It’s time to grab your baby tee and Doc Martens for a stroll down beauty junkie memory lane, 90s version!From those dollar Wet ‘n Wild pencils to the baby blue Hard Candy nail polish you lusted after, these are the products you would’ve worn to make out with Jordan Catalano behind the bleachers. And did you know that many of them are still around, and reinvented? Here’s the lowdown.
Any self-respecting 90s girl kept her makeup in a Caboodles—an invention by Plano Molding Company that was inspired when People magazine ran a picture of Vanna White using the storage company’s plastic fishing tackle box to house her makeup in 1986. (We hope the game show doyenne has stock in the company!)“We’ve grown up alongside loyal fans…but one thing that remains constant is our devotion to function, fashion, quality and affordability,” says a brand rep. New designs more resemble a makeup artist’s savvy trunk case, though you can still buy the classic pink plastic boxes we all know and love.
There was no other way to get your fluffy bangs to hold an arch to one side than with AquaNet hairspray, which promised “all weather hold” with images of a wind-swept woman. And the freeze spray turned out to be one seriously multi-functional product. “We’re always hearing other ways people are using AquaNet: to kill bugs, preserve carved pumpkins, in arts and crafts to seal charcoal drawings, and to help loose zippers stay put,” says Karen Murabito, Group Brand Director for Lornamead Brands. OK, we’re on our way to grab another can—which was redesigned into a more playful look just last year.
Shown here: Satin Split Stick, $8 each, Crushed Velvet Volumizing Mascara, $9 each, Shimmering Suede Shadow, $10 each, Blushing Bronze Duo, $12 eachWhen it came to matching that brown lipstick you wore (with lip liner, of course), Jane Magical Mushroom eye shadow was the shimmering mocha shadow of the decade. With a line of budget beauty that looked delectable on drugstore shelves, this brand has had a major makeover in the past year, ditching its old logo and reemerging with a higher end look and up-to-date shades. Sadly, Magical Mushroom was not brought back (is it time for a petition?), though we do love how the company now pays it forward with every purchase.
Shown here: Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Collection and Palettes, $4 to $5 eachIf you were tempted to try on the bad girl look, there were always edgy Wet n Wild colors to choose from and that infamous 666 lip pencil—a universally mysterious shade somewhere between chocolate plum and wine that cost just a buck! With products still retailing between 99 cents and $5, Wet n Wild remains the No. 1 selling value beauty brand in America. A totally new look intended to channel the celebrity style and energy of the brand’s hometown of Los Angeles launched last year, heralded by new spokesperson Fergie.
Shown here: and If you wanted cool hair like Brenda, Kelly, Dylan and the rest of the “90210” gang, L.A. Looks gel gave you that crisp (literally) edge that was all the 90s rage. Launched in 1987 by a local Southern California company, the brand is still the leader in hair gels today. And from funky Melrose style to classic Hollywood sex appeal, L.A. Looks still takes its design inspiration from the City of Angels. A new Red Carpet Collection includes a women’s curl crème and men’s glue gel, and seafoam green and pepto pink bottles have been replaced by mod-minimalist slate gray.
Curly hair never looked so good as it did in model Rebecca Gayheart’s Noxzema ads that showed us clear skin (and frizz-free hair!) could be ours, too. The brand celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and was developed by a pharmacist in 1914 who created the name after patients kept saying the cream “knocked out eczema.” The famous tagline in the 90s was “Noxzema Girls Get Noticed,” and the Original Deep Cleansing Cream still contains the brand’s signature eucalyptus-menthol fragrance that leaves skin with a deep tingly clean sensation.
Nothing was sexier than Kate Moss and posse in minimalist black and white ads, cementing Cavin Klein Ck One as the cool kid fragrance for an entire high school generation. A citrus scent with notes of bergmot, sandalwood and musk, Ck One wasn’t the first unisex fragrance ever made, but it was the first to turn the concept mainstream. Now one of the most globally successful franchises of all time, Ck One expanded into other best-sellers like Ck One Summer, as well as a lifestyle collection a couple years ago that includes American classics like denim and cotton tees. Yet it’s the original, timeless spray that remains a best-seller for the brand.
Shown here: Herbal Essences Naked collection, $4 to $7 eachThe naughty shower girl commercials that debuted in 1995 and revealed what “a totally organic experience” sounded like (“Yes, yes, yes!”) made an Herbal Essences sudsing memorable. The brand was among the first to mass market the idea of nature-loving hair care—and as it turns out, had the right idea from the start. After several new lines were introduced including body wash, the brand returned to a reworked version of the classic 1995 formulas last year, bringing back a new version of “Yes!” commercials set on airplanes. In keeping with the risqué motif, the newest launch is the clear Naked collection that contains no parabens, dyes or heavy residues.
Shown here: Hard Candy Top Ten Eye Shadow, $6Launched by two sisters in 1995, Hard Candy was the definitive stop for alternative colors. The first product, a sky blue nail polish, came packaged with a pastel heart-shaped plastic ring reminiscent of a kid’s meal giveaway toy. After expanding into department store cosmetics in the late 90s and then disappearing for almost a decade, Walmart brought Hard Candy back to life in 2009 with the same focus on saturated, daring color at a budget value. We’re loving the Top Ten Eye Shadow strip, which pairs pretty coordinating shades in one sleek palette at a can’t-beat-that value.
Shown here: Bonne Bell Lip Lacquer, $4 each, Bonne Bell Nail Lacquer, $3 eachLike a rite of passage from middle school to high school, carrying push-up Bonne Bell lipsticks meant dedicated reapplication because you were always licking flavors like “Chocolate Icing” and “Berry Brilliance” off your lips. And you still can! “Bonne Bell has recently evolved into a full color cosmetic line that provides women in their upper teens and 20s with quality, easy-to-shop cosmetics at affordable prices,” says a company rep. Check out the new lip lacquers available in mocktail flavors (now we’re talking!), and the splashy nail shades inspired by travel destinations.
Shown here: Lip Smacker Original, $3 each, Lip Smacker Luscious and Luxe, $4 eachThere was lip balm, and then there was Lip Smacker. If you were serious about having fruit-flavored lips, you stocked up on multiple tubes of the latter with its iconic bubble letter logo. Since the 90s, this division of the Bonne Bell company has only become bigger in partnerships with Girl Scouts (cookie flavors!), Coca-Cola, Skittles and Starburst. You can still score the traditional swivel tubes, upgrade to glossier and more grown-up “Luscious” and “Luxe” offerings, or even get a pimped-out, limited-edition Swarovski Crystal edition that comes mega size, and is valued at $250 each in a giveaway.