Tutorial: 90s Grunge Inspired

I was born right smack dab in the middle of the 90s and I don’t feel like I’ve been alive that long. That said, it’s always baffled me that somehow they’ve already come back into fashion already. I feel like they haven’t been gone long again to be missed; yet, it’s been more than 20 years and plaid, chokers, and brown lipstick are coming back into style. At least we left the mom jeans where they belong. Anyway, since it looks like the 90s are here for now, here’s my take on recreating a makeup look from my childhood. I was only a kid in the 90s so I didn’t wear makeup then, but I remember what my older girl cousins and starlets of the time wore and there were three distinct styles that come to mind: lots of frosty pastels and body glitter, brown everything, and grunge.

I modeled this look after the last two and combined all of the brown and nudes I remember with a soft grunge style. I use a lot of warm browns (although I remember cool browns being popular as well) in a smokey and round shape around the eye, thin out my brows, keep my skin super matte, and beef up the mascara for an almost spidery lash look. I hope you enjoy taking a throwback to the 90s with me so throw on some Backstreet Boys, turn on an episode of Friends, pull out your jean jackets (I literally took this one out of the back of my mom’s closet), and let’s get started!



  1. For my base, I wanted a very flawless face but I still wanted to keep things extremely matte in order to keep with the grunge theme. I applied my Smashbox Photofinish Primer and then layered my Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless over my Revlon Colorstay Foundation with a Beauty Blender to prevent cakiness. I finished off with the Maybelline Fit Me concealer to hide away any remaining blemishes (curse you, breakouts!).
  2. Since we are applying eyeshadow around the eye, I wanted to apply concealer first to create a flawless base. I used my Collection Concealer in Medium Cool, which is a half shade lighter than my skintone. I wanted highlight under the eyes, but still keep things matte and this does the trick! After, I went over the eyelids and under the lower lashline with my Urban Decay Primer Potion to get the eyes prepped.
  3. With my Sonia Kashuk Eye Couture Mattes Palette, I took the orange-tan shade and applied it all over the lid with a fluffy shader brush, keeping the color concentrated under the crease.
  4. Taking Colourpop’s Super Shock Shadow in Central Perk (queue Friends theme song) from their 90s Fall Collection (not gonna lie, this collection was part of my inspiration for this look) and a small stiff dome brush, I buffed the color in small circular motions through the crease. Once I got to the outer corner, I started sweeping downward and around to create a round shape instead of a winged one. I also applied a little of this on the outer third of the lower lashline to add some definition.
  5. Going back to that Sonia Kashuk palette, I took the medium-dark red brown shade and darkened up that same crease area, using a fluffy crease brush. I kept the color focused on the inner part of the crease so that the Central Perk shade looked diffused on the edges. Again, I took this color onto the lower lashline, but taking it even further to under the pupil of the eye and smoking it out lower. Make sure all the color is diffused to keep things looking smokey and grunge. nintiestutpg2
  6. With a small detail brush, I applied this gorgeous shimmery copper shade Boy Band (yes, I had to picture it with my old Backstreet Boys CD!) from Colourpop to the lower waterline. These shadows are a dry mousse texture, so don’t worry about them staying put in the waterline. From what I can remember, there wasn’t a ton of shimmer in the 90s, mostly straight up glitter or frost, but mostly matte. This is my tribute to that trend.
  7. Back to the Sonia Kashuk palette, I took this cream tan color (anything close to your own skin tone will do) and with a stiff dome brush, I blended out any harsh edges to make sure everything was very very smokey.
  8. I’m not sure if this is historically accurate, but what from what I can remember and taking from grunge inspiration, I piled on the mascara to give the lashes a spidery effect. I didn’t curl the lashes to give them that chaotic feel and then I layered the Younique 3D Lash Fibers + which is already a pretty thickening and clumpy-ish mascara to give that spidery look. I also took a bit of just the mascara to the bottom lashes.
  9. The one big trend I remember distinctly from the 90s is the super thinned out brows. After this trend I was told by everyone and their mother to avoid over plucking! Anyways, because I didn’t actually want to give up my bold, fleeked brows, I took a bit of the Collection concealer again and sculpted out the thinner shape I wanted. Then, I went in with the NYX Micro Brow pencil and filled in only the new shape. To set everything in place, I used the gel end of my Pixi Brow Duo.
  10. Before applying my cheek products, I’ve been using a new technique. I spray on a bit of the Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water to prep the foundation for the cheek powders. This gives a bit of tackiness to the base so that the powders have something to cling on to. This is the best use for the primer water I’ve found so far! For blush, I just picked up this Makeup Revolution Blush Palette in Sugar and Spice from Ulta. I used the mauvey, taupe color in the top left corner of the palette and applied to the apples of the cheeks and brought it slightly up towards the temples.
  11. There wasn’t really any contouring in the 90s, so I just used the Fawn Contour powder from the Anastasia Contour Kit in Light Medium as a matte bronzer and applied right under the tops of the cheekbones and forehead. nintiestut3
  12. For the lips, I went with Gerard Cosmetic’s 1995 lipstick, which is the perfect brown toned, pink mauve. If you want to keep things more daytime appropriate or wearable, you can stick with this lighter color.
  13. If you would like to go full 90s, you can top the lips off with Colourpop’s Lippie Stix in Grunge. I find this lip combo to be the perfect 90s warm, taupe lip and it lasts forever on the lips, even through eating and drinking! However, if you want to lean more towards the grunge side, you can just apply Grunge which will wear a darker brown.


Alrighty, that’s a wrap for this throwback! I hope that you enjoyed taking a trip back down memory lane with me. If you recreate this look yourself, perhaps for a 90s themed party or just for funsies, be sure to tag me on social media using the links below! What was your favorite trend from the 90s?Leave me a comment below! Personally, I kinda miss those chokers and the music was perfection. Until next week-

All my love,


Instagram || Twitter || Google+ || Pinterest || Bloglovin’ || Facebook


5 Replies to “Tutorial: 90s Grunge Inspired”

  1. I’m so glad you have gone with a wearable brown on your eyes. I used to do the blue eyeshadow thing with brown lips – it was nasty! God knows what my 15 year old self was thinking.
    Fave fashion trend had to be baggy combats with crop tops x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I tried to make sure it was still something that anyone could wear today while still giving a nod to the 90s. I’m sure everyone thought that looking back though! That was a fun trend! Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: