May 28, 2023
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History of 90s Grunge makeup

History of 90s Grunge makeup

Some people find it fun to dabble into old fashion trends. If you are one of them, this is the blog 

post for you! We are going to take a stroll down memory lane with some 90s grunge makeup. As 

time has passed by, our standards have changed and we do not need to look nearly as drastic 

as the 90s girls did when they wore this type of makeup in public.

When we think of 90s makeup, we generally think of dark and distinct eyeshadow and lipstick. 

We also think of the girl on the Missy Elliot music video who is wearing a blue on blue eye look:

Let’s start off with lipsticks. Lipsticks in the 1990s were really creamy and sometimes felt like 

chapstick. They were very sheer and had a lot of shine to them. The color was usually very dark 

but had no pigment, so it was easy to apply thick layers without looking too extreme. A good 

example of this are Lipsticks by Lip Smackers in Homewrecker(left)and Hunka Hunka Burnin’ 

Love(right). Homewrecker is a deep red but not too dark. It has no pigment at all, it is basically 

clear with a slight hint of color to it. Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love is an orangey-red. It’s also easily 

applied in many layers without looking too crazy.

These two colors are also good for Halloween if you want to go as Courtney Love for example.

Lip liners were used with lipstick to give the lip color more shape and definition, no matter the 

color of the lipstick underneath. A good example of this is “See The Light” by Lip Smackers, 

which looks like an everyday nude on the website but really isn’t when you see it in person.

Most liners were dark, but there were some that were lighter like “I’ll Always Be Watching You” also by Lip Smackers. It’s a light pinky-beige color.

Eye shadows in the 1990s came in mostly neutral shades. They created a strong look by using 

dark browns and blacks over the lid, with some shading on the crease, and the highlight color 

was usually white or pale blue. I’ve heard stories about how much it stung to put on eyeshadow 

back then because it was so much thicker than what we use today! If you want to try to recreate 

this vintage look it might be best to stick with eyeshadow thinner than MAC paint pots for this look. 

This is without a doubt, one of the most iconic eyeshadow shades of all time. It is the black 

“Blackout” by MAC. This color seems to be more of an icon than what it really was because it 

was used a lot for many things, not just grunge makeup. Back in the 90s this shade could be 

purchased as a single or as part of a set with other colors to match a certain look you were going for.

Another iconic eyeshadow shade is “Opal”, which is a white satin color from MAC. It’s perfect for 

whitening your eyebrows or creating a pale, ethereal look.

“Peach” is a neutral light peach color from MAC. It was used in several sets which usually included other colors for different looks.

On the eyelid there were also two types of eye shadows back then: baked eyeshadows and loose eyeshadow.

Baked eyeshadows were usually pigments mixed with something else to make them last longer. 

Some baked shadows are really sheer, which is why you only need one coat of these instead of 

two or three like today because there is no pigment to make it show up on the skin. They were 

most commonly found in black and they were usually used to make a smokey eye. These baked 

Eye shadows were really popular and could be found at any drugstore like Walgreens or Rite 

Aid. The pigment would be mixed with cocoa powder or some other ingredient that would make them opaque. authentic 90s grunge makeup

Loose shadows were not baked, so you could layer these on rather than just one coat. If you 

wanted more of a matte look with these darker shades, just add a lighter shade over the top for 

a soft look. Once the lightened shade dried they would have more of a metallic sheen to them. 

These could be found at your local department store like Macy’s or Nordstroms.

We all remember a girl back in the day with eyeliner that was so thick it looked like a cat had 

scratched up the skin around her eye! The technique for this look wasn’t as hard as people may 

have led you to believe. All you needed was a pencil eyeliner, a sponge tip applicator and an 

angled brush or tool you can use to create a sharper wing.

Avatar for Aaron Finch

Aaron Finch

There are many labels that could be given to describe me, but one thing’s for certain: I am an entrepreneur with passion. Whether it's building websites and social media campaigns for new businesses or traveling the world on business trips - being entrepreneurs means constantly looking at yourself in a different light so as not get bored of your own success!

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