The Best Beauty Looks From Your Fave '90s Characters

Photo: NBC/Getty.
If you grew up in the ‘90s, you know there were some pretty questionable trends you’d be embarrassed to admit you wore back then with pride. That’s because, more often than not, you plucked your eyebrows into nonexistence or wore millions of butterfly clips because you saw your favorite TV or movie character do it first.
It’s safe to say fictional characters gave us our first lessons into the confusing world of beauty. Without Kelly Kapowski, how would we know how to master the coveted girl-next-­door look? If it wasn’t for Angela Chase, where would we get our red-hair inspiration? They may not have been real, but their influence on beauty was and still is.
So, ahead, we picked some of the best beauty looks from our favorite fictional TV and movie characters that can still be worn today. Because, considering the decade’s popularity these days, who wouldn’t want to look like they just stepped out of the ‘90s — only better?
1 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
The Cosby Show
If there’s one person from the ‘90s I wanted to emulate the most, it was Denise Huxtable. She got away with wearing the craziest outfits and changed her hairstyle constantly, all while maintaining that relaxed, cool-girl vibe. I’d like to think what kept her from looking like a hot mess was her barely there makeup. No matter what she wore, Denise made it a rule to keep her beauty look simple. But, may we never forget the time she strayed from that path.

To achieve the same #wokeuplikethis look, switch your foundation for a lightweight tinted moisturizer, and go for bold brows and peach/nude tones for your lips and cheeks.
2 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Stila.
3 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Milani.
4 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Clinque.
5 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Maybelline.
6 of 49
Photo: NBC/Getty.
Saved by the Bell
She was head of the cheer squad; captain of the softball, swim, and volleyball teams; and took care of her three younger siblings all while being Bayside High’s ultimate babe. With everything she had going on, it was a wonder the girl had time to get ready in the morning. But, somehow, Kelly always pulled it together, and the results were the perfect mix of bombshell and girl-next-door. Her coordinating cheeks and lips made for a look that was totally bitchin’.

If you’re juggling a million projects at once (or a very demanding TV schedule — we’re not here to judge), then having one product that can be used for your cheeks, lips, and eyes is an easy way to cut down on your morning routine.
7 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Stila.
8 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Ilia.
9 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of RMS.
10 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
11 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sexy Hair.
12 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of MGM.
Thelma & Louise
Thelma & Louise: where the first documented movie selfie occurred and where we first truly realized the magnificence of Brad Pitt. There are many things to take away from this movie, but the most important, in terms of beauty, is that a road trip is no excuse to not look fabulous. Before running from the law, Thelma and Louise were the epitome of ‘90s beauty, complete with pastel eyeshadow, pink lip gloss, and early-‘90s curls. We might not copy this look exactly, but we’ll definitely be taking some notes from these selfie OGs.

To look your best for any impromptu road trip, find a primer that will keep your makeup from sliding off your face and a texturizer that will freshen up your windblown hair. For an updated take on Thelma’s powder-blue lids, opt for a teal gel liner, and finish the look with a hydrating lip color.
13 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
14 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Clinique.
15 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of NYX.
16 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Oribe.
17 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Okay, so technically the focus of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was on the crazy situations Will got himself into, but my eye always landed on the Banks sisters. Between trend-obsessed Hilary and Ashley’s tomboy outfits, there was endless inspiration in every episode. And, though their styles were different, one thing Hilary and Ashley shared was a love for bold brows and a red pout.

For Hilary’s look, try a lipstick with a brown-red tone and a moisturizing styler to enhance your curls. If you are going for the younger Banks sister, use a true red lipstick, and prep your hair with a smoothing product to make your blowout sleek and frizz-free.
18 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
19 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Nordstrom.
20 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Bobbi Brown.
21 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Bloomingdales.
22 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
23 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of NARS.
24 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Rimmel.
25 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of MTV.
Did we really add a cartoon character to this list of beauty looks? You bet. Jane Lane from MTV’s Daria was everything you could want in a best friend. She was effortlessly cool and sarcastic with a cynical sense of humor, all wrapped in a never-ending, deadpan expression. More importantly, though, if there was one fictional character in the ‘90s who rocked a dark lip like nobody’s business, it was Jane. And, really, if you’re going to have the same look for five seasons, you'd better make it good.

If you’re going to do a darker pout, the rest of your makeup should be minimal. To ensure the color stays put, use a translucent lip liner and then a lip brush for even application.
26 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Dior.
27 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Stila.
28 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
29 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
30 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
She taught us some of life’s most important lessons: how to show you’re not interested, how to flirt with a crush, and how to deliver the perfect response. But, really, the best lesson of all was that a good blowout can make you feel invincible. After Cher’s enviable wardrobe, her shiny, bouncy locks were a bit of an obsession of mine. How did she manage to get them straight and voluminous at the same time?! The exact answer may remain one of life’s biggest mysteries, but we have a few tips and products to help you achieve the same results.

For an at-home blowout, you only need a few products to get your mane sleek and perfect. Use a styling balm while your hair is damp to help smooth your strands and a heat protectant to save your hair from being fried. Then, section your hair with clips and use a large barrel brush for more volume while you dry your hair.
31 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Target.
32 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of John Frieda.
33 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Bumble and bumble.
34 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sally Beauty.
35 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
36 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Walmart.
37 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
My So-Called Life
If your mind doesn’t automatically go to Angela Chase when you think of teen angst, then you missed out on the answers to some pretty important questions (anyone remember Kafkaesque?). Maybe everyone’s high school experience wasn’t quite as dramatic, but I guess if you’re dealing with a compassionate soul like Jordan Catalano (played by Jared Leto in his pre-hombré days), you’re allowed to wax poetic about every. Single. Thing. And, like her angsty inner monologue, a subtle smudged liner, berry lip, and rich, red locks were Angela Chase staples.

If you're looking to channel grunge à la Miss Chase, use a permanent hair dye, or if you don’t want to fully commit, go for a semi-permanent red version. Using color-protecting shampoo will ensure your shade lasts as long as possible. Likewise, a dry shampoo will help you skip a wash day or two. For her makeup look, smudge a kohl liner on your upper and lower lashline, and use tinted lip balm in a darker hue.
38 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Manic Panic.
39 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Oribe.
40 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Ulta.
41 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
42 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Burt's Bees.
43 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Sister, Sister
I bet you started singing the Sister, Sister theme song as soon as you saw this picture. Yeah, I was obsessed with this show, too. Because, really, what makes for a better concept than twins separated at birth who find each other at the mall? Of course, the show’s popularity could also be credited to Tia and Tamera being completely adorable and funny. Though they opted for straight hair in the later seasons, I’ll always love these twins for the kinks and curls they sported in the beginning.

The number-one curly-hair rule is to keep your locks moisturized. Use a cleansing conditioner instead of shampoo, which tends to strip your hair of its natural oils. Always use a deep conditioner and, if your curls need an extra boost, a curl-enhancing styler. If you can’t air-dry, use a diffuser so you’re not applying heat directly to your curls.
44 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of
45 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Ulta.
46 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Ouidad.
47 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Target.
48 of 49
Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
49 of 49
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebookpage. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!