Beauty trends tend to be cyclical. Everything has its moment, and what’s on-trend eventually falls out of style until enough time passes — then it’s back. Now, the latest trend to re-emerge from the vault is the grunge aesthetic.
Yes, the kohl-rimmed eyes, brick-colored lipstick, and matte complexions that were popular in the ’90s have returned, and they’re all over runways, Instagram, and red carpet events.
For her, the key characteristics of the look are messy, smoked-out eyeliner, “Like you’ve been partying all night,” she says, and a deep lipstick in a dark burgundy tone. “This is not a precisely-applied lip complete with liner; it looks more like it was reapplied at 2 am in the dark bathroom of a bar.”
For celebrity makeup artist and Haus Labs global artistry director, Sarah Tanno, grunge makeup is less about the individual elements and more about the collective energy it radiates. “Grunge makeup has a ‘lived in’ vibe — it allows for more freedom in the sense that there are no rules to follow and gives off an ‘IDGAF’ attitude.”
Ahead, eight grunge-inspired makeup looks to inspire your inner angst.
Smudged-Out Smoky Eye
During the most recent New York Fashion Week, models at the Nicole Miller show wore eyeliner looks that were as bold as they were imperfect. They also wore matte foundation and matte lip colors. It was the perfect makeup look to complement the brand’s grunge-inspired clothing collection.
Models in the Alice + Olivia’s FW22 NYFW show wore glam black eyeshadow which was complemented by velvety-matte foundation makeup and a simple neutral-pink lip. “2022 is all about drawing attention to the eyes with a bold eye makeup, and grunge fits right into that with a strong, dark eye,” says Tanno.
Brick Red Lips
Shay Mitchell’s take on grunge makeup involves some of the most classic elements — that is, smoky eyeshadow and a brick red lipstick. When it comes to the latter, Tanno’s favorite product to use is the Haus Labs Le Monster Matte Lip Crayon. Try the shade ‘Wine Mouth,’ a warm mahogany brown that screams glam grunge.
The grunge makeup trend is also Versace-approved. At the most recent Milan Fashion Week show, Gigi Hadid walked the runway wearing a bold swipe of charcoal eyeshadow with a nude matte lip. The look was kicked up a notch with bleached brows.
Dark Red Lips
With smoked-out eyes and a dark lip, this look is classic grunge. “A lot of people try to update grunge makeup by making it more precise with a tidy smoky eye and a well-lined lip, but to me, this loses the rebellious essence of the look,” Vincent says. “For an updated version that still maintains the essence of grunge makeup, choose a blendable eyeliner in black or deep brown and smudge it slightly with fingers or a brush. You can even add a little gloss over the lids for an undone eye. Finish with a black volumizing mascara — and don’t worry about perfect application because the look is meant to be a bit messy.” Accentuate the look with a dark wine-colored lip color, a fresh no-makeup makeup complexion, and defined brows.
Julia Fox took the grunge makeup trend and put an editorial spin on it, opting for a thick winged liner look that was rounded and upturned at her temples. True to theme, she kept her complexion and lips matte, choosing a powdery berry color for the latter.
Sydney Sweeney chose a grunge-inspired look for a recent karaoke night. Look closely, and you’ll see smokey, kohl-rimmed eyes and a velvet matte complexion. To achieve this look for yourself, all you need is a good eyeliner pencil. Tanno recommends the Haus Labs Eye-Dentify Gel Kohl Eyeliner, and recommends applying it all along the eyelids before blending it out with a brush. “This liner has a nice slip and blendability, making it perfect to create this look and it lasts all day,” she says.
Kourtney Kardashian has been channeling a punk-grunge look for a while now, and this is a glamorous version of that aesthetic. Notice her smokey eyeshadow, defined brows, and matte complexion. Her fluttery lashes and glossy neutral-brown lip are what elevate the look and give it a modern feel.
For a similar brown-neutral lip color, makeup artist Christine Cherbonnier recommends the MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil in Cork. “It’s a must-have for that neutral brown lip or a base to create a red or brown undertone for many skin tones,” she says. “Every ’90s fan or makeup artist needs this color in their kit. It’s classic and timeless.“