Tips for getting that rebellious ‘90s makeup look
From left: Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, and Karlie Kloss model ‘90s makeup looks.(From left: Steve Granitz / WireImage; Steve Granitz / WireImage; Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Kiss your sweet pinks goodbye. This fall, tough, rebellious and ‘90s-inspired beauty looks include the extremes of shocking, I-dare-you-to-say-something-to-me, electric purple lips a la Rihanna along with moody-broody goth brown lipstick launched into the social media stratosphere by Kylie Jenner with her 40 million-plus Instagram followers.
The looks are in keeping with what we’ve seen in fashion, worn by celebrities on red carpets and by Southern Californians on the streets: At the Emmys actresses showed off gowns embellished with metallic hardware including chain-link straps, and at September’s Kaaboo Music Festival in Del Mar it was 1995 all over again as girls flaunted flower-print baby doll dresses, chokers, blue jean jackets and Dr. Martens.
Don’t worry, there’s still enough room for smoky eyes and beautiful, bronzy eye shadows, but if you want to make a stronger statement, you’ll be on-trend now too. “I feel like it’s an ‘80s punk mash-up with the ‘90s because in the ‘80s you had all of those really hard, graphic lines and then in the ‘90s it was moving toward natural but grungy natural that really wasn’t natural at all when I look back at it,” says makeup artist Pati Dubroff, who worked with both Kevyn Aucoin and François Nars in the ‘90s.
Here are some looks to try, along with Dubroff’s tips and some product choices.
Simply Tough: Graphic Eye Liner
Anna Sui, DKNY, Fendi, Oscar de la Renta. Versace — these are just a few designers who recently sent graphic eyeliner looks marching down their fall runways.
Dubroff’s advice? Keep it simple. “If too many other colors or shadows are on the eye, you don’t get the power of the graphic eye,” she says. “You want to make a graphic, edgy statement. What you see in magazines is really hard to do. It’s been retouched to make it look sharp and symmetrical. Just remember, it’s not about perfect, it’s not about symmetrical, it’s about art … go into that punk mode.”
To keep the black line on you upper lash line looking graphic, Dubroff recommends drawing straighter lines than a cat-eye and finishing with squared-off edges. A liquid liner gives the sharpest line but using cream liner may be easier. “Find a brush to use with it that has the right kind of tip for you,” says Dubroff. “Sometimes a brush with a flat, straight edge can be better for a look than a pointy brush.”
Kat Von D Five Fearless Years Limited Edition Tattoo Liner ($24, sephora.com)
Lancôme Artliner Precision Point Eyeliner in Noir ($30.50, lancome-usa.com)
Guerlain Liquid Eyeliner in Noir ($40, saksfifthavenue.com)
Brown, Berry, Black and Purple Lip Color
“When you Google ‘'90s makeup’ you get pictures of Cindy [Crawford], Drew [Barrymore] and Gwen [Stefani] but then you also get all of these Kylie Jenner pictures,” says Dubroff, adding that deep berry is the easiest color of the bunch to wear. “Honestly, it’s pretty tricky to make brown lipstick look flattering. It’s aging on a 17-year-old and it’s especially aging for anyone who’s over 17.”
She says formulas are denser today, noting brands — such as Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick — that come in a range of deep, trendy colors. Bear in mind that we live in an era when people apply their makeup more for Instagram than for interacting in the real world, “and they’re filtering and lighting it … it’s hard to step out into daylight with those faces.... Brown lip color can be beautiful but it has to be a sheer layer, not thick,” says Dubroff. For the real world, she recommends blotting the color after applying it and opting for a satin-finish formula rather than anything too glossy or matte. “Also the skin has to be beautiful and not overly painted or the whole thing looks mask-like, Kabuki-like,” she says.
As for that over-drawn, dark lip liner so popular in the ‘90s? “The first time around, we all cherished our MAC Spice Lip Pencil,” says Dubroff. To keep it modern she suggests gently lining the lips with a very fine line for a finished, but not harsh, look.
Colors like black, aubergine and purple purposefully say, “Don’t mess with me,” says Dubroff. “It can be an amazing statement, but not for everyone everyday.”
Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Vamp in Paint, Potion, Vamp, Heathers and Midnight ($20, anastasiabeverlyhills.com)
Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy in Caffe ($36, giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com)
MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Good to Be Bad ($20, bloomingdales.com)
Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color in Dark and Stormy ($52, tomford.com)
If Purple Haze Lip Color by Free Spirits, made popular by Rihanna, is sold out ($25, thefashionjunkee.com), try Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Violet ($21, toofaced.com)
Nars Killer Shine Lip Gloss in Provoke ($28, narscosmetics.com)
Frosted and Metallic Shine
To make frosted lips modern, Dubroff suggests wearing a natural lip color accented with a bit of frost in the center of the lip. “Frosted tones across the entire lip don’t give the lip any tone or structure because it’s all shimmering and jumping out at you,” she says.
Pushing the trend to the limit, makeup artist Pat McGrath launched her first makeup product in September: Gold 001 a high-impact, multi-use gold dust (check patmcgrath.com for limited-edition sales throughout the month).
Dubroff says she’d be surprised to see people walking down the street in such bold looks, “But for the theatrics of the runway, it’s exciting,” says Dubroff, adding that we’ll see gold accents on the eyes and lips. “Gold makeup becomes jewelry for the face.”
Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color in Guilty Pleasure ($52, shop.nordstrom.com)
Sephora Collection Colorful 5 Eyeshadow Palette Color N°08 Sunrise to Sunset Bronze ($25, sephora.com)