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Radios played Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Lilith Fair and Mariah Carey. It was the ’90s, and everyone was all about Oprah, Doc Martens and flannel shirts. Cellphone’s were a new thing, and email was just starting. And there was makeup to be worn. If you’re looking back to the ’90s, consider these five looks that are Chic Studios approved! In our Professional Makeup Artistry course, we cover the history of makeup and how it has changed throughout the years. For more information on our courses, check them all out here.


Dark liner, pale red eyeshadow and matte lipstick are required to bring back heroin chic. After applying foundation, line eyes with a soft black pencil and apply a light red shadow to lids, using darker red or brown to create depth. Avoid eyeshadows with an abundance of glitter of shimmer — ’90s grunge was more matte, giving off a sense of angst, unease, and a sleepless night of live music and post-performance partying. Dark red, burgundy, blue-gray or russet lipstick is a hallmark of grunge lips. Finish the face with a light application of mascara. Darken brows, brushing them upward or leaving them as is. This look is anything but precise and polished.


This dewy, bare-eyed look conjures yoga, massage therapy and environmental awareness. You’ll need moisturized skin, illuminating BB cream, concealer, gel blush, highlighter, lip tint and a palette of shadows to complement skin tone. Apply the cream or concealer to mask flaws and blemishes, avoiding full coverage. Contour with caution, using just a touch of blush and a bit of highlighter on the cheekbones. Shadow the eyes with tones that closely match the color of lids, avoiding dramatic contrasts. Skip mascara, but consider a touch of creamy lip color a shade darker than the natural lips. The idea is to create the look of just emerging from a massage or yoga class, glowing with health.

Melons & Berries

A hybrid of grunge and angel, these looks were seen on TV shows such as “Friends,” “Will & Grace” and “Melrose Place.” For this style, you’ll need a range of complexion products, dark brown or black liner, mascara, brow pencils, and a deep berry, plum or melon-colored lipstick with a matte or creamy sheen. (avoid frosts). Apply foundation and powder all over, full coverage, not “cakey.” Shape and darken eyebrows to emphasize eyes, which should be fully lined in brown or black. Don’t hold back on the mascara, followed by lipstick with a heavy hand, blotting with a tissue.


Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Jill Ireland, Naomi Campbell, RuPaul and Iman defined ’90s glamour, making magazine history with bronze, bold faces. To achieve supermodel-like sculpted cheeks, smoldering eyes and arched eyebrows, you’ll need every tool in your makeup bag. Start with a clean face and full consideration of skin tone and coloring. Contour with foundation, blush and highlighter. Create dramatic eyes with liquid or pencil eyeliner and dark eyeshadows — plums and burgundies were popular — shaping in almond or catlike styles. Add shimmer just below the eyebrows and plenty of mascara. Lips can be lined a shade lighter or darker than lipstick, which might be dark, neutral or even flesh-toned.


Jamaican-inspired ska music boomed in the 1990s, and pop queen Gwen Stefani introduced an infectious look copied by many and envied by even more. A retro look on its own, the ska style requires a 1950s aesthetic with a touch of Eastern mysticism. To achieve Gwen’s ’90s look, shape eyebrows into thin arches and darken them with a black or brown pencil. After concealing flaws or perfecting skin with BB cream or powder, use liquid liner or a cosmetic ink marker to shape eyes into dramatic cat shapes, applying dark shadow to create more depth. False lashes or heavy mascara add more punch. Complete the look with dark red lipstick, matte or cream, and a few stick-on face jewels. Gwen liked to put hers between the eyebrows.

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