Last Updated on February 21, 2023
If you grew up in the noughties, you’ll remember only too well the thin eyebrows, heavy lip liner and frosted eyes we bloody loved back then.
Some of the fashion disasters from the decade still haunt us to this day, but Gen-Z’s yearning for the past has brought back this era’s trends with full force.
Whether you like it or not, Y2K makeup trends are back and better than ever. From glittery lips to heavy bronzer, these iconic looks are perfect for creating a bold and unforgettable statement.
Scroll down to check out the biggest Y2K makeup trends right now and how to get the look, so you can start embracing the nostalgia of the early noughties in 2023.
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Y2K makeup explained
It’s important to understand why Y2K makeup and fashion looked the way they did.
In the late 90s, there was hysteria about the impending doom of the millennium. It sounds silly now, but back then everyone was panicking about potential computer errors that would happen once the desktop calendars go from ’99 to ’00.
What came out of this situation was a fascination with technology and science fiction, which also influenced the Y2K makeup trends. Everything was meant to look futuristic and techy but in a cute way—metallic shiny lips, colourful hair accessories, and frosty eyeshadows.
Y2K makeup trends
Y2K makeup was all about colour. Having a colourful eyeshadow palette gave us a chance to experiment with a wide range of bold looks.
You could choose from blues, silvers, or greens and allow your eyelids to be the centre of attention. If you’re feeling a little extra, you might even adorn your lashes with rhinestones. The possibilities were endless, so you could truly let your imagination run wild.
24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil 1.2g, £18, Urban Decay – buy now
Mini Pastel Palette, £24, Natasha Denona – buy now
Colouring Eye Pencil 1.4g (Various Shades), now £6.40, Illamasqua – buy now
Ultimate Shadow Palette – Festival, £16, NYX – buy now
Frosted eyes and lips
This cool-toned look was a staple of the early 2000s and is now making a major comeback. To achieve this look, highlight either your eyes or your lips, or go all out with both shimmery eyes and frosted lips.
For eyeshadows, it’s recommended to use a primer and gently press the shadows onto your eyelids to intensify the glitter. Keep it frosty by choosing pale shades of blue, purple, or silver.
Single Shade Eye Color in Matte, Metallic, Satin and Glitter Finish, £6.36, Almay – buy now
Jumbo Eye Pencil, £5.47, NYX – buy now
Metalasting Shine Metallic Liquid Lipstick, £6, CYO- buy now
Glitter Melt Liquid Eyeshadow, £6, e.l.f. – buy now
People often forget that the early 2000s was also the era of grunge. This look might have been outshone by the bright colours, metallic fabrics, and shimmering body glitter of the time, but the heavy and messy eyeliner look was a popular choice on the grunge scene.
Even though it’s called ‘messy,’ it’s a lot more chic than racoon-like—think goth glam, think Wednesday Addams.
To achieve this look, you should use a thick pencil liner, not a gel or liquid one. You want something smokey, not runny or wet when you use a small sponge, pencil brush, or your fingertip to smudge it.
Kohl Eyeliner Pencil, £4.99, Max Factor – buy now
Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Pencil, £2.99, Rimmel London – buy now
Dark lipliners & glossy lips
Who can forget the look of lipliner noticeably darker than the lipstick shade? This look, usually paired with glossy lips, created the illusion of fuller lips.
This look originates from from the Black and Latina community and stemmed from the lack of inclusive lipstick colours in the early 2000s.
Fortunately the makeup industry has grown to cater for far greater skin tones, but we should acknowledge the origins of this trend.
Cosmetics Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, £22, NARS – buy now
Brilliant Signature Plumping Lip Gloss 7ml (Various Shades), £9.99, L’Oreal Paris – buy now
Lip Pencil (Various Shades), £18, MAC – buy now
Lustre Lip Oil 6ml (Various Shades), £22, ICONIC London – buy now
If you’re interested in Y2K makeup trends, you can’t forget the chokehold bronzer had us in during the early 2000s.
Whether it adds warmth to your complexion or is used to create a sculpted and defined look, bronzer is a versatile and timeless trend that’s perfect for any season and era.
Terracotta Light The Sun-Kissed Natural Healthy Glow Powder 10g, £46, Guerlain – buy now
Sheer Bronze 12.5ml, £21, ICONIC London – buy now