11 Things I Don't Miss About '90s Beauty

The makeup in the '90s was bold and brassy and unafraid of color. But as is tradition with daring looks, some of the hits came with a couple of misses. There are certain '90s beauty trends that I absolutely do not miss. I didn't understand them when I was nine, and I still don't understand them now. In fact, I vehemently hope that they don't crop back into the mainstream by some cruel twist of faith.

While everyone has their own personal style and some of my "what were they thinking?" moments might be tagged as someone else's absolute favorite trends, there were a couple of looks from the grunge age that I think most of us are more than happy to have just experienced once. We were open-minded. We gave it all a go. But now it's time to move on and never, ever look back.

From metallic bronze lipsticks to cotton-candy pink eyeshadows, certain beauty techniques don't warrant a second chance in our cosmetic arsenals. While most of us were too small to be yet exploring with smoky eyes or designer lipsticks, we still flipped through magazines, saw commercials, watched TV, and observed as the women in our families put on their own faces. So without further ado, below are 11 beauty trends from the '90s that I absolutely don't miss.

1. Hair Mascara

These were meant to be easy-to-swipe-on highlights, but literally made us look like we had the bright idea of streaking mascara through our hair. Random pops of blue in my bangs never appealed much to me, so I'm glad we haven't seen a resurrection of this... yet.

2. Pearly Bronze Lipsticks

I'm all for the comeback of brown lipstick, but in the way of Kylie Jenner and matte formulas. I like the looks of Drew Barrymore's brick browns and Jennifer Lopez's deep taupes from the '90s, but not this bronze, pearly hue. This just looks too galactic and Y2K-inspired for my tastes. Keep the metallic out of my lipstick tubes, please.

3. Pop Princess Pastel Colors

These frosted pinks and baby blues have the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Mandy Moore written all over them. They take me right back to taped posters on purple bedroom walls and boomboxes playing bonus tracks — but I'm so thankful those saccharine-sweet makeup days are behind us.

4. Over-Plucked Brows

Two words for you: Pamela. Anderson. Give me full, messy brows any day over these dental-floss-thin versions.

5. Culturally Appropriating Stick-Ons

From Gwen Stefani and her gem-decorated eyebrows to Delia's bindi stick-ons, I'm glad the majority of the population is sensitive enough to respect other people's cultures and not turn them into flash-in-the-pan fashion fads these days. Now, if only we could convince festival-goers to stop buying rain sticks and we'd be halfway home.

6. Streaky Highlights

Confession time: I had highlights just as streaky as Queen Mary J. Blige's, and I have an itch to burn every single photo documenting that wild night with the dye bottle. Why we thought chunky, contrasting streaks of blonde made for a decent look is beyond me, but you live and you learn.

7. Icy Eyeshadow

This look gave new meaning to an "icy stare." While it probably seemed fresh and playful back in the day, now it just looks like a 5-year-old got into her mom's Mary Kay products and went ham.

8. Heavy-Handed Smoky Eyes

On the other end of the spectrum, I'm also glad we perfected our smoky eye techniques to move away from this messy, sooty alternative. I mean, it just looks like she has a superhero eye mask on. While I love me some bold beauty looks, this one can stay firmly tucked away in history.

9. Crimped Hair

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While I'll admit that Tyra Banks looked bomb here, 99.9 percent of the rest of the population usually looks like a frizzy, hair-fried mess. Crimps might throw you back to the days when Justin Timberlake had Ramen noodle hair and cargo maxi skirts were a thing, but I'm just not interested in reliving those times again. A person is only so strong.

10. The Long Side Bang

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What was this random chunk of hair? A run-in with bubblegum? An accidental layer? A first-day-on-the-job hairstylist? My feelings mirror Xtina's face exactly.

11. The Tight Up-Do


Granted, a lot of women can pull off this slicked-back, tightly-coiled hairdo. But when I got it for my eighth grade dance, I looked like a stern, soured-on-life librarian, and I've hated the look ever since. So there. It's on my hit list.

What do you think? Do you hate all of these looks, too, or did I attack a couple of favorites? It's pretty cool how style is in the eye of the beholder, after all.

Images: Escada (1); Heartbreak Hotel (1); Universal Music Group International (2); Delia's (2); Maybelline (2)