We Followed Beauty Advice From 15 Years Ago — & Things Got Weird

My initiation into makeup happened in a Limited Too. I was 11, and my best friend decided that the sixth-grade dance was the perfect opportunity to experiment with glittery eyeshadow. We bought two twist-up tubes of creamy, sparkly shadow — one in pink, one in blue — and stashed them in our backpacks for the next day.

It was a surreptitious purchase; makeup was strictly off-limits for me. Per my parents' rules, I’d never been allowed to curl my hair, wear lip gloss, or paint my nails. So on the day of the dance, I went to school barefaced. When the final bell rang, signalling the dance was about to start (middle school was tame, man), I smeared the sparkly stuff onto my eyelids and lined up outside the gym.

But my rebellion didn't last long. The instant I spotted a teacher on chaperone duty, I frantically rubbed off the shadow, sure I'd get in trouble for daring to wear makeup. I felt that guilty.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t touch makeup again until high school, and only for special occasions. Even after I started wearing it daily post-college, its purpose was mainly to cover up blemishes. Now, I wear a full face to work — tinted sunscreen, brow powder, mascara, blush, and an occasional swipe of eyeliner — but lately, I've felt like I need a little more cosmetic excitement. My eyeshadows all fall under the brown category, my lipsticks are safe pinks and soft reds, and while I've bought a few blue and purple eyeliners on a whim, I've never even removed their caps.

So, I challenged myself to go back in time and revisit the world in which body glitter and pastel shadows were all the rage. First things first: I needed to get the beauty advice I could never follow as a teen. Enter: The New York Public Library, which just so happens to have stacks and stacks of vintage YM magazines. I scanned some pages from the early 2000s, and got to copying all the looks I wish I had tried the first time around.

Could I pull off purple lips? Crimped hair and sticky gloss? I sure as hell tried. Ahead, see how I re-created seven hair-and-makeup looks made popular on the pages of the teen mag that died in 2004 (RIP, print).

More from Makeup

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Fashion
A look at the subcultures around the world that color what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Travel
Explore the world's most most vibrant cultural and culinary centers—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
Beauty
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.