Blue eyeshadow, over-plucked brows and Maybelline’s Dream Matte Mousse — the nineties and noughties were a pretty wild time for beauty. Here’s a look back at all the millennial makeup trends you forgot about, and how to make them work in 2023 and beyond.
Gird your loins beauty lovers, it’s happening. ICYMI, Sofia Richie Grainge recently posted a TikTok bringing back ‘foundation lips’ — a term that’s sure to send shivers down the spines of millennials worldwide. In the now viral TikTok, Richie is seen applying Yves Saint Laurent’s Candy Glaze balm glosses in shades 14 and 15 before finishing with a dot of concealer in the middle for an ombre effect.
@sofiarichiegrainge Love @YSL Beauty Candy Glaze – soo glossy and hydrating #YSLBeautyPartner ♬ original sound – Sofia Richie Grainge
While her take on the trend is far from the stiff, orange-toned lips of our past, we couldn’t help but be reminded of all the millennial beauty trends we had finally forgotten about. There’s no denying that the 00s revival is going strong (2023 has seen the return of UGGs, Juicy Couture tracksuits and, our least favourite, low-waisted jeans). Below, we look back at the millennial makeup trends that ruled the 2000s, and how to make them work today.
Backcombed hair and 90s layers
Thanks to the Dyson Airwrap, 90s layers a la Jennifer Aniston in Friends (remember that famous ‘do’?), are very much back. Our TikTok For You Page is crowded with women recreating the look — only with much less frizz than we remember.
Another huge millennial beauty trend was heavily backcombed hair. It wasn’t a school morning unless our alarms were set for 6am, only for us to spend the next hour backcombing our hair to high heaven, finished with half a can of Elnett Strong Hold Hairspray. Volume is back in, only this time, without the damage.
Put down the backcombing brush and instead invest in a volumising spray — we love this option by Color Wow. Simply spray two to three pumps directly into the roots of wet hair post washing and blast with your hairdryer for extra hold.
Thanks to the girls of Sky Atlantic’s Euphoria, maximalist makeup is back. Celebs such as Kendall Jenner, Dua Lipa and Alexa Demie have all been spotted donning the shade, only now it’s called ‘Washed Denim’ eye makeup. To make blue eyeshadow work for you in 2023, you’re going to need to ditch the Claire’s flip-phone palette, and instead use a high-quality eyeshadow that won’t bleed or look chunky and cheap upon application.
Blue eyeshadow can make almost any eye colour pop when done correctly. Swap out the turquoise hue and instead opt for something more wearable. The Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Shadow in Azure is a great option — simply smudge onto eyelids with a minimalist base for a chic and timeless look, or, for those nervous to dip their toes into the trend, buff into the lash line with a liner brush for a graphic yet understated eye look.
@victorialyn Get your baby blue shadows out! #WashedDenim is here to slay this winter❄️👖#MACtrend #makeup #beauty #eyeshadow #MadeWithKeurigContest ♬ Calm LoFi song(882353) – S_R
Early 00s makeup trends were anything but subtle. Glitter was everywhere -— in our body sprays, eyeshadows and even our lip gloss. The trend fell out of style in the mid noughties, however thanks to Gen Z, it’s now back.
The ‘invisible glitter’ trend is a sort of subtle nod to millennial makeup. The ethereal look involves a sheer wash of glitter over the lid that creates almost a wet, glossy look, rather than an all-out sparkle. The key to nailing this trend is to use a glitter that isn’t too opaque -— you want something fine, usually in a white or silver hue. Cream or gel formulas can provide a much more concise application than loose glitter and, when patted on, can result in a natural look that’s suitable for day-to-day use. Want to try it yourself? We’d suggest grabbing the Nyx Professional Makeup Ultimate Glow Shots in Coconut.
@itsalyssaskins proud of my eyemakeup today 💞 #glittereyeshadow#glittermakeup#alyssatryon#xiaohongshumakeup ♬ Love Me Back – fromis_9
The majority of us share a deep-rooted trauma over 90s/00s brow looks. For those that have spent the last decade slathering on castor oil and brow serums in a bid to help grow them back, we’ve got some bad news — skinny brows are in again.
Beauty creators and influencers have recently been sharing their takes on the trend, dubbed ‘Pamela Anderson brows’ inspired by the star’s Baywatch era. The TikTok hashtag #skinnybrows has collected 12.8 million views and counting, and the resurgence can partly be put down to Lily James’s portrayal of Pamela in Hulu and Disney Plus’s Pam & Tommy.
Instead of grabbing the tweezers straightaway, though, we recommend trying out the trend with the help of a fine-tipped brow pencil. Noughties brows were all about the shape — so make sure you accentuate the arch and leave the front of the brow free of any pigment. You can also slightly elongate the brow for that signature look and cover up any escaping hairs with a touch of concealer. Remember to set with a brow gel, and if you want to make the look permanent, we’d suggest a visit to your local brow professional to avoid any lasting damage to the hair follicles as a result of overplucking.
@keilidhmua Thin brows are gonna come back.. put the tweezers down #pamelaanderson #transformation ♬ Be My Lover – La Bouche
It’s time to put down the dewy primers and shiny highlighters and pick up your trusty matte foundation (if you’ve still got one), as matte makeup is having a comeback — a trend that might delight those who suffer from oily skin.
Matte makeup ruled the noughties and, for many, Maybelline’s Dream Matte Mousse (usually in a shade that didn’t at all match our skin tones), ruled messy makeup bags. This time around, though, it’s all about ‘cloud skin’ — a trend focused on even-toned skin and minimal shine, rather than lacklustre and ashy complexions.
Your toolkit for cloud skin should include a pore-minimising primer (we love this one from Charlotte Tilbury), a breathable yet high-coverage foundation (this one from Yves Saint Laurent is a favourite among influencers and beauty creators) and a natural looking powder (our choice is this one from Laura Mercier). Together, your products should work to control any unwanted shine and provide the perfect flawless base for the rest of your makeup, rather than the chalky, overly powdered matte looks from yesteryear.
@victorialyn Cloud Skin☁️ Fav products for this soft matte look! #makeup #beauty #cloudskin #foundation ♬ Boy’s a liar Pt. 2 – PinkPantheress & Ice Spice
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that nineties and noughties makeup trends are slowly coming back. Will you be participating?