Those of us who wore our overalls, crop tops and Birkenstocks with pride in the '90s might have to pause before jumping on those looks a second time around—trends are fleeting, after all, but Throwback Thursdays are forever.
Not so when it comes to make-up and other beauty essentials. Sure, mistakes were made—*cough* body glitter *cough*—but many of the hot products that flew off shelves in the '90s are still considered classics today.
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey ($16)
Yes, the internet is full of odes to this sheer, ultra-flattering lip shade, but that's only because it happens to be the Platonic ideal of a lipstick. Swipe once and you've got a subtle berry stain, add more for a darker hit of juicy color, or apply with a a lip brush for a more polished look.
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Color in Vamp ($27)
In the mid-90s, wearing Vamp signified more than just a love of dark, dramatic nails. Vamp girls were sophisticated, edgy, and basically one Steven Meisel photoshoot away from being Kate Moss. Vamp may no longer be a lifestyle choice, but when it comes to perfectly complementing the rich jewel tones of fall, nothing beats it.
MAC Lip Pencil in Spice ($16)
I spent most of 1997 looking for Spice every time I passed the MAC store in the mall based on its reputation as the preferred lip tool of supermodels like Linda Evangelista, but alas, it was always—ALWAYS—sold out. As perfectly lined, matte lips make a comeback, its still the ultimate not-quite-nude shade to use as a foundation to keep any lip color in place.
In the late '80s and early '90s, mousse got a bad name as Valley Girls pumped so much into their hair that it crunched. When used as directed, however, mousse is the perfect, light formula to keep expertly tousled waves from getting weighed down by gravity throughout the day. DryBar, which was not even around in the '90s, makes the definitive mousse for the 21st century ($25).
Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Rum Raisin ($26)
No one (other than Calvin Klein) can lay claim to inventing the look of the '90s as much as Bobbi Brown. The make-up artist's first collection of brown-based lipsticks debuted in 1991, igniting the decade's passion for pouts covered in earthy browns, matte nudes, and bold burgundies, based on Brown's philosophy that those color palettes look more flattering on the skin. If you love the drama of a berry pout, but aren't ready to go full Lorde, Rum Raisin is a Bobbi Brown classic that strikes just the right balance between plum and brown.
NARS Blush in Orgasm ($30)
It would be wrong to say that NARS' Orgasm is part of a '90s resurgence. This blush—nearly universally flattering with both peach and pink tones and just a hint of sparkle—has been a been a hit since it launched in 1999 and is one of NARS most popular products ever, leading the company to create an entire line of Orgasm-hued products.
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat ($41)
Before anyone had ever heard of contouring or its high priestess, Kim Kardashian, there was Touche Éclat, a luxuriously easy-to-use highlighting pen that erases dark under-eye circles and other unsightly shadows. Scientists say that's because its luminizing properties attract and reflect light to fool the eye into thinking skin is plumper and more radiant, but I'm pretty sure the No. 1 ingredient is magic. That would at least explain the price tag.