The authentic 90s grunge makeup was characterized by dark, smokey eyes with heavy eyeliner and charcoal-colored lipstick.
The key to this style is making your smoky eye the focal point. By concentrating on the eye, you can get away with just a little mascara on top lashes.
Larger eyes are one of our most defining features so it’s important that they take center stage when doing 90s grunge makeup.
Here is a step-by-step guide to achieving this look:
Use an eyelash curler and mascara.
Curl lashes and apply one coat of mascara. This instantly opens up the eyes and makes them look bigger, which is what 90s grunge makeup is all about.
Apply your eyeliner and eyeshadow.
Using a black pen or gel liner, line your upper lash line from the corner all the way along the lash line for a winged effect (this will make your eyes appear larger). If you don’t want to draw on a winged eye, then just line the top lash line all the way along.
I used a brown eyeshadow to fill in my brows.
I did this to make the brows look darker, which helps frame the face and makes it appear smaller. Because you have already lined your upper lid, you don’t have to worry about lining your bottom lash line with liner.
Apply black eyeliner to the waterline of your eye.
This will give the illusion of a larger lash line and also makes your eyes appear bigger and brighter. If you prefer not to use black eyeliner on the waterline, then just skip this step.
Apply eyeshadow to the eyelid.
I used a dark brown on my upper lid and a dark brown to contour my eyelid. I also applied darker brown eyeshadow to my lower lid, extending the crease of my eye.
This creates a subtle but dramatic effect.
Use your finger or a blending brush to blend the shadow around your crease (not in it).
Apply some matte dark brown eyeshadow to the lower crease of your eye to bring out and further define the inner corner of your eye.
Using a fluffy brush, apply a dark brown eyeshadow to the outer corner of your eye and blend it across the entire area of your lid. Make sure to blend well so it’s not too harsh.
Apply a light shimmery brown shadow on top of all your colors for definition.
With a flat eyeshadow brush, do this in a windshield-wiper motion from above the crease in an arc under where you applied your darker shadow.
This will help make everything show up more clearly and gives you definition without going overboard.
Tease your brows.
I used my fingers to tease my brows and make them look darker.
Apply a very light highlighting powder on the inner corners of your eye for a more defined highlight.
Aim for a highlight that’s about half way between where the outer corner of your eye ends and where you have applied the dark shadow on your lid.
It should be a subtle but visible highlight. If you don’t have any highlighting powder, use some translucent powder in this area instead.
Add mascara to the roots of your lashes to make them appear longer, then apply mascara all the way up to the tips of your lashes (for more dramatic effect).
This will make your eyes appear bigger and more open. I used a brown mascara on my lashes and avoided the black mascara because I wanted something more subtle.
If you want to go for a bolder look, then use black mascara instead.
Apply eyeliner to the lower waterline of your eye.
This will also make your eyes appear larger (it’s like putting in double-duty). Since you already applied liner to the upper lash line, it’s not necessary to line the lower lash line with liner.
If you want a softer look, then just use some brown shadow instead of eyeliner in this area.
Use either a black or brown matte powder eye shadow to set your whole eye area.
I didn’t use any here and instead used a dark brown eyeshadow on my crease and lid instead as a substitute for setting the area.
This is because I wanted the color to be more intense. If you want to soften the look, then use some powder in this area just to blend everything together.
I did this step only if I was using lighter eyeshadows in other areas of my look, like if it was an all-over light gold/silver shade and I wanted it to show up better without smudging or fading.