'90s Makeup Is Back: Here's How To Wear It In 2019

Makeup has evolved countless times since the '90s, with glass skin, latex lips and heavy contouring usurping extreme matte skin and intense kohl-rimmed eyes. But according to Terry Barber, director of makeup artistry for MAC Cosmetics UK, nostalgic '90s makeup is back in a big way.
Having joined the MAC team in 1994, Terry's seen all the biggest '90s beauty trends come into play, and one look is making a true resurgence on the catwalk, Instagram and IRL: the heavily lined lip. "I'm really seeing the return of lip liner," Terry told Refinery29 when we asked his opinion on the biggest, burgeoning summer makeup trends. "I've liked the look ever since the '90s and it's never gone out of fashion for me. In fact, that would be my favourite for this season."
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To keep it fresh and modern, the '90s lip has undergone a slight twist for 2019. "I think the shape is a little bit more classic, tighter and stronger than before," continued Terry. "Back in the '90s, subtlety wasn't an issue. Lip liner could be darker around the edges and super light in the middle, and I still love that. But now, it's about using the liner to frame the lip so that the darker colour (he recommends tawny, chestnut shades) feathers into the lighter colour in the centre. "Use a strong colour but take the edge off a little bit." Blur any harsh edges with a brush or your finger to make it feel more romantic.
Max Factor ambassador and makeup artist Caroline Barnes is also an advocate of the '90s feel but in order to wear the look in 2019, she suggests following a few key rules.
"In the '90s, we used to slick a really light gloss onto the centre of the lips but this time around, I'd swap the high shine finish for something much more balmy and understated," recommended Caroline. "If you're going to go deep with the lip liner colour, that should be enough. You don't want the lips to wear you." Try MAC's Lip Pencil in Chestnut, £15, or various tawny shades depending on your skin tone, and Max Factor's Colour Elixir Lipstick, £13.75, in nude shades like Subtle Orchid or Rich Mocha.
To nail the look, Terry suggests perhaps choosing a lipstick that is a little less contrasting with your lip liner. "Lipstick was always bold and framed whereas now, it has so many nuances and there are different techniques to wearing the '90s lip."
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Skin
Getting the '90s look right, especially the lips, is all about how you balance it, explained Caroline. "To put a 2019 twist on the '90s look, the skin shouldn't be so powdery and matte, as it has been in the past. Instead, it's much fresher and more dewy." That said, if your skin is too glossy, it might not work. "There has to be a juxtaposition of textures for the '90s feel to look good," said Caroline. "If I'm creating a perfect, fresh skin canvas for a client, I'll use a long-wear foundation and then slowly add dewiness around the edge of the face." Try Urban Decay's Stay Naked Foundation, £29.50, or UOMA Beauty's Say What?! Foundation, £29.50.
"I always use Dr Perricone MD's No Makeup Instant Blur, £45, as a primer on areas like the sides of the nose where pores are most visible," Caroline advised. "It works like poly filler and really smooths the skin, giving it a clean, clear canvas."
And Terry suggests skipping intense highlighters for something a little more slick and metallic, such as the MAC Hyper Real Glow Palette, £36. "Heavy pigment particles can sometimes look too obnoxious," he mentioned, as well as a little outdated. Also try Barry M's Liquid Chrome Highlighter Drops, £6.99, and e.l.f Jelly Highlighter, £6.
Brows
"In the '90s, brows just didn't exist, but to haul the '90s look into 2019, they would have to be ample. Think quite bushy and fluffy," said Caroline. "It's these subtle changes that make the trend modern and wearable." If your brows are on the lighter side, try Max Factor's Brow Revival, £9.99. When brushed through, the subtle pigment clings to hairs to plump up scant brows. If it's actual hairs you're looking to create, Glossier's Brow Flick, £15, builds believable strokes in seconds.
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Eyes
"Eyeliner is always about the perfect flick, which looks beautiful, but now we're seeing the return of the waterline: lining eyes with black kohl," said Terry, who rebranded the '90s-inspired feel 'modern emo'. "The way that the lip looks and the way the eye is framed is what is changing in beauty," he added. "There is still fresh skin, but just like the lips, it's the way that things are shaped that makes it wearable in 2019."
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