There isn’t a ’90s kid out there who hasn’t felt at least a degree of regret regarding their previous beauty and fashion choices. The Noughties – the decade in which we endured the majority of our teen years – is infamous for having some of the worst and weirdest trends we’ve ever seen. Being impressionable teens who just wanted to look ~cool~, we, of course, tried all of them. We’d show you the pictures, but we probably burned them when we hit our twenties.
As well as being pretty awful, the beauty mistakes and missteps of this era are unfortunately very memorable. It was a time in which nobody wore the correct foundation shade and the magical technique we call ‘blending’ hadn’t yet been discovered. We had no idea how to make our looks subtle or understated: everything was brash and in-your-face. And then there are the eyebrows. We did such terrible things to our eyebrows.
How many of these embarrassing beauty mistakes did you make in your younger years? Prepare to be totally mortified…
18. Over-plucking your eyebrows
The thin eyebrows beauty trend of the early 2000s was a dark time in all of our lives. For one, it looked kinda weird. Having two pencil-thin lines where your bushy beauties had once lived just didn’t suit anyone. If you were super unlucky, you might even have ended up with the dreaded ‘sperm brows’: thick, round ends with stupidly thin little tails. Thing is, we didn’t just suffer at the time. Turns out extreme plucking can prevent your brows from fully growing back for months – even years. But when beauty icons like Christina Aguilera and Paris Hilton were doing it, how could we resist? We all wanted to get that look!
17. Over-filling your eyebrows
On the other end of the spectrum, some of us ’90s kids made the classic beauty mistake of over-filling our brows. It was often as a direct result of over-plucking: while you were waiting for your natural brows to grow back, you just had to artificially fill them. However, many of us vastly overcompensated and ended up having two huge caterpillars stuck on our foreheads. Only Frida Kahlo could ever pull that off. You might have thought you looked like Sophia Loren, but you actually looked like that baby on The Simpsons that has a unibrow. Let’s have a moment of silence for our pride and dignity.
16. Shaving off the brows entirely and drawing new ones on
Why did ANYONE think this was a good idea? For some bizarre reason, the 2000s saw a spate of celebs totally shaving off their eyebrows and drawing new ones on. Just… Why? Sure, working with a clean slate is sometimes a good thing, but not when you’re styling your brows! You need some real hair there to make them look even slightly passable! Some people even took it a step further and got brows tattooed on. That’s right: they’re now stuck with pencil-thin fake abominations for the rest of their lives. It must be one of the most regrettable beauty trends ever to emerge. If we’ve learned anything from our past brow mistakes, it’s that they should remain as natural as possible.
15. Using foundation that’s at least three shades too dark
orry X-tina, we’re calling you out again! For those girls who wanted to look sun-kissed but didn’t want to go for the full fake tan experience, the Noughties brought a convenient beauty trend. Wearing foundation that was far too dark for your skin was the ‘cool’ thing to do. It wasn’t as long-lasting as fake tan and could be layered to get the summery look you desired all year round. Unfortunately, this trend also looked unsurprisingly dumb. Sure, you made your face orange, but it contrasted pretty sharply with the paleness of the rest of your body. Unless you fully committed and put foundation on all of your exposed skin, you just ended up looking like an Oompa Loompa from the original Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory movie. Not great.
14. Forgetting to blend
As a society, it seems that we only just discovered the magic of blending some time around the year 2010. Until then, it was sharp lines all the way. There was no gradient between your foundation-covered face and your natural neck. You left blush in big bright patches on the cheeks. Contouring wasn’t even a thing: the meteoric rise of the Kim Kardashian look hadn’t yet occurred. You slapped eyeshadow on in huge, non-subtle blocks. The idea of blending and fanning shadow outwards was but a mere dream in the minds of a few forward-thinkers. The whole thing left us all looking like an especially garish Russian doll. Thank god we’ve now realized what wonders even the smallest bit of blending can do.
13. Super pale lipsticks
For some reason, having super-pale hypothermia lips was the ‘in thing’ for a lot of us 90s kids. Where did this beauty trend come from? Was it inspired by Kate Winslet‘s look when she’s floating in the sea in Titanic? Nobody knows. Whatever its origins, this trend was pretty pervasive in the early and mid-2000s. Pale pink was especially popular, even though it suits next to nobody. Yes, it’s a super pretty and feminine color, but it’s just not made for the lips! You end up looking seriously ill! Unless you want to provoke the concern of everyone you meet, sticking to nudes or darker colors is usually a better plan.
12. Lip gloss as a concept
Remember when lip glosses were the order of the day rather than matte lipsticks or lip kits? Those were dark days. While glosses didn’t exactly LOOK bad, they were an absolute nightmare to wear. They were just so sticky and gross! If you kissed someone – even on the cheek – you had to practically peel yourself off the other person. God forbid you wore gloss on a windy day – your hair would be stuck to your mouth for what felt like an eternity. While the range of glosses out there was extensive and pretty cool, they were massively overpriced and frankly not worth the hassle. Although the ones that tasted like fruit were admittedly kinda neat…
11. Brightly colored eyeshadow that matched literally nothing
While going for a bold beauty look is rarely a bad thing, even experimentation has its limits. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to get that memo when it came to the eyeshadows worn by ’90s kids. There was a bizarre fondness for bright colors that in no way matched the rest of your look or outfit. So, you’ve gone for a double-denim ensemble today? Why not compliment it with some inexplicable turquoise shadow? The aforementioned lack of blending in society made this beauty trend look even worse. It was like somebody had colored your eyelids in with offensively bright felt-tip pens. Repeat after me, children of the ’90s: subtler is better. Less is more. Don’t confuse everyone you meet with your sparkly magenta eyelids.
If wearing bright orange foundation simply wasn’t sun-kissed enough for you, the beauty trends of the Noughties encouraged you to bronze up. I’m not talking about a brief sweep of the stuff in key areas of the face. Oh no. I’m talking about shiny powder that made you look like you’d dipped your entire face in molten copper. Again, the ‘less is more’ principle was totally thrown out of the window here. If your bronzer wasn’t the very first thing a person noticed about your face, you hadn’t put enough on. Your skin basically had to become a reflective surface. Nobody pulled it off, but we all did it anyway.
9. Massive overuse of eyeliner
Any former emo kids will know exactly what I’m talking about here. We were way, way too fond of our eyeliner back in the day. Remember when people used to cover literally their entire eyelid with the liner? Or when cat-eyes that stretched right up to your brows were a popular thing? We all ended up looking like either vampires or zombies, and it was only occasionally intentional. We were all under the impression that lining your eyes meant making the liner so thick it was visible from Google Earth. It wasn’t even just the emos that were guilty of this, though. Pretty much everyone took way too long to realize that totally covering your waterline in black liner very rarely turns out well. Again, you’re just going to end up looking dead.
8. Body (and hair) glitter
Sure, glitter may look cool if it’s used correctly, but the substance itself is the spawn of Satan. It gets EVERYWHERE. You can spill a tiny bit one day and still be picking up little sparkly pieces years later. The whole ‘body glitter’ phase essentially just made us all look like Edward Cullen before Twilight was even a thing. Why were we all so keen on reflecting light? Trouble is, it was a total nightmare to get off your body once you were done with it. Hours and hours of scrubbing would only get you so far. It was even worse when the trend extended to putting the stuff in your hair. Can you imagine how many washes it would take to get that stuff out? It’s just not worth using glitter in the first place, let’s be real.
7. Putting foundation on your lips
Putting foundation on your lips isn’t always a huge beauty sin. Popping a little bit on them can help lipsticks and other lip products to stick and often helps to make colors *pop*. However, the bizarre trend that sprung up in the Noughties is definitely one that needs to be left in the past. I’m talking about girls putting foundation all over their lips… And then just leaving them like that. There would be no distinction at all between their lips and the rest of their face. As you’d expect, this looked incredibly weird, but a ton of people did it anyway. Did they misunderstand the definition of a ‘nude lip’? Did they think they were being lip-hiding innovators? Nobody knows.
6. Mis-matched lip liner and lipstick
Two-toned lips are making something of a comeback in 2018 and it’s frankly quite alarming. Did we not learn from the mistakes of this trend’s first appearance amongst ’90s kids? Wearing a lip liner that starkly contrasted with your lipstick was the ‘in thing’ way back when for reasons still unclear. It just looked like you’d picked up the wrong lipstick by mistake! Yes, it looked quite dramatic, but in all the wrong ways! Sure, lips can look great when they’re accentuated by a liner, but this trend was a step too far. Can we all agree that it should never happen again? Please? Let’s collectively ignore its resurgence…
5. Overly chunky bangs
Bangs always seem like such a good idea until you actually get them. Even when they’re done well, they’re a total nightmare to look after! They stick out in all the wrong directions, they grow about ten times quicker than the rest of your hair, and they can actually lead to spot breakouts on your forehead! All of these issues were amplified hugely by the Noughties trend of having ridiculously thick and fluffy bangs. There was just so much hair in such a small surface area! It was a rare girl who could actually pull this look off. The rest of us sat in front of the mirror each morning, frantically straightening until our wayward chunky bangs decided to behave.
4. Excessive amounts of hair gel
Speaking of regrettable hair choices, why was everybody so obsessed with hair gel in the early Noughties? I’m not just talking about guys here, although they were admittedly the major culprits. A lot of us decided that we wanted our hair to behave in unnatural ways so slathered on tubs of the stuff until we got the desired look. Why would you even want little bits of hair sticking up all over the place? Even when you thought you looked super cool, you probably looked more like Sonic the Hedgehog. Plus, the gel was a frankly disgusting substance that made your hands and hair feel gross. It got everywhere, leaving streaky marks in its wake. Never again.
3. Chalky powder foundation that made you look corpse-like
While some ’90s kids were pursuing the tangerine-faced look, others looked for a paler foundation alternative. They decided that true beauty meant looking like you hadn’t seen the sun in a good few years. That chalky, thick powder foundation definitely gave off an air of Vitamin D-deficiency chic but wasn’t really the best of looks. If you were a goth or an emo, it fitted in with your general aesthetic for sure. However, it did have the side effect of making you look actually dead. It also looked incredibly strange if you went for the mega-pale powder with blush and bronzer layered on top. So many mistakes were made when it came to face makeup. Can’t we all just embrace our natural, beautiful skin tone?
2. Colored mascara
Colored mascara was a pretty disastrous beauty product. For one, it rarely worked. When you expected your lashes to come out blue, they’d actually be their usual color but a bit stickier. However, if you were ‘lucky’ enough to be blessed with a working product, you probably regretted your purchase when you looked back at the photos. Truth is, brightly colored eyelashes just look incredibly weird. They were never meant to be pink, or green, or blue. It’s far better to let them be a natural hue and use shadow to get the colorful look. The worst use of this beauty abomination was when you decided to color-clash with the rest of your eye makeup. It wasn’t edgy. It was just silly.
1. Over-straightened hair
We all had that friend who over-straightened their hair to the point of destruction. If you didn’t, that friend was probably you. Having poker-straight locks was the ‘in thing’ in the early and mid-2000s, but unfortunately, using heat protection spray wasn’t that common. Cue a whole generation of teens having hair that was totally frazzled. The super-straight look was incredibly hard to pull off even when it wasn’t irreparably damaging your hair. Hair is supposed to have a bit of life in it but ended up looking pretty flat and dull if you indulged in this beauty trend. Plus, thin hair ended up looking invisible and thick hair took way too long to straighten. You just couldn’t win.