There’s been a spate of 90s-inspired makeup lately, which I suppose shouldn’t really be surprising. The kids of the dial-up era are adults now, and the 90s is finally ripe for nostalgia.
Can you believe it’s been two whole decades?
I was 16 in 1999, trying desperately to look like I wasn’t trying. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be a teen in the 90s, look no further than Channing Tatum’s character in 21 Jump Street. Basically, to be a cool kid in the 90s:
Never let them see you try, and never two-strap your backpack.
That one-strap thing was so accurate I think I still have the uneven shoulders to prove it.
I wasn’t very into makeup as a teen, but what cosmetics I did use pretty much still fell into the “didn’t try” category. You want to be effortless like Cher in Clueless, because making an effort is, like, super tragic.
Johnson’s Baby Powder
Dewy who? The only “dewy” we knew back in the 90s was the Dewey Decimal System. Matte ruled the day, and I don’t think I moisturized till I was in my 20s. True story.
Pressed powder fell in the try-hard category, so everyone was pretty much toting bottles of Johnson’s Baby Powder instead. Don’t ask me why; it just made sense at the time.
All we needed was the powder, a handkerchief, and a body young and strong enough to withstand clown lung. Hey, at least our noses weren’t shiny.
Clean and Clear Oil Control Sheets
Speaking of shine, the biggest challenge of our teenage years — aside from the impending end of the world on 01/01/2000 — was grease.
Oiliness is next to ugliness, we would all sagely agree, passing around the ubiquitous blue sheets. The Clean and Clear Oil Control Sheets were prime high school commodity, much like kisses and pad paper.
If you had friends in the 90s (fingers crossed) then you know that the ritual of sharing these blue sheets meant you had to compare the post-nose application results. Getting grossed out together by all the captured oil was pretty much a cornerstone of teenage social relations in the 90s.
The Body Shop Born Lippy
I went to a pretty strict school. So strict, in fact, that Santa Claus was banned from the premises lest he steal the spotlight from Baby Jesus. Harry Potter was public enemy number one, and back-masking cassette tapes of rock music to search for subliminal messages was an actual thing.
Makeup, obviously, was a no go so we all settled for the next best thing: tinted lip balm. I’m pretty sure there were a lot of brands available at the time, but there was none more coveted than The Body Shop’s Born Lippy.
Those tiny pots of tinted lip balm were pretty expensive for high school girls, but we found ways to buy them somehow because roughly 70% of the batch would be reapplying between classes and during recess.
I don’t remember Born Lippy being particularly good for chapped lips, but we weren’t exactly buying them for lip care, duh.
HerBench Pretty When Pinched Lip and Cheek Tint
This patchy, streaky mess was a rite of passage for teen girls in the 90s. We all remember the first time we carelessly dotted this lip and cheek tint on our faces, only to realize a few seconds later that it
Pretty When Pinched was our first brush with actual color payoff, I think, and what a lesson that little red purple gel stain was.
Maybelline Fruity Jelly Lip Gloss
Ah, lip gloss. It’s not practical, it gets all over your hair, and you have to re-apply every few minutes because the goop refuses to stay put.
Still love it, though.
The lip gloss of today is so much more sophisticated. Fenty Beauty’s Gloss Bomb is a masterclass in what lip gloss ought to be: high shine, great texture, non-sticky formula.
We didn’t have any of that back in the 90s, but we sure as hell didn’t care. It was all about the gloss all day every day.
I can’t remember all of the glosses that were available back then, but this tube of fruit-scented shiny goop was my personal favorite. Nobody is born with shiny lips, man, so clearly it was the Maybelline.
But enough with the nostalgia. I honestly don’t miss being a ball of angst at 16, and I’ve moved on to better cosmetics.
I’m 35 now, and 450 pesos is no longer my threshold for expensive. I still hate looking like I’m trying, though, so I guess some things just never change.
Featured image from Digital Spy