Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Photo by Newsmakers


Early Aughts-Inspired Beauty Is Back, And Dewier Than Ever

Grab your butterfly clips and lip gloss.

For those who dreamed of the day when an era of beauty ruled by serious gloss, pop stars, and an abundance of hair accessories would return, your time has come. Countless beauty trends came and went throughout 2020, but one look has remained constant. The aughts are officially trending again, and while there's no word on whether T-Mobile Sidekicks will eventually return, it's clear that, at least in the world of hair and makeup, what was once old is new again.

It's not out of the ordinary for retro beauty routines to make a resurgence, Erin Parsons, Sessions makeup artist, told NYLON. She noted that the '70s referenced the '30s, and that as time passes, any once-popular trend could be considered vintage to the next generation. "Rediscovering trends is sort of a normal transition in general," she said. Fatima Thomas, senior artist for MAC Cosmetics, also noted that there's something particularly special about the revival of trends. "It’s one of the great things about fashion and beauty, looking to the past for inspiration, and putting it into the present context," she said.

As for why so many are looking towards the 2000s, including brands like Baby Phat and Lancôme, Nydia Figueroa, makeup artist and VaultBeauty member, credits the celebs and looks of the time. "The beauty in this period of time was iconic," she said. "This decade was raw and unapologetic, but still fun and flirty. Who doesn't want to look like Britney Spears with the confidence of Xtina or J.Lo?"

Numerous makeup experts also pointed to nostalgia as a driving force in the return of aughts-inspired beauty routines. "You see nostalgia right now in almost every industry. Consumers growing up in the '90s and '00s were among the first to have a variety of brands/experiences dedicated to whatever age and life stage they were in," Kristi Bergeron, vice president of consumer insights and marketing at HatchBeauty Brands, said. "As a result, there were many shared cultural experiences tied to products. Social media is contributing to a resurgence in those trends/ experiences and creates a second shared experience that we all are excited to be part of."

And while it's likely that some consumers have gravitated toward looks from an era of certainty and comfort, especially in our current world, Robert Sesnek, celebrity makeup artist for CATRICE Cosmetics, told NYLON that there's a timeless nature to the decade. "I believe that people will always love a glossy lip, dewiness, shimmering eyeshadow or bronzer," he noted. "I feel that people will always love many products and looks of that time, but will likely put a more modern spin on these favorites."

When it comes to modernizing previous '00s looks, Parsons pointed to a particular interest among consumers in sparkly eyeshadows. "Now the formulas are so incredible," she explained. "These multi-chrome products with refined glitter pigments — we didn't have that quality back then in the 2000s. Now you can go fully over the top." As Y2K marked a departure from the grunge of the '90s, Thomas also pointed to beauty routine that feature glowing, while Figueroa noted a continued interest in colored eyeliner and visible lip liner.

To put your own spin on a modern-day '00s look, Sesnek suggested adding some color — especially with a high pigmented eyeshadow or a colorful liner. You can also use moisturizer as a means of making dewiness, Parsons suggested. "I really love putting just moisturizer on the eyelids and then going over it with a reflex glitter, which is a very refined, tiny particle sparkle. Take your finger tip and dip into a shimmer and pat on from the lash line to eye brow bone. It gives this incredible gleam that feels like a part of the skin," she said.

When it comes to the lips, Figueroa shared how to line your pout without going overboard, saying, "A visible lip liner should only be one or two shades darker than your natural lip color. I like to apply from the outer corners then meet in the middle of the cupids bow. You can definitely over-line if desired. Then apply a lipstick or gloss one shade lighter in the center of the lip to blend."

There's no telling how long these looks will stick around, but as Thomas pointed out, trends continually borrow from one another, so it's likely the latest look will evolve and eventually return again. "If you look back on trends over the past few decades, you can see evidence of previous eras," she recalled. "In the '90s, many of us tweezed our eyebrows pencil thin. We didn’t invent that, we borrowed it from the '20s and '30s. The strong winged liner that everyone so fond of currently isn’t new. A glance back and we can see it started in the '50s. In fashion and beauty, there are few brand-new ideas. It’s really about how each generation re-interprets and recontextualizes the classics."