mouth. Then blot using one ply of a tissue, apply the color again, and blot again.

For this color, I mixed Tarte Glamazon lipstick in Playful and IZAK for Sephora in Mademoiselle.


Step 8: Put some volume in your hair. Or don’t. It doesn’t really matter — if it’s anything like mine right now, it probably is both a little flat and a little tangly.

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Ta-da! Now go out! Or don’t, again! Either way. You look however snazzy you intended on looking, even if only the exposed brick in your apartment knows it.

*Note: I am well-aware not everybody in the ’90s was a heavy drinker (if at all), but for the sake of this tutorial, let’s just say we’re all secretly eccentric early ’90s rockstars who drink forties and do not keep Say Yes To Cucumbers face wipes next to our beds. Hypocritically, I was not hungover in this photo; just really not great feeling. But let’s just pretend I was hungover from a really cool party, shall we?

Photos: Getty Images.