by Mary Moynihan
The popularity of the y2k aesthetic inspired by rapid technological advancement in the new millennium gave rise to some of my favourite makeup trends in the late 90s and early 2000s. The favouring of icy cool tones, metallics and high shine in y2k inspired beauty reflect a fixation on the future in popular culture and fashion expressed through an aesthetic characterised by pvc, metallic, blobjects, chrome, translucents and blue tinted photos.
To celebrate y2k inspired makeup, I have compiled some of my favourite examples from the late 90s and early 2000s, as well as some of my favourite more recent examples of neo-y2k trends in makeup.
1.Baby Blue Eyeshadow.
As someone who loves blue eyeshadow as much as I do, it is no surprise that some of my all time favourite eye looks in popular culture took place around the year 2000.
- Seventeen Magazine (2000-2002). via y2k Aesthetic Institute
- CoverGirl Spring ‘99 – ‘Galactic Glow’ (Apr. 1999). via y2k Aesthetic Institute
- TLC No Scrubs (1999)
The ultimate y2k inspired blue has an icy shimmer like in these CoverGirl ads. I’m obsessed with Lisa Left Eye Lopes’s iconic makeup in TLC’s No Scrubs (one of the most important y2k inspired music videos) which Rina Sawayama’s fun and futuristic Comme De Garcons makeup reminds me of.
- Rina Sawayama, Comme De Garcons (2020)
- TLC No Scrubs (1999)
- Doja Cat, Kiss Me More (2021)
2. Ultra Glossy Lips
Lipgloss was essential to completing any makeup look in the 2000s. Visible lip liner would enhance the shine – a trend that has inspired some incredible neo-y2k inspired looks, shown here on TWEAKS and Andrea Vallé.
Devon Aoki photographed by Satoshi Sakusa for Vogue Paris (March 2000).
Destiny’s Child at the 2000 Source Hip-Hop Music Awards in Pasadena.
Ig @ fka_tweaks (2021). / Ig @ andreavalle (2020).
3.Silver Eye Makeup.
The futuristic quality that silver can bring to a makeup look perfectly encapsulates y2k beauty. I, personally, love silver eyeshadow so I am excited to be seeing more of it with the 2000s revival trend.
- Britney Spears, Oops I Did it Again (2000).
‘The Contact’ – Ewa Witkowska, Vogue Russia (February 1999). via Y2K Aesthetic Institute.
4.Dark Cool Toned Smokey Eye.
Dark eyeshadow smudged all around the eye with a nude lip can compliment a y2k inspired look so well, as evidenced by Christian Dior’s Matrix inspired Fall 1999 Couture Collection runway, as well as by Aaliyah’s iconic silver outfit paired with dark blue lids in Try Again.
Devon Aoiki, year unknown./ Aaliyah, Try Again (2000).
Smokey tended to be messier and less blended in the 2000s, a trend I’m happy to be seeing more of again with the popularity of glossy eyes.
Christian Dior, FALL 1999 COUTURE/Ig @sweetmutuals (2021)./TWEAKS, Office Magazine (2020).
Although a lot of people are happy to leave this trend in the 2000s, I think a skinny brow can add a futuristic and even otherworldly touch to a makeup look – a really great example of this is FKA Twigs’s brow block for The Face.
Christina Aguilera for Self Assignment (September 2000).
Blaque, year unknown / FKA Twigs for The Face (2021).
Eartheater, Faith Consuming Hope (2020).
Aaliyah’s silver eyeshadow with rhinestone tears in Rock the Boat is so pretty and glamorous. The extravagance that rhinestones emanate demonstrates y2k makeup’s prioritising of fun over polish or perfection. This is what I have loved about the more recent revival of fun embellishments in makeup.
Aaliyah, Rock the Boat (2001).
‘Color Me Cosmic’ – Gemey, Jalouse Magazine (1998) via Y2k Aesthetic Institute/ Tkay Maidza, 2021
Charli XCX @ lilly_keys (2021).
Lil Kim’s glittery eye and lip combo in Crush on You makes me so happy. The y2k shimmer obsession brought us one of the most fun makeup trends to recreate.
Lil Kim, Crush on You (1996).
I don’t think anything can encapsulate the y2k aesthetic in a makeup trend as well as blue or silver lipstick.
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