90s Grunge Makeup Revival: Tips, Trends, and Lipstick Colors

90s grunge makeup - featured image

Hey there, fellow 90s enthusiasts! The 90s was an iconic era that gave us unforgettable fashion and beauty trends. One of the most prominent and enduring trends of the 90s is grunge makeup. It’s all about that rebellious, edgy, and effortlessly cool look that still captures our hearts today. In this article, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about 90s grunge makeup, including the trendiest lipstick colors to achieve that authentic 90s vibe.

Table of Contents

What is 90s Grunge Makeup?

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s revisit what 90s grunge makeup is all about. Grunge makeup is a style that emerged during the early 90s, coinciding with the rise of grunge music. It’s known for its minimalistic, just-rolled-out-of-bed look, which paradoxically takes a lot of effort to achieve. This style focuses on accentuating the eyes and lips while keeping the skin looking natural and slightly disheveled.

woman with 90s grunge makeup

The Basics of 90s Grunge Makeup

  1. Flawless but Not Perfect Skin: The key to a grunge look is to keep your skin looking flawless but not overly done. Use a lightweight foundation or concealer to cover blemishes and uneven skin tone. Opt for a matte finish, and avoid excessive contouring.

  2. Smokey Eyes: Grunge makeup is all about smokey eyes. Use earthy, dark shades like deep browns, charcoals, or even dark green to create a smokey effect. Don’t be afraid to smudge the eyeliner to get that imperfect look.

  3. Bold Brows: The 90s were all about bold brows, and grunge makeup is no exception. Fill in your eyebrows with a shade that matches your natural hair color, and make them slightly bushy but well-groomed.

  4. Minimal Mascara: Apply a minimal amount of mascara to your upper lashes. Grunge makeup embraces the au naturel look, so there’s no need for dramatic lashes.

  5. Lips with Attitude: Dark, dramatic lips are a hallmark of 90s grunge makeup. We’ll delve deeper into lipstick colors later on in this article.

  6. Messy Hair: To complete the look, don’t forget the messy, bedhead hair. You can use texturizing sprays and a little backcombing to achieve that perfectly imperfect hairstyle.

90s Grunge Lipstick Colors

Now, let’s get into the exciting part – lipstick colors that will transport you back to the 90s with the perfect grunge look. Achieving the right lip color is crucial for nailing this trend.

1. Deep Burgundy

A deep, rich burgundy lipstick is a quintessential choice for grunge makeup. It’s dark and dramatic, exuding a sense of rebellion and individuality. When wearing this shade, remember to keep your eye makeup minimal to let your lips take the spotlight.

2. Chocolate Brown

Chocolate brown lipstick was a 90s staple and is making a comeback. It’s an earthy tone that adds warmth to your look. Pair it with matte eyeshadow in similar tones to create a harmonious grunge effect.

3. Dark Plum

Dark plum lipstick is both sultry and grunge. It’s perfect for those who want to experiment with dark shades but aren’t quite ready for black. Pair it with soft brown eyeshadow and messy hair to complete the look.

4. Black

For the true grunge enthusiasts, black lipstick is a bold choice. It’s unconventional and edgy, perfect for achieving that authentic 90s grunge look. Balance it with neutral eye makeup to avoid going overboard.

5. Brick Red

Brick red is a versatile lipstick shade that fits the grunge aesthetic perfectly. It’s not too dark, not too bright, and has that unmistakable 90s feel. Pair it with smudged eyeliner and bushy brows for a classic grunge appearance.

6. Mauve

Mauve is a softer alternative for those who want a touch of grunge without going too dark. It’s a muted, dusty pink that adds a hint of rebelliousness to your look without being overly dramatic.

7. Dark Berry

Dark berry shades strike the perfect balance between drama and elegance. They’re deep and intense, making them a popular choice among grunge makeup enthusiasts. This shade pairs well with subtle, earthy eyeshadows.

90s Grunge Eye Makeup

Grunge music and fashion dominated the 1990s, and so did the makeup style. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam influenced not only the music scene but also the fashion and beauty trends of the decade. Grunge eye makeup was all about breaking free from the polished, glamorous looks of the previous era and embracing a more rebellious, undone aesthetic.

Fast forward to today, and the 90s grunge look is back in vogue. Celebrities, influencers, and makeup enthusiasts are recreating this iconic style, putting their unique spin on it. So, what’s the key to nailing the grunge eye makeup? Let’s break it down.

Essential Tools and Products

Before you start creating your grunge-inspired eye makeup, make sure you have the right tools and products. Here’s a list of essentials to get you started:

  1. Eyeliner: A good eyeliner, preferably in a dark shade like black or dark brown, is crucial for achieving that smudged, lived-in look.

  2. Eyeshadow Palette: Opt for an eyeshadow palette with a variety of matte shades in earthy tones like brown, gray, and olive green.

  3. Mascara: A volumizing mascara is essential to complete your grunge eye makeup.

  4. Eyeshadow Brushes: You’ll need brushes for blending and smudging your eyeshadow.

  5. Cotton Swabs and Makeup Remover: These will come in handy for fixing any mistakes or smudging.

Now that you have your tools and products ready, it’s time to get started on creating the perfect grunge eye makeup look.

Step-by-Step Guide to 90s Grunge Eye Makeup

Step 1: Prep Your Eyes

Before applying any makeup, it’s essential to prep your eyelids. Start by applying a primer to ensure your eyeshadow stays in place and looks vibrant. This step will also prevent the eyeshadow from creasing.

Step 2: Apply a Base Shade

Choose a neutral, matte eyeshadow from your palette and apply it all over your eyelids. This will create a clean canvas for the grunge look. Blend it well to avoid harsh lines.

Step 3: Define the Crease

Now, it’s time to add depth to your eyes. Using a darker shade from your palette, define the crease of your eyelids. The key here is to create a subtle gradient effect. Blend the eyeshadow thoroughly to soften the lines.

Step 4: Line Your Eyes

Grunge makeup is known for its smudged eyeliner. Using a dark eyeliner pencil, line your upper and lower lash lines. Don’t worry about creating perfect, crisp lines – the idea is to make it slightly messy. After applying the eyeliner, use a smudging brush or a cotton swab to smudge it for that authentic grunge look.

Step 5: Add Depth with More Shadow

For an even more intense grunge effect, you can layer on some more dark eyeshadow along the lash lines. This will add depth and make your eyes pop.

Step 6: Mascara

Apply a generous coat of mascara to your upper and lower lashes. The goal is to achieve a slightly clumpy, lived-in mascara look.

Step 7: Touch-Up and Cleanup

After completing your grunge eye makeup, take a moment to check for any fallout or smudges. Use a clean cotton swab dipped in makeup remover to tidy up any areas that need it.

Variations on the Grunge Eye Makeup Look

While the classic 90s grunge eye makeup involves dark, moody shades and smudged eyeliner, there are several variations you can explore:

  1. Pop of Color: Experiment with a pop of color by adding bold, jewel-toned eyeshadow to your look.

  2. Glitter Grunge: Add a touch of grunge glamour by incorporating some glitter or shimmer into your eyeshadow.

  3. Under-Eye Smudge: Extend the smudged eyeliner look by smudging eyeshadow beneath your lower lash line for an extra edgy vibe.

  4. Winged Liner: For a modern twist, create a subtle winged liner effect while keeping the rest of your makeup grunge-inspired.

The Perfect 90s Grunge Lip to Match

To complete your 90s grunge look, you can’t forget about your lips. Choose a lip color that complements your eye makeup. Here are some options:

  1. Deep, Matte Lips: Go for matte lipstick in deep shades like burgundy, brown, or even black for that iconic 90s grunge vibe.

  2. Brown Lip Liner: You can overline your lips slightly with a brown lip liner to achieve a fuller, more dramatic effect.

  3. Sheer Lip Gloss: If you prefer a more subtle lip, a sheer lip gloss can add a touch of shine without overpowering your eye makeup.

Maintaining the 90s Grunge Look

One of the appeals of 90s grunge makeup is its effortless and slightly disheveled appearance. However, if you want your look to stay put throughout the day, here are some tips:

  1. Setting Spray: A setting spray will help your makeup last longer and stay in place.

  2. Blotting Papers: Keep blotting papers on hand to control excess oil and maintain that matte finish.

  3. Carry Essentials: Don’t forget to bring your eyeliner, lipstick, and a small eyeshadow palette for touch-ups when you’re on the go.

Achieving the Perfect 90s Grunge Makeup Look​

Now that you know about the lipstick colors that define the 90s grunge makeup trend, it’s time to put it all together. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve the perfect grunge makeup look:

Step 1: Create a Flawless Base

Start by applying a lightweight, matte foundation or concealer to even out your skin tone. The key is to have a flawless but not overly done base.

Step 2: Embrace the Smokey Eyes

Use dark eyeshadows to create a smokey effect on your eyelids. Charcoals, deep browns, and dark greens work well. Don’t forget to smudge the eyeliner for that 90s grunge vibe.

Step 3: Bold Brows

Fill in your eyebrows with a shade matching your hair color. Make them bold but slightly untamed for that authentic grunge look.

Step 4: Minimal Mascara

Apply a minimal amount of mascara to your upper lashes. The goal is to keep the eyelashes looking natural and not overly dramatic.

Step 5: Choose Your Lipstick

Now, it’s time to pick one of the 90s grunge lipstick colors we discussed earlier. Your choice depends on how bold or subtle you want your look to be.

Step 6: Messy Hair

Complete your grunge look with messy, textured hair. Use texturizing sprays and backcombing to achieve the perfect 90s bedhead style.

90s grunge makeup - featured image


The 90s grunge makeup look is all about embracing imperfection and expressing your inner rebel. It’s a trend that has stood the test of time and continues to inspire makeup enthusiasts today. Whether you opt for deep burgundy, chocolate brown, or black lipstick, remember that the key to nailing this look is in the attitude and confidence you bring to it. So, go ahead, experiment with different 90s grunge makeup styles, and let your inner grunge goddess shine!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to do 90s grunge makeup?

In the 1990s, grunge makeup was pretty simple. You needed three things: a flat, non-shiny base, dark lipstick, and smoky eyes. But today, things have changed a bit. Page explains that the style that became famous in the 90s isn’t all that different from the grunge makeup you see these days. It still has that dark and moody vibe.

How do you do 90s makeup?

Back then, you’d see a lot of bright pastel colors like pink, violet, and green. Some folks even added a touch of glitter to their makeup for a bit of sparkle. If you wanted a grunge style, you might have gone for a smokey eye with thick, smudged eyeliner. But if you preferred a more natural look, brown tones and matching eyeliner were the way to go.

What do you need for grunge makeup?

In the 90s, ‘grunge makeup looked like having smudgy eyeliner, matte skin, lots of mascara, and dark lips. Nowadays, it’s easier to create these looks with modern makeup products,’ says Sara Wren, who’s the Director of Artistry at Milk Makeup.

What makeup did girls wear in the 90s?

These special young stars introduced us to 90s makeup trends like brown lipstick, blue eyeshadow, and super sexy eyeliner. We’re excited to see these styles making a comeback in 2023, especially on TikTok where trends are reborn. But it’s important to note that not every 90s look has remained popular over time.

What are grunge makeup colors?

Grunge lips usually have lipstick in dark red, burgundy, blue-gray, or russet colors. To complete the look, apply a bit of mascara on your lashes. You can darken your eyebrows by either brushing them up or keeping them as they are. This style is not about being perfect and neat.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also be interested to learn about 90s grunge jewelry, 90s grunge clothing, and 90s shoes and boots.