10 ’90s Beauty Trends That Are Coming Back in Style

In the worlds of beauty and fashion, trends come and go — and then the good ones often come back around, sometimes with a fun and modern twist. Thankfully the shoulder pads of the ’80s (as well as those awful mullets) stayed in the past where they belong. History, however, has repeated itself with certain looks rearing their pretty faces in the beauty world once again. Take a look at some of the best loved ’90s beauty trends that have resurfaced recently.

1. Glitter and gunmetal

girl with gold glitter

This look is more in than ever. | iStock.com/korabkova

We couldn’t get enough shine in the ‘90s — and apparently we still haven’t had our fill. Grunge is back in a chic way, as we’re seeing more and more makeup companies release glitter, gunmetal and metallic lip shades that mimic the looks portrayed on the runways.

“The glitter lip trend was all over the place during fall fashion week,” Mindy Green, makeup artist and owner of MG Beauty, said in an interview with The Cheat Sheet. “The gunmetal lip trend today is a dark grey metallics that are almost reminiscent of steel with blue undertones, while the ’90s look was more silver.” Tempted to try it out for yourself? Try Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick in Nayeon.

2. Iridescent makeup

beauty eyes makeup

Shimmering eye makeup is very much in. | iStock.com/Staras

Sometimes called unicorn makeup, thanks to the endless amount of highlighters emphasized with this look, iridescent makeup has made an epic return. “There’s something about having this luminous, prismatic effect to your face, eyes and lips that was so alluring then, and still is now,” Green said.

Let’s put it this way: Too Faced Cosmetics even has a lipstick called Unicorn Tears, which they can’t seem to keep in stock, and recently introduced new highlighters called Love Light to provide that iridescent effect. Everyone seems to be embracing the magical, mythical creature in the form of shiny, pink- and purple-hued makeup.

3. Sexy, tousled hair

young girl model with dense, curly hair

OK, this one probably never truly went away. | iStock.com/EdwardDerule

We can thank the Victoria’s Secret Angels for bringing this voluminous hair trend back in the spotlight. While ’80s hair was more about perms and teased hairt, the ’90s used big rollers to create shiny, glamorous waves. “This look has a lot of sex appeal so, of course, it never really lost its appeal and was welcomed back thanks to stars like Katy Perry and Selena Gomez,” Green explained. Whether it came back or never went away in the first place, there’s no denying that big, sexy hair is here to stay.

4. The choker

young woman with gorgeous long blonde hair

Today’s chokers are a little bit more elevated. | iStock.com/Andry5

While this leans more towards fashion, it’s becoming more and more of a beauty staple. “In the ’90s the choker was a piece of jewelry that was tattoo-style or with spikes and studs for the grunge and goth kid,” Green said. But not anymore. Today, the choker is a beauty staple and is even complimenting makeup and hairstyles, which we’ve seen with celebrities such as Rihanna and Kendall Jenner. The best part? All ages are wearing chokers — not just teenagers — so beauty gurus are encouraging everyone to give the look a try!

5. Visible lip liner

woman applying lip liner

You don’t want to go crazy with it, but showing your lip liner can look really nice. | iStock.com/VladimirFLoyd

We have Pam Anderson and Madonna to thank for making this look desirable in the ’80s and ’90s. And the Kardashian crew has brought it back to be bolder than ever. “Now, liner is a key piece to achieving the ombre look that is so popular with lips,” Green said. “You select a lip liner in a slightly darker shade than your lipstick or gloss and blend it around the lip line and feather it into the mouth.” Finish off with your lip formula of choice and blend any of the hard lines lightly, without removing the definition you created.

6. Frosted eye shadow

woman applying eyeshadow on eyelid

White, frosted eye shadow is back. | iStock.com/ValuaVitaly

Anyone who was a teenager or adult during the ’90s definitely remembers the frosted look, which we witnessed trending in both makeup and hair (remember Justin Timberlake’s frosted tips?!) Fortunately, today’s take is much sleeker. “Due to micro-milled pigments, the frosted eye shadow of today is much smoother than the ’90s, which was much grainier,” Michelle Spieler, Hollywood industry makeup artist, said in an interview with The Cheat Sheet. “And, in the ’90s we always told mature women that they couldn’t wear frosted eyeshadows, but today they can.”

The best part about the frosted look? It can work on the eyelid and inner eye and is also becoming popular on the brow bone!

7. Body glitter

woman creating a glitter dispersion

Glitter will always be trending. | iStock.com/zegers06

There’s just something about glitter and glistening that won’t fade away. “Body sprays with shimmer were starting to get traction with the popularity of Bath & Body Works and, today, women use them to add highlights to their legs with minis or shorts,” said Green. Nowadays, with contouring and highlighting taking over the beauty industry, women and men alike are looking to highlight their décolletage with all different kinds of shimmering products.

8. Accent braids

Boho Girl Portrait

Any hair style can get a boost with some simple braids. | iStock.com/brickrena

Boho is back in the form of style and beauty. “One of the ’90s braid stars was Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice and early trendsetter Gwen Stefani from No Doubt,” said Green. “In 2017, this has become the style of choice due to the rise in music festivals like Coachella and mainstream artists choosing braided styles, like Beyoncé.” The accent braid can also add a bit of edge to your more conservative styles like buns and ponytails.

9. Blown-out hair

happy young woman and hairdresser with fan

Blow-out bars are a particularly fun way to get your hair styled. | iStock.com/dolgachov

The invention of blow-out bars — hair salons completely dedicated to simply blow drying for as little as $20 — like DryBar or Blo are proof the demand for professionally coiffed hair is back. “Blow-outs used to only be popular in the big cities, but today these salons are everywhere,” Spieler said. “And, thanks to YouTube, you can learn to do a pretty good blow-out right in your own home. 

10. Nude lips

green eyed brunette with beautiful high-fashion make-up

This look can start to become unnatural if you’re very fair. | iStock.com/polinapetukhova

There’s nothing quite as wearable as the nude lip. While it was definitely in during the ’90s (some middle schoolers might even recall patting down their lips with face concealer in order to achieve that perfect skin-toned color), we’re not totally sure the trend ever went away. If you’re fair-skinned you’ve probably strayed away from this look, and that’s OK, considering it works best if you have a sun-kissed glow or are have a slightly darker skin color.